October 24, 2014

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease found in Wisconsin cattle

A rare disease typically found in deer has infected some farm cattle in Wisconsin. State agriculture officials have confirmed two cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD.

The disease is normally transmitted by black-flies and midges. State Veterinarian Paul McGraw says it will continue to be a threat to cattle until there’s a hard freeze that kills the insects. Until then, McGraw urges farmers to use insect control to keep the biting bugs away.

Signs of EHD infection include fever, mouth and gum ulcers, stiffness, and lameness, similar to those of Foot and Mouth Disease. McGraw says farmers who notice signs of illness in cattle should contact their veterinarian to rule out other disease.

EHD is more common in deer, but even that’s rare. About this time a year ago, a small number of dead deer tested positive for the disease in at least eight southern Wisconsin counties. Those were the first cases in the Badger State since 2002, and a dozen other states reported finding EHD at the same time.