New policy for dogs and cats imported from foreign countries and an update on the farmed cervid rulemaking process

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

September 2020

Contingency plan for Pullorum antigen shortage

Bottle of antigen

The Salmonella Pullorum plate antigen used to test poultry in the field using the Rapid Whole Blood Test (RWBT) for Pullorum-Typhoid disease (P-T) has been in short supply since the spring of 2019. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health is concerned that our current supply of antigen will not last until more antigen becomes readily available. As a result, the Board has developed a contingency plan that factors in the requirements needed to maintain Minnesota’s P-T Clean State status.

The following guidelines will be used for annual breeder flock and sale/exhibition pullorum-typhoid testing:

  • Authorized Poultry Testing Agents (APTA’s) that have antigen that expired 4/28/2019 are allowed to use this antigen for breeder flock or sale/exhibition testing if they call the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL) for approval before use.
  • The limited supply of the new Charles River Laboratories antigen available at the MPTL will be reserved for community sale and exhibition testing. Please remember, NPIP permitted hatcheries do not need to retest birds prior to sale or exhibition. The hatchery permit card provides proof that the birds are part of the Board’s P-T Clean program.
  • NPIP permitted hatcheries that are due for an Annual Breeder Flock test and do not have antigen should contact the MPTL for further direction. As part of the Board’s continency plan, we will be requesting that blood samples be collected, and the serum submitted to the MPTL for P-T testing. Board representatives will be available to assist with the collection of samples. All birds sampled must be identified with a leg or wing band.

As much as we hoped we would be able to maintain a supply of Pullorum antigen that would be available for all our Minnesota APTAs, we are fully expecting that our supply will run out before we are able to obtain new lots of antigen. We understand this news is disappointing and creates another layer of uncertainty during these already difficult times. At this time, we do not plan to waive any of the requirements and will work with individuals to determine other options for testing. However, this is a very fluid situation that may change at any time. Updated information will be posted on the Board poultry website.

Keep reading...

New policy for dogs and cats imported from countries with confirmed African Swine Fever in domestic swine populations

The importation of animals, including dogs and cats, into the United States from countries that have had a recent outbreak of, or are endemic for, African Swine Fever (ASF) poses a threat to swine production systems in Minnesota. While there is no direct evidence that dogs and cats are biological carriers of ASF, there is concern that these animals, their carriers, and transport-associated materials are capable of carrying and spreading the disease. Ticks or other external parasites that may be imported on animals also pose a concern for disease spread.

To prevent the unintentional introduction of ASF by dog and cat importers, the Board has elected to quarantine dogs and cats traveling from affected countries for a minimum of 10 days. This allows the importer adequate time to appropriately dispose of potentially infectious materials, effectively treat the animal(s) for external parasites and for State Animal Health Officials to address any additional concerns related to the potential introduction of the virus.

The following regulations apply to any dog or cat that has originated from or traveled through a country in which an ASF outbreak has been identified in the domestic swine population. Affected countries can be found by referencing the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) World Animal Health Information System (continuing outbreak):

  1. Importers must notify the Board by phone or e-mail at least seven (7) days prior to arrival of the animals into the state of:
    1. Type and number of animals being imported.
    2. Country from which animals originate and countries through which animals will travel.
    3. The location(s) where the animal(s) will be housed upon arrival.
  2. Upon notification, the importer must submit the following at least seven (7) days prior to arrival:
    1. International Health Certificate.
    2. International Import Permit (if applicable).
    3. Rabies Certificate.
    4. Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for movement from state of entry (if applicable).
  3. Upon arrival in the state:
    1. All dogs must be bathed.
    2. All dogs and cats must be treated for fleas and ticks with a commercial product approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
    3. All animal carriers (if any) and non-disposable items transported with the animals (dishes, toys, etc.) must be cleaned and disinfected.
    4. Any disposable transport-associated material(s) (bedding, food, treats, animal waste, etc.) must be disposed of in a manner approved by the Board as outlined in the official quarantine.
  4. Imported animals will be officially quarantined by an agent of the Board. The quarantine will be for a minimum of 10 days at the expense of the owner of the animals or the owner/operator of the importing animal business.
    1. The importer shall minimize the number of locations at which animals are quarantined.
    2. Unless the quarantine site is a veterinary facility or a facility under the supervision of a veterinarian, an agent of the Board will inspect the facility prior to arrival of the animal(s).
  5. During the quarantine period:
    1. Animal caretaker(s) must implement Board approved appropriate biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of exposure to ASF susceptible species.
    2. No visitors may have access to or contact with quarantined animals.
    3. Quarantined animals may not be moved unless advanced, written permission is given by the State Veterinarian.
  6. The Board will assign an agent to perform an onsite visit to the quarantine location to verify that all requirements have been met before releasing the official quarantine.
  7. The quarantine period will end only upon a Release of Quarantine, issued by the Board.

Read about other import requirements on the Board website.

Farmed cervidae rulemaking update

The Board formed an Advisory Committee to participate in the rule revision process. The last 15 minutes of every meeting are open for public comment. The first meeting was Wednesday, August 26, 2020. The committee has met twice and a third meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 21. The details of that meeting:

  • Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Dial 763-317-4323 and enter code: 814 451 045# if prompted.
  • To follow video presentations, Join Microsoft Teams Meeting.
  • For technical assistance accessing the meetings, please dial 651-201-6815.

The Board also continues to hold listening sessions for the general public to make comments and suggestions on changes and corrections for any of the farmed Cervidae rules administered by the Board. The Board has hosted the following public listening sessions:

  • Thursday, August 27, 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 2, 1 – 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 9, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 17, 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Listening sessions for Tribal Organizations:

  • Thursday, September 10, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Please also consider making written comments on the eComments website.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease detected in Dakota County

The Board recently issued a press release announcing a detection of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). This disease is spread by biting midges or gnats and poses no known health risk to humans. Farmed cervid owners should take proactive measures to protect their herd:

  • Reduce bug exposure by limiting tall grasses.
  • Move animals to higher and drier ground.
  • Consider pest control treatments.
  • Contact your veterinarian if animals have any of these clinical signs; fever, anorexia, lethargy, stiffness, respiratory distress, oral ulcers, and severe swelling of the head and neck.

September Board Meeting video posted

Video recordings of the Board's third quarterly meeting of 2020 on September 9 have been posted online. The recording is in two parts available at the links below:

Part 1:

Part 2: