12/12/2014 05:13 EST | Updated 02/11/2015 05:59 EST

Anthrax confirmed in cow in herd in Saskatchewan; suspected in 2 more deaths

REGINA - Anthrax has been confirmed in a cow in a herd in east-central Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Agriculture says the case was confirmed in the Rural Municipality of Hazel Dell No. 335 on Dec. 5.

The department says anthrax is the suspected cause of death in two other cattle from the same herd.

The source is believed to be soil-contaminated slough hay and the government says there is no risk of spreading to other farms.

Anthrax is a bacteria which can survive for decades in spore form in soil.

Livestock are affected when they eat forage contaminated with the spores; affected animals are usually found dead without any signs of the illness.

Anthrax can be prevented by vaccination. Producers in regions that have experienced previous outbreaks are strongly encouraged to vaccinate their animals each year.

Anyone who suspects anthrax should contact a veterinarian. All positive test results are required to be reported to the provincial chief veterinary officer.

The area is about 320 kilometres east of Saskatoon.