can goats get bird flu

ST PAUL, Minn. — The bird flu is back, but its showing up in different animals – from a goat on a western Minnesota farm to dairy cows in several other states.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health joins agencies nationwide in following these cases closely, considering they involve livestock for what is believed to be the first time in the U.S.

Federal health officials say raw, unpasteurized milk from dairy cattle in at least three states tested positive for avian influenza, a virus usually found in birds, not livestock.

“In the southwest region especially, veterinarians are on really high alert,” said Dr. Katie Cornille, a senior veterinarian with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. “The virus that was detected, it wasnt a mutated form to cattle. It was the same virus thats been detected in wild birds.”

In addition to wild birds, the virus resulted in the death and mass slaughter of more than 246 million poultry worldwide from 2005 to 2020, according to the CDC, and outbreaks have resurged since then.

“Highly pathogenic avian influenza, the H5N1, thats the one thats kind of been causing us all the trouble these last years,” Cornille said.

Now in Texas, Kansas and New Mexico, officials say the bird flu was found in older cows, and that symptoms include decreased lactation and low appetite. Cornille says its important to note the experts are working to confirm whether the virus is what caused their symptoms.

This comes a week after at least one goat on a western Minnesota farm was diagnosed with bird flu following an outbreak among poultry on that farm.

Farmers are required to only allow milk from healthy animals to enter the food supply, and milk from sick animals is destroyed.

“At this point, theres really low concern from a consumer perspective,” Cornille said. “Pasteurization of the milk you get in the store and commercial milk is extremely effective at inactivating viruses.”

“When adding animals to your herd, making sure to quarantine them for 21-31 days before introducing them to the other animals just to make sure they dont get sick,” she said.

In late 2022, bird flu infections were reported in bears in Alaska, Nebraska, and Montana. This past December, it was also found in a polar bear. This was the first time an Arctic animal died from the virus.

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People should, as a general precaution, stay away from close encounters with wild birds and, whenever feasible, observe them from a distance. People should also avoid contact between their pets (e. g. , pet birds, dogs and cats) with wild birds. Avoid touching dead or sick birds, their droppings or litter, any surface, or any source of water. g. without donning personal protective equipment (PPE) that could be contaminated by their feces, saliva, or any other bodily fluids (ponds, waterers, buckets, pans, troughs) Prevention and Antiviral Treatment of Bird Flu Viruses in People has more details on the precise measures that can be taken to stop the spread of bird flu viruses from animals to humans. You can find more details about the proper personal protective equipment to wear at Backyard Flock Owners: Take Action to Protect Yourself from Avian Influenza. More Information.

If, within 10 days of being exposed to an infected or possibly infected animal, you experience any of these signs or symptoms, contact your state or local health department right away. Discuss your potential exposure and ask about testing. If testing is advised, try to stay as far away from people as you can until the results are in and/or you’ve recovered from your illness.

While domestic poultry and wild migratory water birds are the primary hosts of bird flu viruses, other animals can also contract and spread these viruses. Mammals that consume (possibly) infected birds or poultry, such as tigers and leopards in zoos, farmed mink, stray or domestic animals like cats and dogs, and wild animals like seals, bears, foxes, and skunks, have all been known to contract bird flu viruses in the past. Periodically, H5N1 bird flu viruses have been found in certain domestic animals, such as cats during outbreaks in Thailand in 2004 and Northern Germany in 2006; in North America, the viruses have also been found in dogs, cats, and goat kids (young goats). The first cases of H5N1 virus infections in mammals were noted in December 2023 in both polar regions: an infected polar bear in Alaska died, and infections in elephants and fur seals in the Antarctic were reported. Contact with an infected wild, stray, feral, or domestic mammal can potentially expose humans to bird flu viruses, though this is unlikely, particularly if the animal is exposed to the person for an extended period of time without protection. Information is provided on this page for various groups of people who may come into close contact with sick or dead animals that are infected or may have been exposed to bird flu-infected birds.

Additionally, close contacts (family members, etc. ) of persons who have come into contact with an individual or animal that carries bird flu viruses that have been verified by a lab should also keep an eye out for symptoms and indicators of illness for ten days following their exposure. In the event that close contacts of individuals exposed to H5 bird flu viruses exhibit symptoms, they should also get in touch with their state’s health department. More Information.

If your pet is showing signs of illness compatible with bird flu virus infection and has been exposed to infected (sick or dead) wild birds/poultry, you should monitor your health for signs of fever or infection. Take precautions to prevent the spread of bird flu.