High temperatures and low precipitation could increase the potential for an outbreak of bluetongue, according to state animal health officials and Montana State University-Extension (MSU-E) faculty.
"Extreme conditions in parts of the state closely resemble those of 2007 when an outbreak affected hundreds of sheep in eastern Montana," said Greg Johnson, DVM, veterinary entomologist for MSU-E.
That epidemic, the state's first since the 1960s, resulted in a 30-day quarantine of 16 counties. This prevented the transfer and sale of market animals and cost producers in excess of $750,000.
State veterinarian, Marty Zaluski, DVM, said that while bluetongue outbreaks are not common in Montana, producers should consider treating their sheep against the biting midges that cause the virus.
For additional information on bluetongue, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/bluetongue/.
Reprinted in part from LaurelOutlook.com