Can the flu vaccine protect your flock?

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minnesota board of animal health animal bytes

April, 2016

Flu vaccinations protect your poultry too

A flu vaccine protects your poultry

The human flu season is peaking later than normal this year. The Minnesota Department of Health says there is still plenty of vaccine available and recommends vaccination. The vaccine is effective against the H1N1 strain, which can be transmitted between humans and animals. It is also the predominant strain circulating in people this spring.

Vaccinating farm workers, especially those working with swine or poultry, is an important preventative measure. If workers do become ill with flu symptoms, they are encouraged to stay home to stop the spread. The Minnesota Department of Health encourages vaccines for healthy humans and animals. Visit the MDH website to learn about influenza and vaccinations.

New Executive Director selected: June start date

Dr. Beth Thompson

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health recently interviewed candidates for an Executive Director and State Veterinarian to succeed Dr. Bill Hartmann following his retirement in early June. The Board is pleased to announce Dr. Beth Thompson as their selection. She accepted the offer and will work with Hartmann during his final weeks to ensure a smooth transition of leadership at the Board. Congratulations to Beth on her selection and acceptance of the position.

She is currently an Assistant Director at the Board and primarily oversees the swine and emergency planning operations. She earned her DVM and swine medicine certification from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. After graduation, she spent more than a year as a swine production system veterinarian for Holden Farms in Northfield, Minnesota.

Approved shortage areas in Minnesota for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

Map of veterinary shortage areas in United States

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) will help qualifying veterinarians pay off college loan debt from an available $4.4 million fund in 2016. This program addresses two needs in the veterinary industry.  First, the average veterinarian graduates with more than $135,000 in loan debt, and second, many rural areas of the U.S. are underserved by veterinarians. This program helps address both issues by pairing doctors where they're needed most.

The VMLRP helps qualified veterinarians repay their student loans in exchange for working in defined shortage areas around the country. Shortage areas are broken down into different levels of need from Type 1 to Type 3. Loan repayments may reach up to $25,000 per person each year of their agreement. This annual application period closes May 20, 2016 and offers will be made to qualifying veterinarians in September. A map of the areas open in Minnesota and an application link are available from the USDA.

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Novel Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases (SECD) reimbursement deadline approaching

American Association of Swine Veterinarians

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is paying for SECD testing until April 30, 2016. Samples received by the April 30 deadline and billed to Veterinary Services by June 30, 2016 qualify for reimbursement. After that date, the $26.2 million of emergency funding supporting those tests, will be depleted.

Although the USDA emergency funding is running out and reimbursements will cease, producers can still run diagnostic testing in their swine at their own cost. Veterinary Services plans to host discussions with producers and stakeholders to figure out the future of the SECD program.

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Quarterly Board Meeting Minutes: February, 2016

The following agenda items were covered at the February meeting of the Board:

  • A proposed PRRS and PED project with the Pork Producers.
  • Budget and legislative session update.
  • Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
  • USDA update.
  • Swine Vesicular Virus.
  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
  • Dog and Cat Breeder Inspection Program.

Read the full minutes

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