At least 2 cows die due to blackleg disease

LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP) - A drought-related disease known as blackleg is blamed for the deaths of at least two cows in Arkansas.

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture officials say the disease has caused the deaths of cows in Lonoke and Sebastian counties.

Agricultural officials say the bacterial disease typically appears during drought because the dry conditions reduce forage for cattle - and the animals then graze close to the ground and ingest small soil particles that contain the bacteria.

The latest US Drought Monitor shows all but northeastern Arkansas in drought or abnormally dry conditions.

Blackleg can affect all cattle - but usually affects animals between 6-months and 2-years of age. It can cause severe lameness, fever and sudden death of a cow.

Officials say a vaccine is available to prevent blackleg.

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