About emergency animal diseases

Emergency animal diseases (EADs) have the potential to cause devastating impacts to the livestock industries of Victoria with serious economic and social implications along with affecting animal, human and environmental health. EADs can affect production animals such as cattle, sheep, horses and poultry, companion pets such as dogs and cats and wildlife species such as bats.

An outbreak of an EAD in Victoria could result in animal deaths, production losses and trade restrictions. Victoria is fortunate to be free of most of the serious diseases that affect animals in other parts of the world.

Under the Australian EAD Response Agreement (EADRA), listed EADs must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • known disease that does not occur in Australia, and for which it is considered to be in the national interest for the country to be free (exotic disease)
  • a variation of an established (endemic) disease which, if it became widespread here, would have a national impact
  • a serious infectious disease of unknown or uncertain cause, which may be an entirely new disease
  • a known established disease, but is occurring in such a severe outbreak form, that an emergency response is required to ensure that there is neither a large-scale epidemic of national significance or serious loss of market access

Ongoing surveillance and reporting of sick animals is important to ensure the early detection of animal diseases that might impact on animal health/welfare, trade, regional or national productivity, public health and/or biodiversity.

Early detection and reporting of all suspect EADs is essential in preventing the establishment and spread of disease. All suspected EADs must be reported immediately by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

As the control agency for biosecurity emergencies, Agriculture Victoria manages emergency animal disease outbreaks within Victoria and works with national partners from industry and government through the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA).

What’s the difference between an emergency animal disease and notifiable disease?

All EADs are notifiable but not all notifiable diseases are classified as EADs.

Some diseases do not meet the national criteria as described in EADRA (see above) however they are important to report because the disease:

  • is a public health risk
  • appears similar to other more serious exotic diseases, and/or
  • requires ongoing monitoring in Victoria.

Notifiable diseases are defined under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994, and the obligations of livestock owners, vets, laboratories and others are outlined in the Act and its associated regulations and orders.

EADs must be reported immediately upon suspicion however reporting time frames ranging from 12hours to 7days apply to other notifiable diseases.

Go to notifiable diseases to see the list of notifiable diseases in Victoria and the reporting requirements and timeframes.

Symptoms that could indicate an emergency animal disease

  • High rate of death or sickness in animals
  • Sudden death
  • Drop in production of milk yield or egg production
  • Rapid spread of disease through a flock or herd
  • Blisters, erosions or ulcers in their mouth, on or around the muzzle, feet, udder or teats
  • Excessive nasal discharge or salivation
  • Unusual nervous signs such as tremors, uncharacteristic aggression or paralysis.
  • Any unusual disease symptoms
  • Disease affects multiple species

Emergency animal diseases

EADs include both exotic diseases and some non-exotic diseases which have detrimental consequences.

More information

Find out more about emergency animal diseases:

Emergency Animal Disease Hotline

Report any unusual signs or suspected cases of emergency animal disease immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888. Early reporting increases the chance of effective control and eradication.

Page last updated: 02 May 2024