The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has been working jointly with the United States Department of Agriculture-Veterinary Services (USDA-VS) to recover stray livestock that have come across the Rio Grande River due to recent rainfall that has flooded several South Texas counties.

USDA-VS personnel in the Laredo and Eagle Pass areas responded to stray livestock issues as a result of the Rio Grande River flooding. To date, two Mexico horses were washed across the Rio Grande River during the flooding above Laredo into two different premises. They were located by helicopter and apprehended on horseback.

Twenty three Mexican cattle were washed across the river below Eagle Pass, potentially exposing several premises to ticks. They were returned to the Mexican owner.

Del Rio inspectors have apprehended three head of cattle and one horse, but continue to search areas that have so far not been accessible. Many more animals have been reported missing in Mexico.

“The skills that the tick riders use in their daily work in handling and rounding up livestock have proven to be an invaluable asset in response to disasters such as this, the flooding of the Rio Grande River,” said Dr. Matt Cochran, TAHC Assistant Executive Director.

On Thursday, July 22, a USDA-VS veterinarian assessed the status of the cattle stranded in Starr County. Based on his assessment, TAHC, Texas AgriLife Extension (ALEXT), and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers (TSCRA) personnel were able to “swim” two head of cattle and one horse to dry land that day. Currently, through the efforts in protecting these livestock in Starr County, 9 head of cattle and one horse were rescued as well. TAHC was assisted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) wardens who supplied a boat to get to the location where the livestock were stranded.

The Texas Animal Health Commission works to protect the health of all Texas livestock, including: cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, equine animals, and exotic livestock.