VetWatch - March 2017
Welcome to Vet Watch
March 2017 Edition
This edition of VetWatch highlights the work of Agriculture Victoria staff in identifying and managing real exotic and important endemic diseases events.
In the past few months we have been involved with the detection and management of an anthrax outbreak in the north of the state, investigation of a new disease that has killed racing pigeons, botulism in wild ducks (a story for another day), the white spot disease outbreak in prawns in Queensland as well as surveillance for arbovirus diseases in horses and upper alimentary ulcerative syndrome (UAUS) in dairy calves.
Anthrax is a feared disease that has been described through much of human history. A diagnosis is still capable of causing anxiety amongst the general public and trade disruption internationally. In Victoria, we have seen sporadic outbreaks since the late 1800's with very large outbreaks around the Tatura district in 1997 and 2007. The current outbreak is unusual for Victoria in that it involves sheep but it is being managed through the usual response protocols of vaccination of susceptible species, careful carcass disposal and decontamination of contaminated sites.
Just before Christmas pigeon fanciers advised us of an outbreak of an interesting, apparently new, disease that presents with vomiting, green diarrhoea and high mortality; all signs similar to the serious emergency diseases of avian influenza, Newcastle disease and pigeon paramyxovirus (PPMV1). Similar recent outbreaks have been reported in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia. Investigations are continuing but the isolation of a rotavirus through collaboration between Agribio (part of Agriculture Victoria), the Australian Animal Health Laboratory and the University of Melbourne marks an important breakthrough in the investigation and a big step towards developing management and other strategies including perhaps vaccination, to combat the condition.
Agriculture Victoria staff have also been involved in combatting the outbreak of white spot disease in prawns in Queensland through being part of response teams in Queensland (activity which is rewarding from an individual's perspective as well as being gratefully received by the Queensland authorities who are working hard to control the disease) and /or through working within Victoria on reviewing our current policies and advice to the small prawn industry in this State.
All of these recent events highlight the need to think - "call the hotline –1800 675 888" whenever you suspect an emergency animal disease event in Victoria. I urge you to put this number in your phone and do not hesitate to use it if you suspect an emergency or exotic animal disease.
Finally, a reminder - Useful information that is specifically tailored for Victorian veterinary practitioners is available at VetSource.
I hope you enjoy this edition of VetWatch.
Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO)
Statistics: Around the State
Over three hundred disease investigations were recorded by Agriculture Victoria from 1 December 2016 to 28 February 2017, inclusive. Read more for a summary of the investigations.
To have a closer look at the disease investigations undertaken in your region, by species, between December 2016 and February 2017, please click on the links below:
Anthrax confirmed in a Victorian sheep
Equine arbovirus project – Update
In response to flooding across Victoria in 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have provided funding for the investigation of clinical signs typical of mosquito-borne arboviral infection in Victorian horses.
Upper Alimentary Ulcerative Syndrome (UAUS) Research Project - Update
In October of last year, Agriculture Victoria commenced a research project evaluating the prevalence of and risk factors for this new syndrome.
Racing pigeon mortality in Victoria
A disease affecting racing pigeons in Victoria was first reported in late December 2016.
Oxytetracycline hydrochloride for the control of European foulbrood in honey bees
Only the four products are currently registered for the treatment of European foulbrood (Melissococcus plutonius) in honey bees.
District Veterinary Officer Case Studies - Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) excluded in a grey-headed flying fox in east Gippsland
Author: Jo Cunningham , DVO Bairnsdale
In November last year a male grey headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) presented to an East Gippsland wildlife shelter with hemiparesis.
AgriBio – Pathology Case Studies
AgriBio Pathology Rounds with a real-time discussion of case studies, including evaluation of histopathological slides, have recommenced. Interactive webcast sessions are held on Wednesday at 3 pm and run for 30-45 minutes. History, gross findings, histopathology and other relevant lab data are presented for 3-4 diagnostic cases.
Live broadcast details:
Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Use your microphone and speakers (VOIP) for audio. You'll sound best with a headset.
Instructions for playback: use Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 (not Google Chrome) and choose HD quality from settings at the bottom right of the video.
Across the Nation and Around the World..
Follow the link above for the latest disease investigation summaries from Australia and around the globe.
You are Victoria's eyes and ears
Victoria's animal health surveillance programs are vital to protecting our livestock industries from the impacts of serious, exotic or new emerging diseases.
As a veterinarian you can play a key roles in animal disease surveillance and can participate in a range of programs
Subsidies are available to veterinarians who report and investigate significant disease events.
To become involved or for information on subsidies visit www.vic.gov.au/vet-source