Bovine tuberculosis investigation underway on Montana Hi-Line

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A rarely seen cattle disease discovered in a Montana cow at a Minnesota packing plant and has prompted mass testing and quarantine in Blaine County on Montana’s Hi-line.

The Montana Department of Livestock announced Friday that a full epidemiological investigation is underway to control the spread of the bovine tuberculosis, a disease transferable to wildlife and humans. It’s been decades since bovine TB was detected in Montana. 

“We are working closely with the herd owner, United States Department of Agriculture, tribal, and wildlife officials on next steps,” said State Veterinarian Marty Zaluski in a press release. “The purpose of the investigation is to determine if other herds or wildlife are involved, and if possible, to determine the source of disease introduction.”

The beef cattle herd from which the cow originated is under quarantine. Testing is taking place on that herd and surrounding herds that may have encountered the animal during grazing or shipping.

Management of active bovine tuberculosis range from extensive quarantine and removal of infected animals, to destroying entire herds. The Department of Livestock hasn’t identified the ranch where the infection originated.

The U.S. Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service reports that bovine TB was once the biggest livestock killer in

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