Archive for Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Buffalo to move following deaths

August 28, 2002

Some of the buffalo have died and some may recover. Some may not.

Last week, an anonymous tip led Leavenworth County Sheriff's officers to investigate a report of dead buffalo three miles north of Tonganoxie on property owned by Calvin McDaniel.

Major Dave Zoellner, Leavenworth County undersheriff, said officers discovered six or seven dead buffalo, along with several dozen others that appeared to be in poor health.

"They made contact with the owner," Zoellner said. "He advised he wasn't aware of the problem."

Officers called Jerry Robbins, an Oskaloosa veterinarian who raises buffalo. Robbins determined there was ample food and water for the herd, Zoellner said.

Robbins said he thought the herd was suffering from parasitic worms.

"They certainly can be treated," Robbins said. "The owner has been worming them but with the type of wormer he's been using, parasites tend to build a high resistance to it."

So, Robbins advised moving the remaining buffalo off the land and taking them to him for treatment.

"We're planning on getting as many as we can, get them all out at one time," Robbins said, "so that we can address all of them at the same time, and have the best results by doing that."

Zoellner said McDaniel, who has raised buffalo for 13 years, is constructing a loading ramp to get the buffalo onto a trailer.

The parasites, which are likely in the stomach and intestinal tracts, are spread in feces.

"The eggs are in the feces and in being on a small pasture and grazing in the same area is where they get the contamination," Robbins said.

If the buffalo are immediately put back on the same ground after treatment, they will likely become infected with the parasites again.

He said that McDaniel owns another piece of ground across the road.

Treatment will consist of using an injectable wormer.

"That way you know you got a dose in them and there's no guessing about it," Robbins said.

Each buffalo will receive three injections, three weeks apart. Even after treatment the buffalo will have to be put on an annual program to keep the parasites under control, Robbins said.

But Robbins wasn't optimistic that all the buffalo would get better.

"Certainly the sooner we get to them the better off they'll be," Robbins said. "I think there's probably some animals there that regardless of what we do there's a fairly good chance that we'll lose them even after we treat them."

As of Tuesday, Zoellner said no charges had been filed.

"We're going to see if any laws have been violated," he said. "Once the investigation is complete, we'll take the reports from the officers and veterinarian and county attorney to see if there will be anything pursued. It will be presented to the county prosecutor."

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