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November 15, 2020

Grants could help improve cattle health

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Animal health researchers at Washington State University plan to help build a program in Kenya to combat diseases deadly to livestock.

Researchers at Texas A&M University also will look for ways to reduce use of an antimicrobial in U.S. cattle while continuing to protect their health.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is funding the Washington State effort through a five-year, $6 million grant to the WSU Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. The researchers plan to develop protections against livestock diseases, especially East Coast fever, according to an announcement from the university.

East Coast fever is a tick-borne disease of cattle, and it’s most prevalent in eastern and southern Africa. It causes high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and indigestion, and it can kill infected cattle, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual.

The grant is part of the USAID Feed the Future program to help partner countries develop their agriculture industries. Washington State officials plan to work with partners from the University of Nairobi, the nonprofit International Livestock Research Institute, the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization, and the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

In a separate effort, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is providing a $500,000 grant to the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and the West Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, which will collaborate on the study with researchers from Iowa State, Michigan State, and Colorado State universities, as well as three cattle feeding companies and the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

The researchers will look for ways to reduce administration of tylosin phosphate to cattle, which receive the drug on most U.S. feedlots to prevent liver abscesses, according to an announcement from West Texas A&M. The project is intended to reduce selection for antimicrobial resistance.