May 22, 2017

(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk. It’s going to be a great show today. I have Mark Spare on the show back to talk more about anaplasmosis in beef cattle, how you can prevent it, things that we’re learning about the disease. It’s going to be a lot of fun; it’s going to be very, very informational. Stay tuned.

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(Dan) Mark, welcome to the show. (Mark) Thank you Dr. Thomson for having me. (Dan) It’s always a pleasure to have Mark Spare here. Mark is a veterinary student; he’s a PhD candidate here at Kansas State University, worked with me, Dr. Hanzlicek, works in our diagnostic lab in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology. You’ve done some incredible work with anaplasmosis, and really some things that are doing some things here for the industry, but let’s just go back, and recap what anaplasmosis is, where we’re at with this disease in cattle. (Mark) Yes sir. Last time we talked about anaplasmosis being a bacterium, it’s a member of the rickettsial family, which puts it in a class by itself. What it does is it enters an animal and it infects the red blood cells, replicates in the red blood cells, then it erupts from those red blood cells, and spreads to other red blood cells in the animal, then later that animal begins to recognize that those red blood cells are damaged or sick, and strips those off in the spleen, and the clinical signs we see in an animal are due to decrease in red blood cell concentration in that animal for all the pack cell volume. Those clinical signs we’ll see jaundice, they might get yellowed, or pale mucus membranes you can see that in the mouth, or in the vulva in a female animal. They’ll get aggressive when they get hypoxic, due to that lack of red blood cells. Yet, it’s an insidious bacteria, because it takes so long to build to that concentration that’s damaging, you won’t actually see those clinical signs for three, maybe four weeks in an animal. (Dan) We’ll see the animals that become hypoxic, they’re weak, they’re jaundiced, but talk to me a little bit about which animals it affects, because a lot of times we’re not worried about the calves, we’re worried about the heifers, or the cows or- (Mark) That’s exactly right. What we found historically and currently is that the younger animal seem to not, they can be infected, but they seem to not exhibit clinical signs to the severity of adult animals. Some people will say, maybe three different groups of animals as in calves that are birth to six months, year old, then year to two years old, then two years or two and a half years older and up, they’ll have different clinical signs. But I’d say on the whole a calf, one year to two years old are probably not going to be as severely affected, as those adult animals, those are different expressions of immunity, but also it’s a severity of that anemia towards that animal falls subject to. (Dan) This is a little bit different, this isn’t like two animals sneeze, and they just breathe it in; this is a blood born pathogen. How is it passed from animal to animal, or what are some of the common ways? (Mark) Exactly. What we find there is mechanical vectors, which transfer infected blood, that would be biting flies, horseflies and stable flies are what we commonly attribute that to; mosquitoes to a certain extent but mostly those iatrogenic vectors, which is us, which is you – (Dan) Needles. (Mark) Needles, ear punches, bangs, tattooers, tattoo guns, those are iatrogenic vectors. Then we find ticks also can communicate this, ticks are different in that they’re biological vectors that actually can magnify the disease in their mid-gut, then when they regurgitate that in their salivary glands, they can communicate that to greater extent, and we find some strain identification changes. (Dan) Perfect. Folks we’re going to take a break, when we come back, more with Mark Spare on anaplasmosis. Thanks for watching, stay tuned.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, I’m Dan Thomson and I’m here with Mark Spare. We’re at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where Mark is working on his PHD, and also finishing up his DVM here, and has been a wealth of knowledge for all of us. One of the things Mark I wanted to complement you on, is that its not what degrees you hold, its what you put into your studies, what you put into your thought process, your experiences. I always tell students, don’t let school get in the way of your education. You have been an example for other students and faculty to follow, and I appreciate all that you’ve done. Let’s talk a little bit about anaplasmosis, and some of the things that you’re learning through the research that you’re doing. (Mark) Dr. Thomson, one of the things that struck me as I’ve really dug into this disease, and I am very thankful for your complement, and I’m blessed by the opportunities that I have to be exposed to the extent that I have. One of the things about anaplasmosis that I’d like for us to think about and your viewers is that, there are multiple strengths of this disease. It’s very easy and very easy for me to think of Anaplasma marginale as one single identity, but actually there is a number of different strands across the US and across the world. This is a disease that actually does plague the rest of the world as well. In that we find different levels of virulence. Different herds even in the same year in a given location may be affected different, not because of the susceptibility necessarily of their animals, but because the strains are different. We talked about the ticks, when those ticks actually take in that infected blood meal and become infected themselves, and specifically thinking of the dog ticks or the Dermacentor variabilis ticks, we find that when they bring that bacteria back up, there maybe a number of different genotypes found in their mid-gut. Then in their salivary glands there is little more of a bottle neck, but what I understand is we expect a mutation in the genotype, the genetic makeup of that bacteria about one every one million copies. After a million copies, we expect that to be a different expression of proteins on the surface of that bacteria. (Dan) So you do it a million times there is going to be a glitch? It’s not going to be perfect, and so those glitches then give us a different type of variation of the same bacterium, and so just a little bit different than the way that it would infect, or affect the animal? (Mark) Yes, and different in response and maybe the protection that we find, different in the way it’s affected maybe by a fed antibiotic. Those are hypothetical, I don’t have research necessarily to back those different affects up, but it is a different bacteria. In that we contract the length of time that somebody’s herd has been infected, based on the differences we find throughout the herd in genetic makeup. Also we can identify hopefully different background strain that are existing and co-existing in a similar area, similar environment. (Dan) It’s absolutely amazing, and the more that we learn about the strains the more important it is to get — we have 30 seconds to go to break here, but it really gets back to importance of diagnostics. (Mark) That’s exactly right, and when it comes down to the strains, what I want viewers to understand is that when things are affecting their herd negatively, there maybe a bigger picture. There maybe a bigger picture and its important to bring in some diagnosticians or local vet, to really help understand the picture, and how we can prevent this going forward not, why did this happen to me and not the neighbor. (Dan) Yes, I’m with you on that. Folks we’re going to take a break, when we come back more on anaplasmosis with Mark Spare.
(Dan) Hey folks welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Mark Spare. We’re talking about anaplasmosis, and you said something as we were leaving the last segment, that when we think about prevention or we think about the different strains and when we’re in class, the thing we keep repeating is, there are two reasons why an animal gets sick. Either an overwhelming dose of a pathogen, which can go back to that, if you get a strain that’s very virulent that causes more damage or more disease than maybe some of the other strains or it is a suppressed immune system. It’s either something that the animal can’t fight off or something that the animal isn’t able to fight off disease based on not having a good healthy immune system. (Mark) Exactly Dr. Thomson. I really think having a perspective with those two points in mind is a good way to practice our herd health. To start with preventing in anaplasmosis by having a good herd health program. When we find an outbreak of anaplasmosis, knowing that the two reasons that an outbreak may occur or we have a very virulent organism or we have an immune suppressed herd, what we have done to prevent that. An anaplasmosis outbreak very well could go hand in hand with an exposure to a BBV pathogen, which my herd is not prepared for. And BVD we understand to be an immune suppressive disease, it’s a pesky virus I just learned about that in virology. What that does is that can create a transiently immunosuppressed animal much less or much more it can cause pregnant animals to produce a persistently infected calf, but that’s another topic for another time. That disease, that virus can be come and gone. The lingering effects on your herd could leave it susceptible to an overwhelming challenge of anaplasmosis from maybe a wet spring and a high tick burden. We find a conglomeration of events there. (Dan) Yes, when you start to bring back the triad of host, pathogen and an environment. If we have an overgrowth of some vegetation or you don’t burn or just different things that might increase the number of ticks; we really haven’t developed a tick fence yet to keep- (Mark) Not yet, not yet. (Dan) I’m going to patent that one. (Mark) It’s not wrangler jeans I can tell you that. (Dan) They get through those. I think that we focus so much on anaplass, the one thing you’ve made me think about in this segment and in the other segments is, are you developing a herd health plan and building a healthy cowherd that can fight off being, maybe it’s the same ticks as your neighbors, the difference is the plan that you put in places is better or worse than someone else’s. (Mark) That’s right. (Dan) Working with your local veterinarian obviously is extremely important to develop this. (Mark) That’s right. Your local veterinarian what we would hope and what we train here at K-State to do a good job is helping veterinarians think about the prevalence of diseases in their area. In your area, as a producer, what diseases are present? What do we need to be worried about vaccinating for? There may be diseases in eastern Kansas or even the eastern United States that they worry about more than we worry about here. Your local veterinarian will have a good handle on that. (Dan) Yes, when we think about biosecurity, that’s trying to keep the disease out, there are management practices we can do for anaplasmosis, keeping our equipment clean, new needles, new sleeves, things to that nature, new herd introductions, things that are going to help with that; then keeping the cow healthy. All of it can relate. When we come back we’re going to do a wrap up with Mark Spare here. We’re going to talk more about anaplasmosis and maybe a few of the myths when we return.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dan Thomson here with Mark Spare. We’re at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. We’re talking about anaplasmosis. Whenever we get into disease whether it’s bovine respiratory disease or anaplasmosis or pink eye, the first thing that producers gravitate toward is the managing it with a bottle and a syringe. We talk about vaccines, we talk about antibiotics and really the vaccine make not allowing animals to show clinical signs but then doesn’t keep them from getting the disease and the antibiotics are like Dumbo’s feather a lot of times. We have them out there, but that Dumbo couldn’t fly unless he had to hold that feather. A lot of producers think that if I don’t have that CTC out there, I can’t keep my cattle from getting anaplasmosis. Mark you’re seeing stuff on persistent infection and things to that nature that this just isn’t true. (Mark) Well I will preface we have a lot to learn about anaplasmosis still. The research will be ongoing. It is very fruitful. We’re excited about what we are seeing, but things that I really would like for producers to think about and understand is that when we use a vaccine for anaplasmosis, that we do anticipate it to prevent clinical signs. When we put CTC out in our mineral, feed as labeled for the control of active infection of anaplasmosis, we expect it to prevent or control clinical signs, but we do not expect either of those two tools to prevent necessarily infection. There maybe pharmacokinetic and pharmacologic studies that go on to understand that better. There maybe some strain dependents there, but what we must understand is that when an animal is infected in our herd, if she or he survives in which probably 30% to 50% mortality in an adult animal, but if that animal survives they can and will serve as a reservoir for the disease for the rest of your naive animals. They don’t go away. (Dan) Right. (Mark) We don’t see the clearance so much of anaplasmosis as we use to talk about 20 years ago. So if you don’t understand it that way, you very well could spread that to the rest of your naive animals. When you talk about 30% to 50% mortality in an untreated animal that can be very significant. (Dan) Well you get right to the heart of the matter of when you’re talking about creating that healthy cowherd. We probably have so many more carriers out there than we ever thought to anaplasmosis, but if you can keep building that healthy immune system in your cows, in your calves, in your bulls, they maybe carriers or they may be exposed, but they don’t succumb to the disease. (Mark) Yes. I want to be careful because we do have a lot to learn and there will be some management recommendations to come out, but there is not a one size fits all recommendation here. I think that’s important to recognize that work with your local vet, work with your diagnostician out of K-State, and work with you Extension Agents to ascertain how high is the risk here? What moves do I need to do to strategically protect my cows and my product from becoming infected and severely afflicted by anaplasmosis? (Dan) Can be pretty devastating. I appreciate you being on the show. (Mark) Hey, thank you. (Dan) Thanks for all the work that you’re doing. More will come out of this summer’s research and findings, but probably the most thorough anaplasmosis research project ever done right here at K-State by Mark Spare. Thanks for watching us today. Remember always work with your local veterinarian. If you want to find out what we do, you can find us on the web at I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. Thanks for joining us and I’ll see you down the road.

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