VetWatch - December 2016
This edition of VetWatch highlights a number of important animal health programs in which Agriculture Victoria staff are involved; livestock traceability and surveillance for both exotic and important endemic diseases, are core work for our teams.
We are only a few weeks away from 1 January 2017, at which time all sheep and goats born after this date in Victoria, will require an electronic identification tag, linked to the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), before they are dispatched to a saleyard, abattoir or another property. Details of a transition package to support the introduction of electronic identification technology across the supply chain and the standards for electronic identification and NLIS in sheep, have been announced. I encourage you to become familiar with the details of this important Victorian initiative so that you can support your clients through the transition, promote the traceability benefits that will accrue during a disease outbreak or food safety emergency, and for some producers, help them capitalise on the opportunities to further improve their production systems that are provided by storage of individual animal data.
Hendra disease has never been diagnosed in Victoria but it is a serious zoonotic disease; of the seven human cases diagnosed, four have died. The recent legal charges brought against three private veterinary practitioners by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland have again highlighted the need for veterinarians to consider Hendra disease when examining sick horses and the responsibility of vets to protect themselves, their staff and their clients from contracting Hendra virus infection, when dealing with potentially infected horses.
Still on surveillance, I would like to remind you that if you see sheep or cattle with neurological signs you should consider submitting their brains to the National Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) Surveillance Project. Each year, Australia tests a statistically valid number of sheep and cattle that are displaying neurological with signs clinically consistent with scrapie or bovine spongiform encephalopathy respectively, to exclude TSEs as the cause and enhance market confidence that Australian animals and animal products are free from these conditions. Payments for submission (including producer incentive, vet fee rebate, sample collection and documentation, as well as freight ), TSE laboratory tests and other laboratory tests to investigate cases of neurological disease in cattle and sheep that fit the project guidelines, are available.
Thank you to those who responded to the survey on the level of engagement of vets in Victoria with bird species and the level of collaboration between these vets and Agriculture Victoria. On the basis of your comments we are looking at ways we can help to improve your knowledge and confidence in managing bird diseases. We are also considering the services offered by Agriculture Victoria to the veterinary community who work with avian species and will be working to enhance collaboration and ensure regular exchange of high quality information. As always, your feedback is welcome anytime – just email Karen Moore (Senior Surveillance Officer).
Remember - Useful information that is specifically tailored for Victorian veterinary practitioners is available at VetSource
Finally, with the holiday period fast approaching, may I take the opportunity to wish you and yours and happy and peaceful Christmas.
I hope you enjoy this edition of VetWatch.
Statistics: Around the State
Summary of all animal disease investigations recorded by Agriculture Victoria from 1 July 2016 to 30 November 2016, inclusive
To have a closer look at the disease investigations undertaken in your region, by species, between July 2016 and November 2016, please click on the link below:
Click on the following links to read the full articles:
On 24 August 2016, the Minister for Agriculture announced the introduction of mandatory electronic identification of sheep and goats in Victoria, commencing from 1 January 2017. Electronic ear tags are already required for cattle.
Spring Racing carnival has recently ended and with the current Queensland inquiry into Hendra vaccination, it is a good time to remind ourselves of the risks and actions to take when dealing with a suspect case of Hendra.
To enhance market confidence that Australian animals and animal products are free from Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), Victoria, along with other states and territories participates in the NTSESP.
In the September edition of VetWatch, a link was provided to an online survey designed to better understand the frequency of engagement of vets in Victoria with bird species, including domestic poultry. We also aimed to understand the level of collaboration between these vets and Agriculture Victoria and identify tools for improvements.
The long, wet spring this year has caused problems for sheep farmers in Northern Victoria. Plentiful rain has resulted in excellent pasture growth and wet soggy pastures.
AgriBio - Pathology Case Studies
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You are Victoria's eyes and ears
Victoria's animal health surveillence programs are vital to protecting our livestock industries from the impacts of serious, exotic or new emerging diseases.
As a veteriniarian you can play a key rols in animal disease surveillance and can participate in a range of programs
Subsidies are available to veternarians who report and investigate significant disease events.
To become involved or for information on subsidies visit www.vic.gov.au/vet-source