(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk, thanks for joining us today. We’re going to have a pretty interesting show, I’ve got Mark Spare here from the Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, to talk about anaplasmosis and ticks. You’re not going to want to miss this. If you start itching and scratching, thinking about those ticks right now. We will see you here after these messages.
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(Dr. Dan) Folks, welcome to DocTalk. Mark. (Dr. Mark Spare) Thanks for having me here Dr. Thomson. (Dr. Dan) It’s great to have you. Folks, this is Mark Spare, future to be Dr. Spare. Mark is a unique talent here at Kansas State University or anywhere. He’s working on his DVM and working on his PhD at the same time, just a tremendous wealth of resource for us here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Many years experience in cowherds, not only in Kansas but in Russia, and to have someone of your stature come back and join us in the profession is great. Mark has been doing research and is still doing research on anaplasmosis. Let’s kick it off with this Ashland, Kansas, native to talk a little bit about what is anaplasmosis. (Dr. Mark) Dr. Thomson, there is this anaplasmosis is the obligate, intracellular bacteria that parasitizes red blood cells in cattle. It’s caused by a bacteria called Anaplasma marginale and it’s named for the residence it takes up in the marginal part of the red blood cell in an animal. It’s transmitted by blood that’s exchanged between a mechanical vector or a biological vector. Mechanical vectors include such things as flies, those can be stable flies or house flies, or horseflies, needles, needle pokes, tattoo guns, implant guns, ear taggers. Biological vectors, by that I mean ticks. Ticks can, actually, when they take up residence on an animal they suck blood, it goes down into their midgut then they exchange saliva and blood while they’re feeding. Ticks can actually take in Anaplasma marginale, amplify it in their midgut and then they actually regurgitate it as they exchange blood with an animal. (Dr. Dan) I knew I didn’t like ticks, now I just have another reason. But it’s amazing to me. Once it’s in the blood it kills red blood cells and it is transmitted, I don’t think a lot of people realize they can transmit it with a tattoo gun or in our own equipment. (Dr. Mark) It’s really odd the way we can propagate this disease and I’ll correct you a little bit, when the Anaplasma latches on to the red blood cell it does not kill the red blood cell. What we find is the body as those red blood cells are filtered through the defensive spleen mechanism, those red blood cells are destroyed by the body’s own defenses. We see these clinical signs associated with anemia, jaundice, lethargy, we see dehydration leading to aggression of these animals, because of their own bodies are destroying the red blood cells. The thing that we use to rule out this type of red blood cell destruction is that we don’t find them urinating red urine, because those red blood cells are being destroyed by the body so it’s. It’s kind of a rule out that we can actually use. (Dr. Dan) My Gosh. Folks, if you hadn’t figured it out, Dr. Spare has quite the knowledge here on anaplasmosis. And he’s going to come back and we’re going to talk some more about what the clinical signs are of your cows if they have anaplasmosis, what to look for in your herd. Then we’re going to talk a little bit about his research. Thanks for being here. Thanks for watching, more after these messages.
(Dr. Dan) Folks, welcome back to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson, here with Mark Spare. We’re at Kansas State University in the College of Veterinary Medicine, where Mark is not only a veterinary student but also working on his PhD, focusing on the topic of anaplasmosis and just a great description of what anaplasmosis is, how cows get it and what’s going on in the body. I would be remiss if I did not give a shout to the Keith Westervelt who has supplied us with the new DocTalk coffee mugs, these Oracle mugs. Thank you Keith, out at Blueville Nursery, we appreciate the gifts. When we’re talking about anaplasmosis Mark, what are the clinical signs? What’s a cow going to look like that’s suffering from anaplasmosis? (Dr. Mark) That’s a great question Dr. Thomson, and there’s still quite a bit of variability in the way each animal expresses their infection with anaplasmosis. What we see is that animals younger than two years old are affected differently, and that’s a little bit of an arbitrary line, but affected differently than animals that are older than two years old. An animal that’s younger than two years old is consistently making their red blood cells haematopoiesis. That’s a vet school term that I’ve picked up here in class, so I’m paying attention then. (Dr. Dan) Good. (Dr. Mark) They don’t get the signs as much. The older cow is where we see the signs such as icterus, which is the yellowing of mucus membranes or paling of that as they lose red blood cells. We see lethargy, they’re tired, they’re dehydrated, they don’t go to water. They’re often not with the herd. Their heads are hanging down. They’re not breathing like we would expect to see a respiratory case, but they are breathing harder, because they’re having trouble getting oxygen to their tissues as they’re losing oxygen carrying capacity. We also see some aggression, which as I get thirsty and tired, I get aggressive too sometimes. We see some aggression. Be careful when you’re out there. You think you have an anaplasmosis issue and you see an animal by herself, she might come and take you, so be careful as you approach that situation. (Dr. Dan) It makes sense. It’s just like when we see some of those chronic BRD cases, calves that are hypoxic or having a hard time getting air. They can’t fight. They can’t run from you, so they decide to just get on the fight. Anaplasmosis, the animals are probably having some issues with oxygen exchange and get on the fight. (Dr. Mark) Definitely. (Dr. Dan) We’ve got these cows. They’re out there. They are icteric. You mentioned that they won’t have the redness or the red tint blood in their urine, and so that’s one way we can differentiate between anaplasmosis and others. What are some of the recommendations today, obviously you want people work with their local veterinarian, but what are some of the recommendations today for treatment of anaplasmosis? (Dr. Mark) Good. Well, first of all, I think anaplasmosis to be succinct is a good disease to prevent, and we need to prevent by a good husbandry practices, maybe changing needles every animal. That’s a difficult one to do but we need to. We can actually treat with oxytetracycline and LA-200, but by the time we recognize anaplasmosis, that animal had been infected for 21 days. What we really see is an in-point parasitemia, where those red blood cells have already dropped, and that’s what’s really hurting the animal. We see a mortality, maybe in 30 to 50% of cases of anaplasmosis. But again, it’s really hard to really identify those cases in the field. (Dr. Dan) Outstanding. Folks, we’re going to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to talk with Mark a little bit about the research that he’s doing on anaplasmosis. You’re watching DocTalk. Thanks for joining us.
(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with the to be Dr. Spare. He’ll be the second generation of veterinarian. His dad Randall, who I’m sure is watching the show, is veterinarian down at Ashland, Kansas. Mark, you had some fun, or at least, it sounded like fun, this summer doing some tick capture work. Can you just talk a little bit about what you were doing? (Dr. Mark) Yes, that was quite the experience Dr. Thomson, and fun, some days it was pretty fun, but I did end up picking a lot of ticks off myself. That was certainly the sacrifice. We also ended up with ticks in our freezer, but I’ll come to that. My wife wasn’t real happy about that thing. What we know about ticks and their interaction with anaplasmosis is that some ticks are able to be infected by this Anaplasma marginale. Some of these ticks can be persistently infected, some more the cattle, so they carry that through their lifetime. Now, ticks are an interesting species and I’ll quickly outline their life cycle. Some of them are one host ticks, some are three host ticks. A one-host tick sticks with an animal for their entire lifetime. A three-host tick actually feeds on an animal as a larva, drops off, molts to a nymph, feeds on an animal, drops off, molts to an adult and then feeds on an animal. If they’re female, they’ll undergo reproduction at that point, they’ll fall off as they are fed to fat. So if you see a fat tick, it’s a female. Don’t spread that around. Then they’ll feed on and then they’ll lay eggs. Now, ticks can lay anywhere from 3,000 to 7,500 eggs. I found some of those nests and you really think that you stumbled into a nest, just a pollen field. But after a while, you look down and they’ve moved all across your body, then you get pretty nervous. What we know about ticks, that actually interacts with anaplasmosis in Kansas, we specifically have some Dermacentor ticks. This is the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis. We are confident that the males can be persistently infected with anaplasmosis. They have to feed on an infected animal as a nymph and then they’ll drop off, of course they’ll go back on as an adult, then go ahead and feed. They can get this disease as a nymph, as the middle life stage, amplify it for weeks, months, drop off and then transmit that to several animals. (Dr. Dan) How many ticks did you go out and trap, and find? (Dr. Mark) Yes, we trapped 5,013 ticks this summer, including the ones that I amassed on myself. What we did is we dragged the fields with flannel flags, and we drag them, fairly systematically and we went hunting specifically these Dermacentors to find ticks that were infected. Then we flip them over, pull them off with the tweezers, put them in the freezer and we’ll go back and study those for the molecular science of being infected. (Dr. Dan) You’ll look and see which ones are infected and here did they came from, what pastures, and I assume, we got to go to break here pretty quick, but I assume you did this over multiple branches. (Dr. Mark) We did, we actually designed a series of sites where we could examine tick density, population distribution, through out the Flint Hills. We studied pastures all the way from Pottawatomie to Riley county, down to Cowley and Chautauqua counties, I had a number of young undergraduate girls who, I’ll give a shout out to. They performed extremely well under some, I had them getting up at four o’clock in the morning and we got there before the dew to catch these ticks. (Dr. Dan) Well, if you’re going to be a tick counter and be “Spared” to the tick pile, you’re going to have to get up pretty early. Anyway folks, thanks for watching DocTalk we’re going to take a break and wrap up with some of Dr. Spares’ surveillance work after this.
(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Mark Spare. We’re at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, we’re talking about ticks, anaplasmosis, sick cows, summertime, but we’re going to talk a little about a tremendous study that Mark is taking on on behalf of the beef industry. Not just in the state of Kansas even though it’s centered in the state of Kansas, but one that’s never really even been attempted, to understand more about what’s going on with anaplasmosis and it’s spread. (Dr. Mark) Good, one of the things that we don’t know are, we don’t know a lot of things about anaplasmosis. Historically it’s been a very significant disease through out the southeast, and in Kansas, even into the western Idaho, Montana area. We are not confident and it’s very difficult to get a hold of the distribution and density of anaplasmosis infections. So what– (Dr. Dan) In our cowherds? (Dr. Mark) In our cowherds, cow/calf industry is inherently difficult to study, because it’s out there, it’s kind of new. (Dr. Dan) Yes. (Dr. Mark) What we’ve done in Kansas is we’ve divided this state into nine districts. We actually randomized veterinarians in each district that practiced in a mixed animal setting so they see cows and other animals potentially. We randomized them and asked them as we picked them if they would join us, partner with us in collecting samples from cows as they preg take them, or saw cowherds between October and January, although we’re going to extend this into February of this year. What we believe that we will get a look at, a snapshot of is a random sampling of cowherds throughout the state of Kansas, in each of these nine districts. As we submit these samples for assay, we anticipate that we will see positives and negatives by the herd, and we will get a good handle on a randomization, a random sample of density and distribution of anaplasmosis infection throughout the state. (Dr. Dan) How many herds in total? (Dr. Mark) Yes. We aim for 16,100 samples, so that’s 1,610 herds throughout the state. The state has about 23,000 cattle herds. (Dr. Dan) How many veterinaries will that involve in- (Dr. Mark) I did anticipate this question so I did a quick count. We have well over a 150 veterinarians, throughout about 85 practices that are helping us in this study. (Dr. Dan) It’s a big effort, lots of people. (Dr. Mark) -tremendous relational opportunity. (Dr. Dan) Then you also send a survey out, and just in a nutshell, what you’re looking for is a survey of the herds. (Dr. Mark) Good. We did send a paper survey out, so that we would have management data on each of these herds as we looked at their positive or negative status, so that we anticipate, being able to examine ratios or for risks between management practices and the positive or negative status for herd. (Dr. Dan) Okay. Great studies, lots of things going on, you got multiple herds, over 150 veterinarians and you’ll have surveys that will be able to say, in the positive herds versus the negative herds, these are different management practices. (Dr. Mark) That’s exactly right. (Dr. Dan) All right. Well, thanks for being on the show today. (Dr. Mark) Thank you, sir. (Dr. Dan) Outstanding job. What a talent and great person for the veterinary profession. We’re very proud to have Mark Spare here at Kansas State University. We’re thankful that you watch DocTalk and if you want to know more about what we do, you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv. Remember, always work with your local veterinarian. Thanks for watching us today on DocTalk, I’m Dr. Dan Thomson, I’ll see you down the road.
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