What's your best defense against disease? Plus a concurrent authority update

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

October 2021

It's always a good time for biosecurity

Disease control area sign

What tool can be adapted to fit any flock or herd size, different species or different locations 365 days a year to reduce the risk of disease spread? Biosecurity. Whether it's simply washing your hands or going through the process of showering in/out and donning coveralls, you can take steps to protect the health of your animals and others with biosecurity. We talk about it a lot at the Board, and for good reason, because a little prevention effort can go a long way toward keeping the next big disease from making landfall in our livestock or pet populations.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus type 2 was confirmed in Minnesota last month and the first questions we received from rabbit owners were, "What can we do to protect our animals?" While vaccine approval was still in the works at that time, we quickly deployed our RHDV2 Biosecurity for Rabbits flyers to guide rabbit owners with actions they could take immediately to protect their animals.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, four words always on the minds of poultry producers. However, it's not the only disease that poses a threat to a flock of healthy birds. The good news is the poultry industry is better prepared to address this and other diseases with a robust set of 14 biosecurity principles outlined in the National Poultry Improvement Plan.

Swine producers have been busy buttressing their barns and preparing for many diseases over the years. The most recent threat is from African Swine Fever and producers are doing more than physical prevention on their farms, they're also planning what to do after a disease is introduced. Producers are building Secure Pork Plans to address everything from biosecurity to business continuity.

What's the takeaway from these examples? There is always something you can do in your barn or backyard to prevent the introduction and spread of disease. Find practices for other species and learn more about the background of biosecurity on our website.

Keep reading...

White-tailed deer concurrent authority update: October 2021

The DNR has started to train a dozen of their field staff from the Enforcement and Fish and Wildlife Divisions to conduct inspection of white-tailed deer farms.

Board and DNR supervisors hold regularly scheduled and as needed meetings to assess and strengthen protocols for concurrent authority over captive white-tailed deer. Topics of discussion included:

  • Dr. Linda Glaser, who oversees the Board's Farmed Cervidae Program, educated DNR staff on CWD trace investigations and import requirements for white-tailed deer. DNR and Board staff suggested changes to the state’s current import policy for white-tailed deer. In light of the DNR’s stop movement order, both agencies agreed to review and revisit this topic at a future meeting.
  • DNR staff need to be trained as authorized CWD sample collectors. The Board requires that all submissions to the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory be by authorized collectors and include lymph nodes, obex, ear tissue and official identification tags.
  • The DNR proposed an addendum to the Board's inspection protocols to include additional questions and information the DNR wants to collect on white-tailed deer farms.
  • The DNR is working with the vendor that built the Board's database to create a database specifically for the management of white-tailed deer.

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program request for nominations are due November 8

Once again, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is soliciting nominations for veterinary shortage situations across the country. Minnesota has been allotted a maximum of seven nomination areas to be filled in the next federal fiscal year. Once a nomination has been approved, veterinarians will be given an opportunity to compete for an award through the USDA’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), which reimburses qualified student loan debt in exchange for veterinarians working in rural areas of need.

The VMLRP offers a solution to student debt by incentivizing service in designated shortage areas and paying off a portion of qualified loans. If selected for a VMLRP award, veterinarians must commit to at least three years in rural practice to receive $25,000 annually in loan repayment.

Please forward suggestions for nominations to Dr. Courtney Wheeler at courtney.wheeler@state.mn.us or 651-201-6800.

California Brucellosis Regulation changes

Effective October 1, 2021, brucellosis vaccination is no longer required for beef breed cows and heifers entering California. All cattle moving into California from a Designated Brucellosis Surveillance Area (Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have designated areas) will still require a negative brucellosis blood test obtained within 30 days before movement into the state and a Special Entry Permit. All beef breed female cattle over 6 months of age still require individual official identification to enter California unless moving directly to slaughter. The brucellosis vaccination requirement for beef breed female cattle greater than 12 months of age sold within California has been removed. The new changes do not affect current brucellosis vaccination requirements for dairy breed cows and heifers entering the state or sold within California. Please direct questions to the California Department of Food and Agriculture permit line at (916) 900-5052 or email evet@cdfa.ca.gov.

Next Quarterly Board Meeting

The final 2021 quarterly meeting of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8 in Northfield, Minnesota. The meeting will be livestreamed for remote attendees and additional details will be posted in the November issue of Animal Bytes. You can always follow the latest agenda and review prior meeting videos on the Board Members webpage.