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Tennessee cattle at risk after state vet warns about risk of 'mad cow disease'

Cow by John Dyer via EyeEm via Getty Images.jpg
Cow by John Dyer via EyeEm via Getty Images.jpg
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Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty, confirms atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) AKA 'Mad Cow Disease' diagnosis, was found in a cow with ties to the state.

Now there is a warning to other cattle owners whose stock may now be threatened.

This followed the arrival of a cow at a packing company in South Carolina, who appeared to be sick.

In alignment with the United States Department of Agriculture’s BSE surveillance program, the animal was isolated and euthanized. It did not enter the food supply.

The initial investigation determined the cow originated in southeast Tennessee.

Dr. Beaty says she and her team are working closely with federal partners and animal health officials in South Carolina on the matter.

That includes determining prior owners and locations where the affected cow lived in Tennessee and tracing siblings and offspring for testing., Beaty says

BSE is a chronic degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of cattle.

It is caused by an abnormal prion protein. The atypical form occurs spontaneously at very low levels in all cattle populations, particularly in older animals.

Atypical BSE poses no known risk to human health.

It is different from the classical form of BSE, which has not been detected in the U.S. since 2003.

BSE is not contagious and therefore is not spread through contact between cattle or with other species. However, there is no treatment or vaccine to prevent BSE from spreading.

The U.S. has a strong surveillance program in place for early detection and to prevent suspect cattle from entering the food supply chain.

Cattle owners are always advised to monitor their herds for health.

Cattle affected by BSE may display changes in temperament, abnormal posture, poor coordination, decreased milk production, or loss of condition without noticeable loss of appetite.

Owners with any cattle health concerns are encouraged to report any herd health concerns to their veterinarian or to the State Veterinarian’s office at (615) 837-5120.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Animal Health Division is responsible for promoting animal health in Tennessee.

The State Veterinarian’s office's mission is to prevent the spread of disease through import and movement requirements, livestock traceability, disaster mitigation, and the services of the C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory.

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The division collaborates with other health-related stakeholders, academic institutions, and extension services to support One Health, an initiative to improve the health of people and animals.

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