A six-year-old dairy cow in the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia could be Canada's fifth and latest case of BSE, and the second born after Canada imposed its ban on the feeding of ruminant-derived protein. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced Thursday the animal was found during routine testing under Canada's BSE surveillance program, which tests animals most at risk for contracting BSE.

The animal reportedly was euthanized after it went down with what were likely "calving issues," reports www.saskatoonhomepage.ca. If found positive for BSE, the animal would be Canada's first domestic BSE case without an apparent tie to Alberta. The farm, which owned the cow for one year, had detailed records on the animal from birth.

Brad Wildeman, Canadian Cattlemen's Association vice president, tells www.saskatoonhomepage.ca he believes it's possible the contaminated feed source likely originated in Alberta, saying ''it is highly like a lot of the feed components that would have went into the feed that animal received would have come out of the Alberta area. We don't know that for sure, so we are speculating a little bit, but certainly it seems pretty likely."

Tissues from the animal are now undergoing confirmatory testing - expected to be completed over the weekend - at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg. CFIA stressed that no part of the animal entered the human or animal food systems.

The Ottawa Sun reports Canadian beef producers fear the latest case might hinder the reopening of the U.S. border to cattle more than 30 months of age, which USDA is expected to soon propose. Trade to the U.S. in cattle and beef products younger than 30 months of age resumed in July 2005. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association, which represents some 90,000 beef producers, estimates the industry has lost almost $6 billion as a result of the export ban initiated upon discovery of the first Canadian BSE case in May 2003. - Joe Roybal