Michigan Animal Health Update: Issue 1, August 2015


Issue 1, August 2015

Canine Influenza

Reportable diseases and how they affect you.


This past year Michigan and rest of the country faced a number of emerging/reportable disease issues within the veterinary community, including a great deal of activity surrounding influenza viruses. These viruses are able to change quickly, and always have the potential to impact human health, keeping those of us in regulatory medicine very busy. This spring an outbreak of canine influenza H3N2 in the Chicagoland area was cause for concern. On May 15 we received a courtesy notification from a laboratory that there were three cases of canine influenza H3N2 in two Michigan counties. These circumstances prompted the addition of Canine influenza to the reportable disease list in Michigan on June 3. Since canine influenza became reportable, Michigan has had one positive case, which was reported on June 18. One of the reasons canine influenza was added to the list was to protect Michigan’s shelter and rescue populations. Shelters and rescues generally house larger numbers of animals who sometimes coming from multiple states. The addition of canine influenza to the animal reportable disease list allows the Animal Industry Division to assist shelters, if needed, and help control an outbreak in their facility. Shelters and rescues were notified of the addition of canine influenza to the list and were sent informational pieces on biosecurity and the disease. Anytime we add a disease to the Michigan Reportable Disease List, veterinarians and diagnostic labs must notify the department if they have any suspicious or positive cases/test results for the disease. It’s important to note the reportable disease list does not mandate owners test for the specific diseases. Instead the list provides AID the ability to control and eradicate a disease. In addition, sometimes we add a disease to monitor disease occurrences and determine trends.  In such instances when you notify AID, it may not warrant any further action. Ultimately, adding diseases to the list helps AID identify risk factors for the disease and keep veterinarians and shelters more informed. You can report diseases to AID by email or phone 800-292-3939. AID will be sending out a printed copy of the reportable disease list to all of Michigan’s veterinarians in the next month; however you can always find the list at www.michigan.gov/animaldiseases.

Hot Topic:

Avian Influenza


High pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) has wreaked havoc with the poultry industry and become the largest animal disease outbreak in U.S. history. The virus has been confirmed in wild, captive, commercial and backyard birds in 21 states and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Ontario, ultimately affecting almost 50 million birds. In Michigan, we have found this strain (H5N2) of HPAI in wild geese in Southeastern Michigan; however there have been no detections in our domestic poultry flocks. The last case of HPAI was documented in June. Across the nation, 40 percent of producers have restocked their facilities. Both industry and government partners are in intense state of preparation as we anticipate the possibility HPAI will return this fall when wild birds migrate south. During this season we want to remind veterinarians to talk to their bird owning clients, especially those with backyard chickens or turkeys, and stress the importance of biosecurity. Veterinarians should advise all poultry owners to restrict access to their flock; keep all other poultry, people and wild birds away; clean and disinfect equipment regularly and don’t share equipment with other flock owners. Birds should receive well water or municipal water, not surface water. Surface water could be contaminated by bird droppings from migrating waterfowl potentially infected with avian influenza. Poultry feed should be stored to prevent exposure to wild birds or rodents as both wild birds and rodents can spread disease. It is best if owners do not add birds to their flock and if they must, isolate new birds for at least 30 days before introducing them into the flock. Biosecurity is a priority for all of Michigan’s poultry farms. It is important that proper practices be used regardless of the number of birds on a farm or the type of birds. Meanwhile, if you suspect that birds have avian influenza, you can reach our office at 800-292-3939 or 517-373-0440 (after hour emergencies only).

Program Spotlight:

Dr. Jame Averill, State Veterinarian


I often receive questions about my job as the State Veterinarian, Michigan’s chief animal health officer. My job, and the mission of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Animal Industry Division staff is to protect, regulate and promote animal health on a daily basis. In my role as State Veterinarian, I am responsible for maintaining the reportable disease list, developing surveillance protocols, guiding policy and interpretation of statutes, and approving veterinary biologicals. My second hat, or should I say bow tie, that I wear at MDARD is my role as the AID Director, managing division staff, including field staff veterinarians, and budget to operate Michigan’s animal health programs. Frequently I receive questions about areas in which I have virtually no involvement in and wanted to take a moment to explain. Staff and I often receive calls and questions about veterinary licensure and pharmaceuticals, which we have no jurisdiction over. Instead, both topics lie within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. I also get questions about our role in animal welfare issues; however most animal welfare enforcement is at a local level. There are certain aspects that fall under State Veterinarian (gestation and veal crates and egg laying cage size) while others we assist and consult with law enforcement. Currently, AID is in middle of a three year strategic plan and we are evaluating our regulatory role and authority regarding animal welfare. Finally, as part of our strategic plan, AID has been evaluating our communications with our animal health partners, including Michigan’s veterinarians. In order to enhance the efforts, we will be sending out a monthly Animal Health Update e-newsletter on a monthly basis and are overhauling our website to provide better service to veterinarians. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Megan Sprague, AID Communications Representative, at SpragueM@michigan.gov or 517-284-5661.

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Put it on the Calendar:

World Rabies Day

September 28

More Information


Contact the Animal Industry Division:

Constitution Hall
525 West Allegan Street
6th Floor, P.O. Box 30017
Lansing, MI 48909




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