Unanswered questions about HPAI’s impact on cattle

The Texas Agriculture Commissioner says there are many unknowns about the impacts of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in cattle.

Sid Miller says the illness being reported in the Texas Panhandle has lasted up to 10 days per case and the cows testing positive are isolated. Once those cows have recovered, they can return to the herd.

“It’s not treated like chickens and poultry that get the bird flu where you have to depopulate the whole flock.”

Miller says migrating waterfowl have contaminated the ponds where cows get water. Older, lactating dairy cows are more susceptible to the virus and he says it’s unclear why HPAI isn’t affecting younger cattle.

“We’ve never really found this in cattle before, so we really don’t have a lot of research on that. That’s probably something they’ll research is why it doesn’t affect younger cattle as much as the old cows.”

Miller says he’s certain HPAI is the mystery illness that’s been affecting dairy cattle.

“We’ve pretty much been testing for everything for three weeks and its the only thing we’ve found.”

And he says he’s optimistic for a decline in the illness, because wild, migrating birds are moving out of the area.

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