Rare white buffalo in Texas died from infection

Associated Press Modified: August 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm •  Published: August 21, 2012
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"It lays dormant in the land," Meeks said of the spores that cause the infection. "It's very preventable by vaccination. We were not told by the Little Soldiers that these two had died."

Terry Hensley, a Texas A&M extension office veterinarian, said a blackleg vaccine is available for cattle but has not been approved for buffalo. Some experts say the cattle vaccine has been effective in buffalo, Hensley said.

Animals eat the spores, or the spores enter the body through a wound. The spores, a small number of which are usually found in an animal's digestive tract, can lay dormant inside the animal's muscles, and break out months or years later. The bacteria become activated by quick growth or muscle exertion.

"Normally they're healthy one day and the rancher finds them dead the next," Hensley said.

Lightning Medicine Cloud's mother Buffalo Woman was found dead a day after the white buffalo's death. Little Soldier has said he believes she was poisoned. Meeks said he could not comment on the mother's death.

Little Soldier had offered a $45,000 reward for information about the animal's death.

Meeks said no charges will be filed against Little Soldier.

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