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Ag officials urge dairy farmers to protect against EHD

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A dairy farm in Wisconsin
A dairy farm in Wisconsin

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State agriculture officials have urged dairy farmers to protect their herds against a disease that has killed a number of deer in Wisconsin this fall.

There’s no evidence yet that any cows have come down with epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD. But the Agriculture Department says it could happen, because cows are cud-chewing animals just like deer.

The disease is carried by midges and flies – and until there’s a hard freeze which kills those bugs, state veterinarian Robert Ehlenfeldt says dairy cattle will be at risk.

There is no vaccine for EHD, but farmers have been asked to use insect control around their herds as a precautionary step. And if there are any signs of illness, Ehlenfeldt says farmers should contact their veterinarians immediately.

EHD is rare in dairy cattle, but it’s had a bigger than normal presence in deer this year throughout the Midwest. Officials say infected cows can get fever, swollen tongues, ulcers in the gums and mouth, excess saliva, and stiffness or lameness in walking.

EHD has been confirmed in dead deer in Dane, Sauk, Columbia, Rock, and Waukesha counties – and test results were pending at last word for deer killed in 3 other counties. 

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