Animal Health Update: Issue 21


Issue 21

Vector-borne Disease Testing

Funding for EEE and WNV testing in 2018

It's vector-borne disease season, and diseases like eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus become top of mind for equine practitioners. In the past, there have been funds to off-set the cost of testing neurological horses for these diseases; however, the grant funds for 2018 have lapsed. While these funds are no longer available, we do encourage veterinarians to work with their clients to test neurological and symptomatic horses for these diseases, ensuring your client's herd's health and protect all Michigan horses.

Positions Filled in Animal Industry

Barr and Kober New Asst. State Veterinarians

Nancy Headshot

Nancy Barr, DVM, and James Kober, DVM, have been selected for the two Assistant State Veterinarian positions within the Animal Industry Division. The positions were open due to the recent retirement of Nancy Frank, DVM, and the upcoming retirement of Rick Smith, DVM. 

Barr will lead the ruminant programs (cattle, sheep, goats, and farmed deer) within the division, which includes the Bovine Tuberculosis Program. Barr has more than 21 years of combined veterinary experience. After beginning her career at a small animal clinic, she began working at MDARD as a field veterinarian. Over the past 19 years, she has taken on many responsibilities within the department, such as program manager for the Poultry, Emergency Management, and the Swine Programs. In her most recent role, she was the Acting Field Staff Supervisor of 14 field staff members, including veterinarians and field inspectors.

Kober Headshot

Kober will lead the non-ruminant programs (cats, dogs, horses, pigs, and aquaculture). He has more than 30 years of experience in the veterinary field. He started at the Bergman Veterinary Medical Center in 1987 with a primary focus on swine. Since then, he has worked for Swine Health Services and Four Star Veterinary Service, which includes a partnership of six swine practices from the states of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. In his most recent role, he was the owner of Swine Veterinary Services of Michigan.

While the Assistant State Veterinarian positions have been filled, AID is currently conducting a nationwide search for the State Veterinarian and Division Director position. This vacancy comes after the recent promotion of James Averill, DVM, to Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture. The position posting will be open until July 22. Visit the State of Michigan's career's page for more information on the position.

Emergency Preparedness

MDARD Participates in National FMD Exercise

Emergency Excercise

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development participated in the largest national livestock disease response preparedness exercise in recent memory, held across the nation on May 8-9. U.S. Department of Agriculture and 14 other states (MN, WI, ND, SD, NE, OK, TX, CO, MT, CA, IL, KY, IN, and OH) also participated, testing a wide range of planning and preparedness capabilities. MDARD held three significant events over two days to test our preparedness, practice our response procedures, and coordinate with the livestock industry.

The Animal Industry Division Incident Management Teams in Lansing worked through the immediate response steps to respond to a nationally significant foreign animal disease (foot-and-mouth disease). A total of 47 people took part of this event. In addition, the field capacity for such a response was tested and carried into the next day, which was hosted in Coldwater and was made up of field staff from all MDARD divisions. They practiced a number of field- based activities, including bio-security measures, to ensure that surveillance teams are not spreading the disease. This exercise also allowed the field staff to evaluate the number of farms, note what kinds of livestock would be within a quarantined area, and test several technology applications for tracking information.

MDARD also held a discussion-based exercise in Lansing with various farmers, associations, and processors in Michigan. The 63 people in attendance talked through scenarios and concerns of the potential spread of this disease.

Each of these activities is a significant milestone in the Department’s preparedness. Next steps include the development of an after-action report and an improvement plan that can be shared with other jurisdictions and agencies, as well as coordination with other state agencies and the livestock industry.

Disease Update

2018 cases of Leptospriosis, Rabies, and Equine Diseases

29 cases of Leptospirosis in Canines: 

Bay (1), Crawford (1), Kalamazoo (1), Kent (1), Lenawee (2), Livingston (1), Macomb (8), Monroe (3), Muskegon (1), Oakland (4), Ottawa (1), Washtenaw (1), and Wayne (4)

15 cases of Rabies in Bats and Skunks:

Bats: Alpena (1), Berrien (1), Eaton (1), Ingham (3), Ionia (1), Lake (1), Mecosta (1), Saginaw (1), St Clair (1), Washtenaw (2) Skunks: Oakland (2)

Equine Diseases:

Equine Herpevirus: One case in Washtenaw
Equine Influenza: Five cases (counties not collected)
Strangles: Four cases in Chippewa (1), Ionia (1), and Washtenaw (2)

Equine disease information is reported to the Equine Disease Communication Center's Outbreak Alerts, subscribe to their email alerts for real-time updates on equine health.

If you are unable to view images, you may have to indicate to your email service that this is a trusted source.


Contact the Animal Industry Division:

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


Visit our Website


"Like" the MI Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter at @MichDeptofAg