We're hiring and we have a big disease exercise at the end of the month

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

September 2019

Four important words to know September 23 - 26, "This is an exercise"

2018 exercise photo

A functional exercise tests participants abilities' to respond to a simulated event in a controlled environment. The multistate African Swine Fever exercise is rapidly approaching and will take place September 23 - 26, 2019. Participating states (including Minnesota) and industry will work through fictional outbreaks of ASF within the U.S. While the exercise is performed in a controlled environment, it attempts to simulate the real world as much as possible. Because of this attempt at authenticity, participants will always use the phrase, "this is an exercise" when communicating during the event. These four words are very important because one stray phone call or email without them could lead someone to misinterpret the exercise as a real event. Read this example of ASF confusion in Canada earlier this year.

The exercise targets key areas of ASF response and mitigation. Participants will conduct foreign animal disease investigations and practice coordination with testing laboratories and industry. They'll also simulate movement standstills and managed movements with control areas in place around the outbreaks. Lastly, they'll work through the process of continuity of business for non-infected operations.

Look for a brief summary of the exercise in the newsletter next month!

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We're hiring a senior veterinarian

Calling all interested veterinarians! Join our team in St. Paul. Applications must be received by Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

To view the job posting and/or apply for the position, go to the state careers website at www.mn.gov/mmb/careers, then enter the Job ID number in Keywords search box at the top. Job Opening ID: 35541

How can you help work towards Scrapie eradication?

Scrapie is a reportable disease, if you own or maintain sheep or goats, contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect any of these animals are showing clinical signs of Scrapie. Information on Scrapie can by found on the Board’s website by clicking on either of these links: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNBAH/bulletins/167d65f and https://www.bah.state.mn.us/sheep-goats/

Consider testing found dead or euthanized sheep or goats (over 18 months of age) for Scrapie, or sheep or goats of any age that show clinical signs of Scrapie. Here are more details from USDA, “The submission of samples can be accomplished either by collecting and submitting tissues directly to an APHIS-approved laboratory or by shipping whole heads directly to an APHIS collection facility. Instructions on tissue sampling and whole head collection can be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/scrapie under the “Scrapie Sample Submission” link on the right side panel. APHIS provides whole head and tissue shipping kits at no cost. Please contact your local VS office to request kits.”

Blastomycosis cases up this year

Cases of blastomycosis in Minnesota by year.


Higher than expected numbers of blastomycosis cases in animals have been reported in 2019, likely due to favorable environmental conditions. Reports are up approximately 35% over this time last year, the second highest year to date. Cases in humans are up 28%. Clusters of blastomycosis are occurring in some areas, particularly Cass County.

Please consider testing for blastomycosis in your patients with compatible clinical signs, such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing and weight loss. Although cases are most common in northeastern counties, dogs have been diagnosed with blastomycosis in almost every county around the state.

If your patients are at risk, so are their owners. A reminder to clients whose dogs have blastomycosis that people can get sick too may help a person get diagnosed more quickly. 

Check the Minnesota Department of Health’s blastomycosis website for maps that compare residence and exposure locations of cases and yearly case counts. You can also find an updated case report form available for download. It’s a fillable PDF so it can be typed and saved to electronic medical records. Watch the mail at your clinic for a more detailed infographic summary of animal blastomycosis data.

Please contact malia.ireland@state.mn.us or call 651-201-5414 if you have questions or want to report a case.

One Health webinar

Don't miss the last event in the Veterinary Antibiotic Stewardship Webinar Series. Antibiotic Stewardship and Prescribing in Equine Practice.

  • Monday, September 16, 2019
  • 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. CDT
  • Catch the conclusion of the five-part webinar series for veterinarians with continuing education credit, hosted by Minnesota One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative and Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association.
  • It's free and open to anyone.
  • Register for the webinar at this link.

Next Meeting of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health

The next quarterly meeting of the  Board of Animal Health will be held on Wednesday, September 18, 2019. It's taking place at the Holiday Inn, 5637 Hwy 29 South, Alexandria, MN 56308.