Scottish vets are urging farmers to vaccinate, following a spate of cases of cows infected with a deadly bacterium.

Leading Scottish vets are urging farmers to vaccinate, following a spate of confirmed cases of young cows infected with a deadly bacterium.

post mortem image of blackleg lesionVets from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) are calling for vigilance, following the recent diagnoses of several cases of blackleg in the Caithness area.

A SRUC spokesman said: “Blackleg is fatal but can be easily prevented by vaccination so SRUC is advising farmers to investigate the unexpected death of any cattle and consult their vet on the need to vaccinate young stock when out on pasture.”

The disease, caused by the bacterium Clostridium chauvoei in soil, particularly affects cattle between six and 24 months old. The bacterium can survive for several years in soil as highly resistant spores. Once in an animal’s body, the spores are activated and the bacteria multiply producing lethal toxins that spread throughout the body and cause rapid death of the infected animal. 

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