It's shaping up to be a tough summer for animal health across South Texas.

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials have reported the first case of anthrax in Texas this year after a goat in Kinney County was discovered and confirmed to have died from exposure to the spore-forming bacterium, Bacillus anthracis.

The news comes on the heels of reports of five Kinney County horses that were confirmed with Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in late May. VS and anthrax are unrelated animal conditions and officials say there is no connection between the animals or the diseases.

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution, including certain parts of Texas. It is not uncommon for anthrax to be diagnosed in livestock or wildlife in the southwestern part of the state. A vaccine is available for use in susceptible livestock in high risk areas.

Kinney County is located in the southwest region of the state; the county seat is Brackettville, just southeast of Del Rio.

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Acute fever followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings are common signs of anthrax in livestock. Carcasses may also appear bloated and decompose quickly. Livestock or animals displaying symptoms consistent with anthrax should be reported to a private veterinary practitioner or a TAHC official.

Anthrax mainly affects livestock and wild game. Humans can become infected through direct or indirect contact with sick animals. No evidence exists to show that anthrax is transmitted from person to person, but it's possible that anthrax skin lesions may be contagious through direct contact. Usually, anthrax bacteria enter the body through a wound in the skin. You can also become infected by eating contaminated meat or inhaling the spores.