An older dairy cow from Alberta, Canada, has tested positive for mad cow disease, the Canadian government confirmed Sunday, less than a week after the U.S. announced it would lift a ban on Canadian cattle.

The cow was more a family pet and not in commercial milk production, a Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarian confirmed last week, in a report by the

Globe and Mail

of Toronto. The cow was first examined Dec. 17 after being identified as too sick to walk. It was born in 1996 before a 1997 feed ban, and likely became infected by contaminated feed before the ban, the newspaper's Web site reported.

The U.S. banned Canadian beef a year and a half ago when a cow in northern Alberta was discovered with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, as mad cow is formally known. In December 2003, a Canadian-born cow infected with BSE, which attacks the animals' central nervous system, was discovered in Washington state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that the border with Canada could be reopened for cattle trade in March. The Bush administration said it would stand by its decision to allow the imports after learning of the latest case.