Question: What can I do to rid cattle that tested positive for brucellosis, of the disease? And how does one prevent contagious abortion from occurring?
- There is no treatment.
- Even in human beings the treatment is extremely expensive and takes a long time.
- One can never say that one is truly healed.
- The treatment is able to suppress the causative bacteria (germs), but the disease could recur at any time in the future.
- The reason animals cannot be treated is that the Brucella abortus bacteria occur in cells from where treatment cannot remove them all.
- Vaccines do not heal; they are simply preventative.
Be very careful about where you buy cattle. Insist on seeing the written laboratory immunity test results.
Recently, a farmer even changed the laboratory’s results and gave the buyer a copy. When the buyer got the original from the State Veterinarian, it included several animals that had tested positive.
Be wary of heifers that originate from a herd in which some animals tested positive for brucellosis. The incubation period for the disease (from infection to the time that a blood test will show a positive result) could be anywhere from 8 days to 2 years, or even longer.
- This article was written by Dr. Matt Ekron and appears in Ask the vet: What cattle farmers should know (1), compiled by Dr. Faffa Malan.