PIN tag shortages and what's new at your clinic in 2022?

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

January 2022

Be alert for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Wild Bird Migratory Flyways

Multiple cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been identified recently in North America. Canada has confirmed two cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (Eurasian H5N1) in exhibition flocks in Newfoundland as well as in some wild birds. In the past few weeks, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported highly pathogenic avian influenza (Eurasian H5N1) in a wild American wigeon and a blue-wing teal in South Carolina and in a northern shoveler in North Carolina. This Eurasian H5N1 virus is related to the HPAI viruses currently circulating in Europe and Asia and the virus that caused the 2014-2015 HPAI in Minnesota and elsewhere in the United States. Because there is crossover of birds between the North American flyways, this greatly increases the possibility of HPAI coming to Minnesota. The need for poultry producers to practice good biosecurity, increase surveillance and report sick birds is crucial during the spring wild bird migratory season.

There are simple measures to reduce the risk of infecting our Minnesota birds. These measures can protect poultry from a whole range of diseases. The Board is asking Minnesota flockowners to be aware of the signs of influenza and to implement some targeted biosecurity practices to prevent the virus from reaching your flock:

Know the signs…and call your vet if you see them!

  • Signs of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) in poultry are typically mild and can easily go undetected. In some flocks, birds may be quiet, lack energy, not eat well, cough and/or sneeze, and show a decrease in egg production.
  • Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry is a very serious disease that spreads very quickly. Flocks infected with HPAI will appear extremely depressed, quiet and may experience a sudden increase in birds dying without any clinical signs. Birds may have a lack of energy, not eat well, show a decrease in egg production, have swelling and/or purple discoloration of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks, and have a difficult time breathing.

Review and follow through on your biosecurity practices.

  • Review proper protocols for entering the farm and the barn. If the virus doesn’t cross into the bird holding areas, it can’t infect your birds. Reduce the number of times anyone comes enters the bird holding areas.
  • Influenza viruses may be in or on bird carcasses brought home from hunting, fishing, and trapping activities. Dogs, their collars, your clothing, and vehicles may all be contaminated. Anything that comes into contact with wild birds or their environment (mud, water, ground, etc.) should be considered highly dangerous and should not have contact with poultry flocks.
  • Avoid contact with dead birds. Dead birds found on the farm should be disposed of in a way that does not risk contact with your poultry. Birds can be disposed of by bagging and placing the birds in the garbage. Avoid contact with your poultry and their environment until clothing and footwear are cleaned and changed.

If your flock is exhibiting any of the clinical signs of influenza or you believe they might have been exposed to birds with the disease, immediately call your veterinarian.

If you do not have a veterinarian, call the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory at 320-231-5170. Call the Minnesota Duty Officer if it is after hours or on the weekend at 1-800-422-0798.

If you see wild bird mortality, call the Department of Natural Resources at 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR(646-6367).­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Keep reading...

PIN tag example

PIN tag shortages

Allflex is currently experiencing production delays in some of its tags. Due to these supply shortages PIN tags, which are required by slaughter plants for shipping cull sows and boars, are on back order for 13 weeks or more.

PIN tags are not a Board of Animal Health requirement.

The Board accepts a variety of different forms of official I.D. for swine. Slaughter plants have established the PIN tag requirement, exclusively, for cull sows and boars to avoid deductions in prices paid. Producers are encouraged to discuss alternates to the PIN tag requirements with slaughter plants until the supply shortage can be corrected.

CWD endemic area update

The Board has expanded the endemic area for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the state again this year based on information from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on CWD positive wild deer harvested or found dead during the 2021 fall hunting season. From this data, the Board establishes the endemic area boundary 15 miles around all confirmed cases of CWD in the wild. The endemic area also includes all of Houston County as most of the county was within 15 miles of a confirmed case of CWD in the wild including a CWD positive wild deer harvested in Vernon County, Wisconsin on the border with Minnesota. The map linked below depicts the perimeter of the endemic area in Minnesota.

Map of Minnesota's CWD endemic areas

Beltrami County CWD Investigation Update

A farm in Kanabec County that supplied deer to the CWD positive farm in Beltrami County depopulated its entire herd late last year and has received CWD results. A total of 110 animals from the Kanabec County herd were tested for CWD and no CWD was detected in tissues from these animals. The Board is verifying the herd inventory and plans to release the quarantine in the coming weeks because no CWD was detected in the herd and no deer remain on site.

2022 veterinary clinic updates

What's new at your clinic this year? We need to know to keep our database up to date and accurate. Have you had any of the following happen recently?

  • New veterinarians at your clinic?
  • New location?
  • New email addresses for the clinic or veterinarians?
  • New clinic website?

Let us know by completing our online veterinary clinic update form. If you lose the link to the form you can always find it on our homepage under the "Veterinarians" tab or by searching our site for "Veterinary Clinic Update."

Upcoming Board Meeting February 1

The Board's first quarterly meeting of 2022 will be held on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. The current agenda is outlined below and is also posted on our website.

The meeting will be available remotely on Microsoft Teams.


Start time 9:30 a.m.

Dean Compart
Call meeting to order
Notice of Meeting
Approval of Minutes from September 15, 2021 
Approval of Minutes from December 8, 2021
Approval of Agenda

Beth Thompson
Board of Animal Health Update

Michelle Medina
Legislative Update

Stephan Schaefbauer
USDA Update

Laura Molgaard
College of Veterinary Medicine Update

Tracy Nichols
Genetics and Farmed Cervid CWD Resistance

Jerry Torrison
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Update

Linda Glaser, Annie Balghiti
Farmed Cervid Program Update

Michelle Carstensen
DNR/CWD in the Wild Update

Courtney Wheeler
Update on Task Force on Zoonotic Disease and Traceability in Companion Animals

Dale Lauer
Poultry Update

Joni Scheftel

*Agenda subject to change prior to meeting.