From Dr. Bob Ehlenfeldt, Wisconsin State Veterinarian:
You probably noticed that isn't my picture there on the left. At least I hope you noticed.
Several months ago, USDA discontinued efforts to implement NAIS (National Animal Identification System). Instead, the feds are moving to something they call "traceability" that basically will require states to meet minimal standards for interstate movement identification and tracing livestock that cross their borders. The cow in this photo, with three tags in the right ear and two in the left, represents some of the problems Wisconsin, Ohio and Minnesota faced recently when we tried to trace cattle exposed to TB.
This cow was shipped from a herd in Ohio later found to be infected with TB. Over 230 cows from that herd ended up in Wisconsin, and 170 of them had official ear tags from other states along with their Ohio tags. Good luck figuring out the actual herd of origin on any of these cattle, much less the actual index TB herd.
How does this happen? Well, it's easier (and not illegal, for now) to just put in a new official silver ID than to go to the trouble of reading an official tag that's already there. We could solve this problem with RFID - radio frequency ID. RFID buttons are fast to read, always legible, and easy to upload to electronic forms.
Oh yeah, I mentioned the Minnesota connection. Minnesota is the source of the photo. Our friends there provided it, since some of the Ohio animals stopped briefly in Wisconsin for sorting prior to movement to Minnesota -- getting a new CVI and a brand new Wisconsin official silver ID tag added to their left ears. Traceability? Really?
By the way, those 233 cows that came from Ohio went to four Wisconsin herds. About the same time that we got word that Ohio had traced them to Wisconsin, we also learned that we had two more herds that had received cattle from a TB-infected herd in Texas. We'd already tested two large Wisconsin herds last year that had received cattle from that Texas herd. We've quarantined all six herds and are working with the owners on indemnification and testing. It's a long, expensive process.
Dog seller/breeder rules open for comment
Public hearings begin Monday, Sept. 20, on regulations that lay out standards for facilities and animal care under Wisconsin Act 90, the law that will require licensing for many dog breeders, sellers, and shelters beginning next June.
Essentially, the proposed standards would require:
●Clean, adequate space that protects dogs, with fresh air and light
●Adequate, clean food and water
●Proper veterinary care
●Socialization to other dogs and to people
The proposal includes flexibility for the differing needs of different breeds of dogs. You can read the entire proposal in non-legalese here. If you'd like to attend one of the hearings, here is the schedule:
Madison - Monday, Sept. 20, 5-7 p.m., State Agriculture Building, 2811 Agriculture Drive, Room 106 (map)
Appleton - Thursday, Sept. 23, 2-4 p.m., Fox Valley Technical College, 1825 N. Bluemound Drive, Room E130 A & B (map)Eau Claire - Monday, Sept. 27, 6-8 p.m., The Plaza Hotel and Suites, 1202 West Clairemont Ave. (map)Wausau - Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2-4 p.m., Marathon County Public Library, 300 N. First St., Wausau Room (map)Milwaukee - Thursday, Sept. 30, 6-8 p.m., Havenwoods State Forest, 6141 N. Hopkins St., auditorium (map) There are several ways to comment other than by attending a hearing:
ATTN Melissa Mace
PO Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911
The deadline for comments is 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8. For more information about Act 90, visit us online.
Mosquitoes still a threat
At this writing, Wisconsin no longer feels like it's drifted south toward the Equator. Still, until we get a killing frost, we can expect mosquito season to continue. That means Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus remain threats. In fact, late summer and fall are often when those two arboviruses appear and peak.
Although we have not had EEE reported so far this year in Wisconsin, 12 other states have reported cases - including the northern states of New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts and Michigan. You might remember that Wisconsin experienced a widespread EEE outbreak in 2001 that killed at least 42 horses, and we've had sporadic cases since then. West Nile virus is no longer reportable, so numbers there are not reliable. Veterinarians must report EEE within 24 hours of finding evidence. Contact numbers are online. Keep calling until you talk to a state or federal veterinarian; don't leave a message except with the Wisconsin Emergency Management duty officer.
Veterinarians and owners need to be aware of the clinical signs of both diseases: fever, depression, loss of appetite, central nervous system disorders, aggression and excitability, sensitivity to light and sound. Mortality from EEE ranges up to 90 percent, and some horses may show no signs before death.
Birds are the reservoirs for both viruses. The risk rises with rising mosquito populations. Because the reservoirs are spread so widely through the country, eradication of either disease is unlikely. Removing standing water and taking other measures to reduce horses' exposure to mosquitoes helps, but cannot eliminate the threat. Both diseases are easily preventable with vaccination. Veterinarians should talk with their equine clients about initial vaccination or boosters, and encourage them to make these vaccinations part of their annual spring routine.
Read more about EEE, West Nile virus, and current surveillance data for both diseases.
Newcastle disease in Door County
We received notice in late August from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison that double-crested cormorants on Pilot and Spider islands off the tip of the Door County peninsula. Although a non-pathogenic form of the viral disease is common in cormorants, this was a pathogenic form, sometimes called exotic Newcastle. However, the birds also tested positive for botulism, so it's unclear whether the Newcastle was the cause of death.
Regardless, because of the risk of transmission to domestic poultry as cormorants migrate along the Lake Michigan shoreline, we notified almost 4,000 flock owners in the eastern third of the state to be on the watch for clinical signs. Although our premises registration database does not track size of flocks, that high number suggests that there are a lot of small flock owners out there. Small flocks are more likely to be kept outdoors, with access to wild birds, and very possibly with less attention to biosecurity.
Clinical signs of Newcastle include respiratory problems such as sneezing, gasping, coughing and nasal discharge; diarrhea; low energy and loss of appetite; drop in egg production or misshapen and soft-shelled eggs; nervous system impairment such as trembling, drooping wings, circling, and twisting or paralysis of the head and neck; swelling around the head; and purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs.
Exotic Newcastle disease is a 24-hour reportable disease.
Evamist warning from FDA
Evamist, a hormone treatment prescribed to reduce hot flashes in women, could affect pets, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.
Evamist contains estradiol, an estrogen hormone, and is applied as a skin spray on the inside of the forearm. A woman who has applied the hormone and then handled a pet could expose the pet. Exposed pets may show signs such as mammary/nipple enlargement and vulvar swelling. Small pets may be especially sensitive to exposure. Pets should not be allowed to lick or touch the arm where Evamist is sprayed. If direct contact cannot be avoided, the FDA recommends wearing long sleeves.
Children may also be harmed by exposure.
The FDA reports that it is unknown whether other similar estrogen products cause similar effects. You can report effects at MedWatch or by calling 800-332-1088. For more information, check the FDA website.
Humane officer training We still have space in this year's humane officer training course, running Oct. 4-8 in Madison. It's required for anyone appointed to a humane officer post in the past year, but also recommended for police officers and sheriff's deputies and is open to anyone. Cost is $500. Read more.
World Dairy Expo This is a must-go expo for anyone serious about dairy cattle. It runs Sept. 28-Oct. 2 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Details here.