Weekly livestock and equine news: December 26, 2022

Researchers see promise in new African swine fever vaccines

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Connecticut have developed African swine fever vaccine candidates they say were deemed “promising” by independent researchers. One of those vaccine candidates was recently licensed for commercial development by Zoetis. Researchers from Zoetis and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut in Germany have conducted trials on wild boars using edible bait containing the vaccine, as well as on domestic pigs through injection. Both routes demonstrated the immunization’s efficacy against ASF, according to the announcement from the University of Connecticut.

Livestock producers face winter storm challenges

Tyson Foods said it suspended and reduced operations at some U.S. meat facilities last week due to a massive winter storm, while farmers increased checks on livestock facing extreme cold and winds, Reuters reports. The extreme weather presented a temporary challenge to food production, which has already been hit this year by rising inflation, supply chain shortages and drought. In Kansas, the third-largest U.S. cattle state behind Texas and Nebraska, the National Weather Service warned of “dangerously cold” wind chills reaching minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

New avian influenza cases reported in Colorado and South Dakota

New cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza were confirmed in commercial operations in Colorado and South Dakota on December 20, WattAgNet reports. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced the virus was confirmed in a commercial egg-laying operation in Weld County, Colorado, involving 260,000 hens and a commercial meat turkey operation in Hanson County, South Dakota, involving 31,800 turkeys.

FDA approves first injectable pentosan to treat osteoarthritis in horses

The FDA has approved Zycosan (pentosan polysulfate sodium injection) for the control of clinical signs associated with osteoarthritis in horses. Zycosan is a heparin-like compound and is the first injectable pentosan product to receive FDA approval, according to the announcement. Unapproved injectable formulations of pentosan, including compounded formulations, have a long history of use in horses, but this is the first injectable pentosan product to meet the FDA’s standards. The drug, sponsored by Missouri-based Anzac Animal Health, is available with a veterinary prescription.