Animal Health Update: Issue 16


Issue 16

Equine Samples Wanted: 

Diagnostic Testing Funding Available

for Equine Mosquito-Borne Diseases


Funds are available now for West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) diagnostic testing for suspect equine. This free service encourages owners to test suspect animals and help detect mosquito-borne diseases earlier, protecting the health of other animals and people in the area. If veterinarians have equine that have developed or recently died from a sudden onset of neurologic signs and the owner approves of pursuing testing, they should contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Animal Industry Division at 800-292-3939. 

The funding covers the testing cost of samples taken from live or deceased animals (blood, cerebral spinal fluid, or brain samples). The samples will be tested by Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL). Shipping to VDL is not covered. Additionally, if a brain sample is submitted, it will also be tested for rabies virus for free. 

Animal Industry Division staff will work with the veterinarian to gather all necessary information and must approve all testing prior to submission. The veterinarian will be notified of the results when they are available. 

To date in 2017, Michigan has had three cases of West Nile virus. The three cases were as follows: a 31-year-old Arabian mare from Jackson County, an eight-year-old Arabian gelding from Livingston County and a 15-year-old Standardbred gelding from Missaukee County. All three horses developed severe neurologic signs.

Hot Topic: 

Swine Influenza


Swine influenza has become a top concern for fairs and exhibitions, especially after it was confirmed at three of Michigan’s county fairs in 2016. With the recent diagnosis of swine influenza at a county fair in Wilmington, Ohio, the Animal Industry Division would like to remind veterinarians who work with fairs and exhibitions to mitigate the risk of swine influenza at events by encouraging the implementation of the following practices that protect people and pigs:

Public and exhibitor safety

  • Restrict public access to the barns and consider closing gates after the pigs have been at the event for 72 hours.
  • Post signage reminding exhibitors and the public to keep food and drinks out of animal areas.
  • Post signage about hand-washing; and be sure that the stations are located near animal areas.
  • Minimize exhibitor’s time in the pig barn, and encourage them to wash their hands—even if they own the pig(s).
  • Seek medical care if exhibitors or others develop influenza-like symptoms.

Pig safety 

  • Keep pigs cool and reduce their stress.
  • Avoid nose-to-nose contact between pigs from different families.
  • Discourage sharing equipment, and frequently disinfect common areas like scales and wash racks.
  • Monitor the pigs’ feed and water consumption closely. Pigs that are off feed or acting depressed may be showing early signs of illness.
  • Isolate sick pigs and notify the fair veterinarian if a pig may be ill. The normal temperature for a pig is 101.5–103.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is equal to or greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, contact MDARD at 800-292-3939. 
  • Consider shortening the length of time pigs are at the fair. 

For more information and resources on swine influenza and exhibitions, please visit


Veterinary Feed Directive Webinar

to be held on August 17

On August 17 at 3 p.m. the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is hosting a webinar on the veterinary feed directive (VFD) and where we are now for veterinarians and feed mills. Dr. James Averill, State Veterinarian and Animal Industry Division Director, will be going over the veterinarian-client-patient-relationship, what ensures a VFD order is valid and will work for feed mills, and minor species. Tim Lyons, Acting Animal Feed Program Specialist, will be reviewing the distributors responsibilities, blue bird labels, and issues that the Food and Drug Administration has seen and is addressing.

As a part of the webinar, both presenters will be taking questions on specific issues that both veterinarians and feed mills are seeing with the VFD process. If you’d like to attend, please register, and if you have questions prior to the webinar they can be submitted on the registration form. After registering, you will receive an individualized confirmation email containing details about how to join the webinar.  

DCPAH is now the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

The diagnostic laboratory at Michigan State University is still the same laboratory trusted by veterinarians for over 40 years, but now has a new name. Effective June 1, 2017 it became the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. In addition, the laboratory was recently promoted to a Level 1 NAHLN laboratory. Read the full article for more details on these exciting developments.  

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In this Issue:


Put it on the Calendar:

MSU Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Forages and the Future

August 24, 2017


MDARD Webinar:
Veterinary Feed Directive

August 17, 2017


Contact the Animal Industry Division:

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


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