Tuesday, 24 August 2010

PRESS RELEASE Let's hope England follow suit

A copy of the consultation paper can be found here.

Welsh Assembly Government consults on TB in camelids, goats and deer

As part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Bovine TB Eradication programme, the Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones has launched a consultation on a draft legislative order to control TB in camelids, goats and deer.
For the purposes of the draft legislation, camelids are defined as alpacas, guanacos, llamas and vicunas.
Elin Jones said:
“Camelids, goats and deer as well as cattle and badgers are susceptible to catching and spreading TB. Our aim is to eradicate Bovine TB from Wales and we are committed to tackling all sources of infection, in both domesticated animals and wildlife, to do that.
“This is why we have developed a strategy for dealing with camelids, goats and deer.
”We have taken decisive action to tackle the disease in cattle, through increased testing, stricter controls on cattle movements, tightening up of policies and a zero tolerance approach to enforcement and promoting better biosecurity.
“This draft order aims to put the prevention and management of incidents of Bovine TB in camelids, goats and deer on a similar footing to the arrangements already in place for cattle. It would introduce controls to prevent the spread of disease and for compensation when these animals are slaughtered due to Bovine TB.
“However, following a consultation in 2008 we concluded that there was no need to introduce a regular Bovine TB testing regime or a requirement for TB Pre-Movement Testing for camelids, goats or deer.”
The Welsh Assembly Government introduced legislation in 2008 that created specific powers for inspectors to enter land and to obtain a warrant for the purposes of testing non-bovine animals for disease.
In 2009 a Welsh Assembly Government consultation on camelids resulted in a much greater understanding of the issues TB raises for camelid keepers. Since then Welsh Assembly Government officials have also engaged with stakeholders in the goat and deer industry in Wales in order to come up with proposals that it is hoped will be welcomed as a positive step forward in tackling the disease in these animals.
The Minister added:
“Bovine TB advances quickly in infected camelids. They show very little in the way of physical signs before it reaches an advanced stage and it causes a painful death. This is distressing for owners and for the animal. Bovine TB is a horrible disease, which is why we are committed to eradicating it from Wales.”
The consultation on the draft order runs for 12 weeks. The consultation document and information on how to respond is available on the Welsh Assembly Government website at www.wales.gov.uk/bovinetb

For more information, please call 0800 528 3300
For further information about the Bovine TB eradication programme, including the Bovine TB Eradication Programme Annual Report 2009 – 2010, visit the Welsh Assembly Government website: www.wales.gov.uk/bovinetb

Friday, 20 August 2010

TB Update August 2010

Here is the latest update on TB from Dianne Summers.

Firstly it would be a total injustice if I didn’t start this update with a huge thank you to Mike Birch who sadly resigned from the BAS Board in early August... To say Mike Birch was pro active on the TB front would be an understatement and we have so much to thank him for. I cannot tell you the number of hours Mike dedicated to the issue and he certainly was the driving force behind the TB Awareness meetings and keeping the members informed in his Chairman’s reports in the BAS magazine. He kept in constant contact with me and was always at the end of the phone if we needed help. He always wanted to be kept up to date on the data we gather from the Support group and prior to every Board meeting he asked me for an update on the current losses number of herds under restriction etc– which I always gave him. Mike and I worked closely together on the TB issue and that contact certainly helped me because believe it or not although I run the support group I too need support from time to time and he always managed to make me smile on days when things got very tough. So Mike a huge thank you from me and the TB Support Group and we wish you well. You will be missed. I hope whoever takes your place will follow your example of what a Chair should be and the Board continue to be pro-active on the Tb front for all our sakes.

Current Figures

According to DEFRA as of August 15th 2010 there are now currently approximately 35 herds under Tb movement restrictions and several others awaiting confirmation by culture. This figure as you know can change on a weekly basis as new herds come under restriction and others come out of restriction. In July 2009 only 11 herds were under restriction so in one year the figure has trebled. If this pattern continues potentially 100 herds could be under restriction this time next year.

In the TB Support Group we have a further 14 herds (myself included) that have been under restriction and are now clear. Therefore a minimum of 49 herds have been affected. Sadly as one of my group come out of restriction another comes on. Those in touch with the TB Support group have suffered 155 losses between 1st Jan 2010 and 1st August 2010 so our small group has already exceeded the number of losses for last year. Please understand not all herds under restriction are in touch with the support group - therefore I have no idea of the total losses from the other herds.

The problem isn’t going away nor is it getting better. Herds have been affected not only by direct local wildlife but by way of purchase or agisted mating and sadly lots of alpacas on long term agistment have fallen to TB. When Tb is confirmed in a herd – every animal on that farm at the time no matter who owns it or whether it is on a short term stay is put under restriction and will be included in the testing process. Think long and hard before you send your animals away for any reason-even short term.

If you are misfortunate to come down to Tb you must notify all your forward and back contacts as soon as you know you have Tb in your herd. You must be honest with Animal Health when they contact you and they ask for your movement records. Sadly some breeders are not doing this and Animal Health are finding breakdowns linked by strain type to herds where Tb was confirmed and the breeder hadn’t told Animal health nor the contacts. This is unacceptable. Defra and Animal health hands are tied – they have no legal powers to insist on movement records they are totally reliant on the honesty of the herd owners. Failure to not comply with Animal Health is a breach of the BAS Code of Conduct section 5 which clearly states. “Owners should fully co-operate with Animal Health and facilitate testing and provide accurate movement records when requested”.

The problem is:

In the case of at least one commercial herd with a serious bTB problem, by not giving their full movement records to Animal Health and also not contacting their clients who had purchased from them or had agisted matings etc., Animal Health wasn’t able to contact these people and offer testing. The herds also remained totally unaware that they had brought TB into their herds until they suffered their first loss, and were therefore unable to take the necessary measures on their own farms to minimise the spread. These people then sadly end up in the TB Support Group. There are likely to be others who have yet to find they have purchased the problem with their new herd, purchase or matings.

Owing to the scale of this, it is inevitable that this is going to come out in the public domain and sadly as always the decent honest and responsible herds that are under restriction are going to be tarred with the same brush as those that are not. The BAS board have been notified of this last weekend, and are aware it is happening and who is doing it. If you are concerned please contact the Directors of B.A.S. There email addresses and phone numbers are on the BAS website.

I am pleased to say that the breeder in question is NOT a member of the TB Support Group.

Lastly we are developing a website (http://www.alpacatb.com) dedicated to Tb in Camelids which hopefully will be up and running soon. The site will feature everything you need to know on the subject and will become a one stop shop so to speak for up to date Tb information and advice.

If you are under restriction please contact either myself Dianne Summers on summersdianne@yahoo.com 01209 822422 or Dr Gina Bromage on ginabromage@googlemail.com your name or County will never be released not even to the other members of the Support Group without your permission.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Treatment when skin testing

Dianne Summers of the Camelid TB Support group has asked us to post this article.

When I did my very first skin test on my herd my AHO and my vet told me not to use any treamtent on my herd between the skin test and reading date but it appears from the communication with my fellow members of the Tb Support group that not everyone is made aware of this.

Anyway, below are 2 statements from leading industry specialists experienced in Tb testing, one of them is a retired DEFRA DVM..

1. The tuberculin test takes 72 hours to work. During that time it is inadvisable to treat the animal with anything that could affect the test - this applies to any species being tested, because:
Substances that reduce inflammation may cause a positive reaction to be missed (the test produces an inflammatory response, which is then measured).
Substances that produce inflammation at the injection sites could cause a false positive reaction - and many anthelmintics etc are injected near these.
There is also the possibility that other drugs might interfere and enhance or reduce the reaction.

This applies to all species where the test is used, including goats.

It is important that we get the correct result. With camelids it is particularly important not to miss positives as many of the animals that are positive to the test are badly infected - as you know.

2. I have no first hand information as to whether goat owners were specifically told not to treat goats in between injection of PPD and reading the test. However, as a general rule we would be under instruction to avoid treatment during that time unless it was an emergency. Corticosteroids, as being immunosuppressant, would be top of the list to avoid, but NSAIDs should have no immunosuppressive effect. However, if an animal had had a
serious illness "During" testing welfare considerations would demand that treatment took place. It would then be up for discussion as to what the degree of risk was that treatment might have interfered with the test, and therefore whether any retesting was appropriate under the individual circumstances.

So there you have it - please make sure you ask your vet or AHO if you need to treat during the test - as it may affect your reading. I was told I wasn't allowed to do any treatment. I was also told to ask my vet if I needed to do any treatment 2 weeks prior to my test date as this could also affect the test. It is better to be safe than sorry. The last thing we need is a false reading. We may get too many false negatives as it is.

I hope you found this useful.

Dianne Summers
01209 822422

Monday, 16 August 2010

Current TB testing intervals for cattle

DEFRA has released the latest map of the parish testing intervals for TB in cattle. You can download it here.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Side effects following the skin test

Dianne Summers of the TB Support Group has asked us to post the following video and message.

I urge everyone to watch the attached video that is involved in TB Skin testing on camelids.

If you know of anyone who isn’t in the TB Support Group who is going through herd testing or considering having the skin test done privately please forward them this document and video

If you know of any vets who are involved with TB testing in camelids please forward it to them.

I have also sent it to B.A.S. ,B.C.L., B.L.S. and B.V.C.S. and hope they put it on their respective websites.

In March this year I added a question on the monthly data forms asking if any of the group had alpacas or llamas which suffered any side effects following the skin test. I was astonished with the response and at how many had witnessed the same experience that I had. .

I have just received the attached video sent to us by a member of the group that shows the dramatic reaction of one alpaca following her skin test jabs in Dec 09.
Please note when you watch the video the owner means the skin test jab when he states injection.

1. From those in touch with the Camelid TB Support Group we have 22 alpacas which suffered this same dramatic reaction. Remember not all herds under restriction are in touch with us so I strongly believe there may be many more that have experienced this.

2. Prior to the skin test jab ALL 22 had no outward signs or symptoms

3. Within hours of the test 22 suffered this dramatic reaction – not all were necessarily immediately after but all of them were the same day as the test.

4. From this 22 – 4 died or were euthanized before the skin test was read (within 72 hours)
The remaining 18 including the alpaca in the video appeared to fully recover the next day.
These remaining 18 then went on to either fail a blood test – or later were euthanized
due to showing clinical signs or died.

5. All 22 had Tb lesions on Post mortem examination only 3 of the 22 failed the skin test.
Therefore in these cases this side effect is more accurate than the skin test result itself. It is therefore extremely important.

6. Before you jump to the wrong conclusion and think the skin test jab has given these animals Tb, this is not the case. ALL these alpacas were found on post mortem to have advanced Tb lesions and for some unknown reason had experienced this dramatic reaction. Many leading vets have already suggested anaphylactic shock.

7. Those owners that carried out the Chembio Rapid Stat Pak test or Gamma test within 10 – 30 days following the skin test - the blood tests picked up ALL the animals that had this dramatic reaction. Owners who didn’t have blood test done had to endure either the alpaca dying or developing severe clinical signs which required euthanasia on welfare grounds..

Therefore, please monitor your herd very closely following the skin test procedure. If you hadn’t checked them until the next day you could have easily missed the fact that one or more of your herd had suffered this side effect because most of them appear to have fully recovered the next day.

If you experience this in your herd I strongly recommend you remove them from the rest of the group together with a companion to an isolation paddock or into your watch group with no nose to nose contact with your remaining herd or neighbouring livestock and do not return to your herd.

I urge all Vets or AHos who are conducting TB skin testing in camelids to make the owners aware of this side effect and strongly advise the owner to monitor the herd very closely.

I had one alpaca have this side effect on my first skin test in Jan 2009 and again on the next skin test 90 days later – and both times fully recovered by the next day. He then failed the Chembio Rapid following the second round of skin tests. Both my vet and AHO were unaware of any side effects following the skin test and they both thought it must be stress. At the time having only lost one alpaca before this to TB I didn’t make any connection nor was I aware of any other alpaca owner who had experienced this.

If I had received this email back in January 2009 not only would I have understood why my alpaca had this reaction but I would have certainly adopted a totally different approach. I hope this helps you do the same. It’s a classic example of “If I knew then what I know now”

Once again – the gathering of data such as this is vital and it is helping others make important decisions and we have to thank the people in the Tb Support group who religiously send in their monthly data to us – and to the member of the group who sent us this video.

For those reading this and not in touch with the Tb Support Group who have had camelids or their clients camelids with the same experience or perhaps other side effects please contact either myself or Dr Gina Bromage and let us know. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence. We also welcome input and comments from industry professionals.

We are hoping to have this ‘Side Effect’ data written up as a paper for wider circulation in the veterinary press.

Dianne Summers summersdianne@yahoo.com 01209 822422
Gina Bromage MA, Vet MB, DVM, MRCVS ginabromage@googlemail.com
Camelid TB Support Group

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Diagnostic Tests Available at VLA

Listed here are a list of common diseases that alpacas can contract, including bTB. It also shows the importance of having all deaths Post Mortemed, including aborted cria.

All tests can be arranged via your own vet.