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Friday, June 7, 2024

Dairy cattle shows could be affected after bird flu found in 80 U.S. herds

Dairy cattle shows could be affected after bird flu found in 80 U.S. herds
 
 

Dr. Phillip Jardon, ISU Extension dairy specialist (ISU Extension photo)

The same strain of bird flu has recently hit a flock of laying hens in Sioux County and dairy cattle in O'Brien County. Iowa State University Extension veterinarian Dr. Phillip Jardon says Iowa is the 11th state where bird flu has been reported among dairy cattle. 

"There's still a lot we don't know, but we know it's spread through wild birds to the poultry industry for years now," Jardon says. "From the dairy side, though, there does seem to be a very direct correlation between live animals, especially lactating dairy animals, moving from the Texas area up to the herds in Michigan and Ohio."

Bird flu has been reported in 24 herds of dairy cattle in Michigan and one in Ohio. Jardon says biosecurity issues are key, as investigators believe a poultry flock in Michigan struck by bird flu may have been infected by an employee who also worked at a dairy operation.

"The dairy industry needs to realize that this is probably a bigger problem in the poultry industry than it is in the dairy industry," Jardon says, "so I think we need to be cognizant of that and keep the spread down from our farms to poultry farms."

So far, bird flu has been confirmed in over 80 U-S dairy cattle herds. Jardon says the impact may reach dairy cattle shows at county and state fairs. 

"A lot of discussions going on about whether that should happen or, if it does happen, how it should happen -- you know, what animals should come and so on, so stay tuned on that," Jardon says.

"There'll be some decisions made and I'm sure there'll be people unhappy either way no matter how it comes down."

Jardon grew up on a small dairy farm in southwest Iowa. He got his medical degree from the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986. Last July, Jardon joined Iowa State University Extension as a dairy specialist after working 11 years as a technical consultant to a company that produces vaccines and medicines for pets and livestock.

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