Getting ready for 2021 and researchers are looking for volunteers

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

January 2021

Emergency Disease Management Committees: the experts answering the "what if's"

Be Prepared

There are two EDMC teams in Minnesota, one for swine and one for poultry. The poultry team has been around longer and served as the blueprint for the newer swine team. Despite covering two different species, the groups have a lot in common, including the goal to plan and prepare today for an animal disease that could arrive tomorrow. What have these teams been up to lately and what's on their horizon in 2021?

The EDMC for Swine

This team is broken down into several special subcommittees and has created several plans and resources in the past year:

  • Communication protocols during animal emergencies.
  • Depopulation methods and resources.
  • Carcass disposal methods and resources.
  • Mental health support resources.
  • The Minnesota African Swine Fever Response Plan.
  • Epidemiologic questionnaire for ASF investigations.
  • Interactive map for tracing outbreaks and permitted movement.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols during a disease outbreak.
  • A regionalization task force for Minnesota and Iowa during a FAD event.

The swine teams are also busy preparing and refining plans as we begin 2021.

  • Planning and evaluating alternate depopulation methods (nitrogen gas/foam).
  • Developing additional diagnostic tools for ASF detection and surveillance.
  • Assigning premises ID’s to non-livestock operations to improve emergency response during a disease event. Click here to register a non-livestock premise (feed mill, slaughtering plant, processing plant, etc.)
  • Expanding enhanced biosecurity protocols.
  • Developing enhanced site security during FAD events.
  • Distributing contact protocols for loose pig sightings in Minnesota.
  • Drafting permitted movement protocols to use during FAD events.
  • Vector mitigations during disease events.

The EDMC for Poultry

The purpose of the EDMC is to advise the Board on the development and implementation of the Minnesota Plan, a formal regulatory avian influenza response plan. EDMC members are positioned to make recommendations and have the contacts to delegate resources as needed for a Minnesota Plan response. EDMC members have the technical expertise to make field decisions during a response and are able to represent and be a spokesperson for their respective industry or organization. It is through these collaborative, cooperative efforts poultry diseases of great significance are eradicated or controlled in Minnesota.

Here's what the poultry team has been up to lately:

  • Working with industry on disease surveillance and detections, ramping up awareness when wild bird migrations occur.
  • Tracking and mapping recent low pathogenic avian influenza detections on premises in several adjacent counties to determine how the virus is spreading.
  • Monitoring the HPAI situation in Europe and Asia because the migratory bird patterns are similar to those in 2014-2015.
  • Training Board and USDA field staff to be Case Managers, veterinarians who would work directly with producers when responding to an introduction.
  • Communicating with producers and veterinarians to ensure they have adequate supplies when collecting samples from suspect flocks. 
  • Reminding industry of the need for heightened biosecurity and flock awareness during the 2021 spring and fall migratory seasons.
  • Reviewing and auditing producer biosecurity plans.

Keep reading...

Extension to the Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship

The Board of Veterinary Medicine announced a new deadline for the temporary extension of the time period for maintaining a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) from 12 months to 18 months. The new deadline for the extended VCPR is July 1, 2021. This provides a longer time period for a veterinarian to provide services to an existing patient that has been seen within the preceding 18 months. The extension applies to patient-specific telemedicine as well as refills of medications. Please note that authorized refills for new prescriptions should be limited to a 12-month supply.

The Secure Pork Supply plan is a valuable resource

If you're a pork producer or swine veterinarian and don't have a Secure Pork Supply plan in place, there's no time like today to get started at

The SPS plan allows producers to prepare for an animal disease before it arrives. It also gives animal health officials a jumpstart during a disease event when important details like premises IDs are already registered. Plus, SPS plans can increase consumer confidence in a safe and secure food supply chain, which keeps commerce running during a disease response.

Dig into more details and learn about the numerous benefits of SPS plans from University of Minnesota Swine Extension Educator, Diane DeWitte.

CWD researchers are seeking cervid farmers for a study

Dr. Scott Wells with the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine received funding from the USDA last fall to conduct a multistate project focusing on farmed cervids and chronic wasting disease (CWD). The purpose of the project is to identify farm and environmental risk factors associated with CWD positive herds in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by comparing CWD positive herds found within the last five years to herds without infection.

The type of herds selected for participation in this study are white-tailed deer herds or mixed herds that include white-tailed deer, since the CWD-positive herds in these states during this time frame were predominantly white-tailed deer. The project will include a questionnaire and 1-2 hour onsite visit to farm locations for data collection for each participant.

The Board is working with Dr. Wells to provide support to conduct the Minnesota portion of this study. Dr. Wells is also working with animal health agencies in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and wildlife agencies in all three states to gather information about CWD in wild populations for the project.

Scott would like to meet with the leaders of farmed cervid organizations to discuss this project, to provide opportunity for input, answer any questions and ask for support to encourage members’ voluntary participation in the study. Contact Dr. Scott Wells or Dr. Linda Glaser if you're interested in more information.

Next Board of Animal Health Meeting

Wednesday, February 24 at 9:30 a.m.

Review the current agenda on the Board website.

Details on joining the meeting remotely will be posted on the website soon.