Fourth Quarter 2019
(Volume 4)  
Quarterly Update- Arkansas State Veterinarian's Office
Randolph Chick, DVM (501) 823-1733
RFID Ear Tags – a reality
Effective January 1, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will no longer provide approved cattle ear tags free of charge. The State of Arkansas has warehoused enough metal NUES tags to service the anticipated state cattle industry demands for the calendar year 2020 at no fee.
This aspect of the animal identification policy is being established in anticipation of coming changes in the overall animal identification effort in the USA. Over the next three years, conversion of the identification process to an electronic based system will be implemented. Radio-frequency identification devices (RFID) will be the required format for future programs. Also known as "840 tags" (the first three numbers on the tag), the approved devices are coded with electronically retrieved information, similar to how microchips are used to identify pets. The RFID/840 tags are to be applied between the two cartilage "ribs" and in the middle of the animal's LEFT ear. The right ear of the animal should be reserved for application of any official tattoos or vaccine tags, such as calfhood vaccination of heifers for brucellosis.

As you might imagine, the RFD tags are costly to manufacture and therefore will be supplied at a cost. The charge per ear tag has yet to be determined, but will likely run close to $2 per animal. Beginning January 1, 2021, use of RFID tagging technology will be required for all animals newly identified by
veterinarians and producers or tagged at livestock auctions. Discussions have started on how to best administrate the program and collect necessary fees.

Getting official RFID ear tags - a premise identification number (PIN) is required to purchase official ID tags. USDA has a new interactive map that helps direct producers to state-specific resources for obtaining a PIN: www.aphis.usda.gov/aphls/ourfocus/animalhealth/traceability/state-'pin/
States will approve and allocate tag assignments, managing the process through the current ordering infrastructure. Accredited veterinarians may continue to inventory and apply official ID tags but must adhere to present and any additional record keeping requirements. The veterinarian's facility will be the base address for PIN assignment of any "840" tags sold and applied by that accredited veterinarian.

USDA will maintain and post a list of approved manufacturers. After PIN assignment and registration, accredited veterinarians or producers may purchase approved tags directly from tag manufacturers or retailers.

For more Information or additional RFID questions, please email: traceability@aphis.usda.gov

Biosecurity Steps that Work
By Wesley Lyons, Pipestone Veterinary Services in National Hog Farmer, August 22, 2019

Biosecurity is a mindset. It must be integral, and it must be done with integrity. It must be easy enough to follow that breaking the rules seems ludicrous.

Fall is the time when us pig veterinarians start getting nervous to answer phone calls from our farmers. The shorter days mean different things for veterinarians and farmers, but it's an equally busy time of year. For farmers, autumn means harvesting the crops and spreading manure. For veterinarians, it's an awful-tasting pumpkin spice latte full of PRRS virus, PED virus and others including influenza.

 We commonly refer to September as the beginning of PRRS and flu season, but viruses (and bacteria) alike prefer colder weather and wet conditions. The colder seasons also pose an interesting paradox of increased disease pressure with decreased time actually looking at the pigs. Every vet has a name for this condition, but I refer to it as corn harvesting disease. With more time spent in the fields, pigs still receive daily care, feed, water and observations, but attention to detail can slip. When all of this is combined with the looming threat of foreign animal disease, now is the time to review some basic biosecurity steps that work.

 If you ask four swine veterinarians for their definitions of biosecurity, you'll likely get a minimum of five different answers. They'll all boil down to a common thread, but biosecurity, like other concepts left up to veterinarians, can get incredibly complex and confusing. For reference, my favorite nerdy explanation of the term further breaks it down into three practices: biomanagement, biocontainment and bioexclusion, but I digress.

Scrapie                                                                                                                                            The National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP) is a cooperative government-industry program administered by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the various States to eradicate classical scrapie. [On March 25, 2019, APHIS updated its scrapie regulations and program standards through the publication of a Final Rule in the Federal Register and the Scrapie Program Standards , which included updating identification requirements for goats and certain recordkeeping requirements for sheep and goats, which will provide increased animal disease traceability]. Goats will now have the same identification and recordkeeping requirements as sheep (interstate commerce).
Official identification is now required for all sexually-intact sheep and goats of any age and for castrated sheep and goats 18 months of age or older.

An ICVI is required for sexually intact sheep or goats of any age and 18 month old or older wethers that will cross a state line unless the animal is moving with a group/lot identification number and an owner/hauler statement and are in slaughter channels.
Veterinarians, producers and others that apply official identification such as ear tags must keep records for 5 years. Records of the acquisition and disposition of sheep and goats are also required and must be kept for 5 years after the animal is sold or otherwise disposed. Producer handouts and additional resources are available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/scrapie under the “ National Scrapie Eradication Program
Denise Apperson, DVM introducing the ‘wet-lab’ for the FAMS CE course “ The ABCs of Field Necropsy
This past September 20 th , the Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, in partnership with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, hosted a continuing education course (7 CE hours) for veterinarians from across the state. The ABCs of Field Necropsy , part of the Food Animal Medicine workshop series, focused on training and equipping veterinarians to collect post-mortem samples in the field for submission to the state diagnostic lab in Little Rock. In addition to classroom lectures, the workshop included a practicum on the necropsy floor using feral hogs provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Obtaining herd health information from post-mortem analysis ideally involves submission of an intact animal carcass to the lab as soon as possible after death; in cases that cannot be sent, a field necropsy may be the best practical means of getting useable samples to the lab. 
Samples submitted in expired sample containers - e ffective October 1, 2019, the Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (AVDL) will not certify results from sample submissions for official disease surveillance or regulatory test certification if delivered to the AVDL in an expired test container pouch, tube, or swab. Please make plans immediately to update your inventory of appropriate sample containers. The requested test will be performed, results issued to the submitter and an appropriate fee will be assessed. No signature or other official certification will be affixed to the results.  
Arkansas Rabies Updates – Arkansas Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Laura Rothfeldt
(e-mailed 8/28/2019) - A lady was walking her dog in a SW Arkansas town, when she spotted a bat still moving on the curb. She contacted the Police Department who came out, captured, and euthanized the bat for submission. Bat tested positive for rabies, and fortunately there were no known human or animal exposures.

A gentleman in rural NW Arkansas contacted the neighboring Municipal Animal Services to report a skunk acting sick. This man has trapped numerous skunks on his property, but usually released them at a nearby lake if acting normally. Animal Services picked up the skunk and took it to a local veterinary clinic for euthanizing and submission. Skunk tested positive for rabies, and there were no known human or animal exposures. At first we had trouble reaching the caller because the number on the submission form wouldn’t allow our calls to go through. Animal Control was able to get his address, and we were able to send a letter instructing him to contact us for investigation. He claimed he had no exposure to the skunk; however, the man owns several dogs also who were supposedly up to date on vaccinations but had no known exposure. Interestingly, our EHS said there was a report of a skunk “epidemic” in the surrounding area where this man lives, so I’m not sure if there is a true increase or increase in awareness, but either way it’s not good PR for the skunks!

A skunk that tested positive was submitted by a wildlife rehabilitator in Central Arkansas. We had trouble reaching this submitter on her phone with no voicemail setup; sent a letter to her house to call us and got the full story! A visitor to her home found the skunk in her front yard right before dark. The skunk was a baby and walked right up to her and bit her on the foot. Her adult daughter held the skunk, and apparently cuddled it according to the pictures they sent us (complete with a huge smile so definitely enjoying skunk cuddles) but said the skunk never bit her and she had no scratches or open wounds. They had six dogs kept in the fenced backyard that were not up to date on vaccinations, but were taken immediately to the vet the next day since she had also seen a skunk in her backyard the night before. She checked every single dog, could not find any bite marks or scratches or evidence of anything unusual, so there were no confirmed exposures. The next day they found a wildlife rehabilitator to take the baby skunk, who stated it was very weak, cold, and dehydrated, so she fed it cantaloupe and water, but it passed away after already having bitten her on the hand. So unfortunately, we recommended rabies PEP for 3 people in this case, who all learned a hard lesson about the risks of sick skunks.
Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV)
BVDV is one of several world-wide pestiviruses known to infect domestic and wild ruminants, camelids, and swine. For cattle producers the virus causes economic losses through decreased weight gains, decreased milk production, reproductive losses, and death. There are many BVD virus types (cytopathic and non-cytopathic). BVDV typing does not predict disease severity, and all the BVDV types are detected by current test methods. There are two categories of BVDV infection.

Transient (acute) infection (“TI”) is short term (weeks) and acquired after birth. TI cattle become immune and clear virus (>95% of BVD infections are TI). TI cattle are a minor source of virus spread in herd. Persistent (chronic) infection (“PI”) is a life- long infection acquired in utero. Thus, only fetal infection results in BVD-PI. PI cattle never become immune (<5% of BVD infection are PI). PI cattle are the major source of virus spread in a herd! Over 90% of BVD-PI calves are born from normal dams (no prior BVDV exposure).

What is BVD clinical disease? Most BVDV infection problems in cattle herds go unnoticed since 70-90% of BVD infections are subclinical (do not result in observable disease). When present, the most common disease caused by BVD virus infection in cattle herds is poor reproductive performance including, abortions, poor conception rates, stillbirths, and weak calves. In addition, BVD virus infection causes suppression of the bovine immune system resulting in increased susceptibility to other infectious diseases. In cow-calf herds the immunosuppressive effect of BVD is normally noticed as increased calf death loss (from scours and pneumonia) and poor weaning weight. In feedlot animals this is noticed primarily as increased death loss and incidence of respiratory disease (pneumonia). Lastly, BVD virus infection alone can cause diarrhea with oral ulcers and bleeding disorders.
How is BVDV transmitted? The main source of BVDV in cattle herds is BVD-PI animals. Virus in BVD-PI animals is shed in all body secretions including nasal discharge, saliva, tears, milk, feces, urine and semen. Transmission occurs via ingestion, inhalation, and fomites (non-living sources such as boots and vehicles). Some commons ways BVDV can enter cattle herds are: purchasing replacements at auction, purchase of pregnant cow/heifer with PI calf, introducing replacements or show stock without quarantine, failure to maintain BVD vaccination program or test replacements for BVD PI. Also watch out for contaminated semen or embryos and borrowed or escaped bulls.
Why test and remove BVD-PI animals from a cattle herd? Persistently infected (PI) cattle are the major source of BVD infection and disease in cattle because they shed huge amount of BVD virus throughout their lives. The major economic loss associated with BVD in cow-calf operations is loss of income due to loss of calves either before birth (abortion), at birth (weak calves) or between birth and weaning (BVD-induced immunosuppression make calves more susceptible to common calf disease such as pneumonia and scours). Thus removal of BVD-PI animals from a cattle herd should result in:
  • Improved reproductive performance in herd
  • Improve pre-weaning performance in herd (weaning weights and calves weaned)
  • Lower calf treatment costs and calf death loss
  • Provide more marketable cattle (BVD free certified herd status).
Can BVDV infection be eradicated from a herd with vaccination? No, BVD vaccination alone (with either modified-live or killed vaccines) cannot keep a cattle herd free of BVD-PI cattle nor completely control BVD infection according to the Academy of Veterinary Consultants and American Association of Bovine Practitioners. Both groups promote a three-pronged approach to BVD control, a combination of BVD-PI testing and removal, vaccination and biosecurity.
Can I identify BVD-PI without laboratory testing? Approximately 50% of BVD-PI calves are sick “poor-doers” that die before 1 year of age. However, the other 50% of BVD-PI cattle appear healthy as calves, grow normally and enter breeding herds or feedlots unnoticed. Despite looking healthy these subclinical BVD-PI animals still shed high levels of BVD virus and require laboratory testing to identify.
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is a hemorrhagic disease of white-tailed deer caused by an infection of a virus from the genus Orbivirus. It is an infectious, and sometimes fatal, virus that is characterized by extensive hemorrhages, and is found throughout the United States. It is important for deer hunters, farmers, farm property owners, and livestock owners to have knowledge about EHD because of the seriousness of this disease, its ability to cause large scale outbreaks in wild ruminants, and its ability to affect livestock and the production industry. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease has been found in some domestic ruminants and many species of deer including white-tailed deer, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. Seropositive black-tailed deer, fallow deer, red deer, wapiti, and roe deer have also been found, which essentially means that they were exposed to the disease at some time in the past, but may not be involved in transmission. Outbreaks of EHD have been reported in cattle although it is rare for them to develop disease or die. Sheep may develop clinical signs; however, this is also rare. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is often mistakenly called bluetongue; however, this is incorrect. Bluetongue virus is closely related to EHD, and has similar clinical signs, but it is a different disease. Bluetongue is a serious disease in cattle, as well as other ruminants, and can have a significant effect on international trade. Testing at animal health laboratories is necessary to distinguish between the viruses that cause bluetongue and EHD. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epizootic_hemorrhagic_disease

Other references:
Bluetongue. General Disease Information Sheets. OIE: World Organization for Animal Health. http://www.oie.int/en/animal-health-in-the-world/disease-information-summaries/
Howerth, E. W., D. E. Stallknecht, and P. D. Kirkland. 2001. Bluetongue, epizootic hemorrhagic disease, and other orbivirus-related diseases. Pages 77-97 in E. S. Williams and I. K. Barker, editors. Infectious diseases of wild mammals. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa,USA.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Wildlife Disease. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in white-tailed deer. http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-26647--,00.html .
Sleeman, J. M., J. E. Howell, W. M. Knox, and P. J. Stenger. 2009. Incidence of hemorrhagic disease in white-tailed deer is associated with winter and summer climatic conditions. EcoHealth 6: 11-15.
Dr. Susan Rollo, Texas state epidemiologist: "There is an effective anthrax vaccine available for use in susceptible livestock in high-risk areas. We encourage you to consult with your local veterinary practitioner….". Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution. The bacteria can surface, contaminating soil and grass, after periods of wet, cool weather followed by hot, dry conditions. During these conditions, animals ingest the anthrax bacteria when they consume contaminated grass and hay, or by inhaling the spores. Outbreaks will usually end when cooler weather arrives. Acute fever followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings are common signs of anthrax in livestock. Carcasses may also appear bloated and decompose quickly. Livestock or animals displaying symptoms consistent with anthrax should be reported to a private veterinary practitioner or a state animal health official. Producers are encouraged to follow basic sanitation precautions when handling affected livestock or carcasses. It is recommended to wear protective gloves and long-sleeve shirts and to wash thoroughly afterward to prevent accidental spread of the bacteria to people. For more information you can visit: www.tahc.texas.gov/news/brochures/TAHCBrochure_Anthrax.pdf
Migratory birds may be spreading superbugs
by Anne Gulland, posted 20 June 2019.
Urban wildlife such as birds and bats may be spreading superbugs around the cities of developing nations and beyond because of poor management of human and animal waste, researchers have warned. A study in the Lancet Planetary Health journal shows that seed-eating birds, scavenging birds such as storks and fruit bats in Nairobi, Kenya, carry high levels of bacteria such as E. Coli that are resistant to antibiotics. And if these bugs are passed to migrating birds they could be carried all the way to Europe, one of the authors of the paper said. While the study does not show that these resistant bacteria have been passed from wildlife to humans the study warns that a superbug could emerge from the “brew” of wildlife, livestock and humans that live cheek by jowl in the sprawling cities of developing nations. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasing global threat, with a recent report from the United Nations warning that if left unchecked it could kill 10 million people by 2050.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool and the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi took feces samples from wildlife, livestock and humans in household compounds across the city – from urban slums to the most affluent areas. They tested the samples for the presence of E. coli and the prevalence of resistance to 13 different antibiotics. Of the 2,000 wildlife samples collected, 485 were found to harbour E. coli – and half of these were resistant to more recently developed antibiotics, such as cephalosporins and fluoroquinolone, drugs that the World Health Organization considers crucial for human medicine. There were higher levels of multi-drug resistant superbugs in both humans and livestock but the researchers say their findings show that wildlife, particularly birds, are an important vehicle for spreading AMR. In cities birds and bats forage on sewage treatment plants, rubbish dumps and waste from abattoirs, therefore picking up superbugs excreted from both humans and livestock.

Because human and animal waste is poorly managed and livestock live in close proximity to people there is ample opportunity for wildlife to pick up these bugs and then carry them to other areas – including outside the city. Nairobi National Park, to the south of the Kenyan capital, is home to many birds, including species that migrate to Europe.

Eric Fèvre, professor of veterinary infectious diseases at the University of Liverpool, said the paper showed that contamination of urban environments with AMR is a serious issue and the findings could be applied to any developing nation city where humans and animals live on top of each other. “We tend to think of AMR in primarily medical terms, of developing new drugs and better using old ones. But we need to take an ecological approach to addressing this threat,” he said. He added: “The management of the environment in the city is very important - not only for human health but specifically for under- standing the development of antibacterial resistance. “One of the key messages [of this paper] is that when you design a city you have to consider waste disposal very explicitly,” said Prof Fèvre. He said that migrating birds could carry the superbugs both to and from Europe. He said: "It is possible [a bird could carry a bug to the UK]. The reverse is also true of course - a UK or Europe generated superbug, of which there are many, from a hospital, a sewage works or wherever, could be carried by a bird to Nairobi and spread locally there." James Hassell, lead author of the study, said: “Since wildlife are not treated with antibiotics, this is indicative of how pervasive AMR is in urban environments. Species that move freely across cities and further afield could disseminate resistance acquired in urban areas more widely. As many scientists and policymakers are now realizing, we cannot address the rise of antimicrobial resistance without focusing on the environmental, ecological and social settings in which humans exist.” Global Health Security 
Selected Articles
Animal Lovers and Zoonotic Diseases: 5 Things to Know . Barton Behravesh C, MedScape, September 16, 2019. https://wb.md/2kX5q3n

Silicone Pet Tags Associate Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-isopropyl) Phosphate Exposures with Feline Hyperthyroidism Environ Sci Technol. 2019 Aug 6;53(15):9203-9213. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b02226. Epub 2019 Jul 10.

Promoting One Health: The University of Missouri Research Center for Human/Animal Interaction Johnson RA, Mo Med. 2013 May-Jun; 110(3): 197–200. PMCID:PMC6179839
Veterinary Continuing Education - Upcoming Opportunities

Aquaculture Short Course this December….

Food Animal Medicine Workshops – UA Cooperative Extension / ArVMA – varied sites   https://www.uaex.edu/farm-ranch/animals-forages/food-animal-medicine-workshop.aspx
Every Month in 2019 https://www.vetvacationce.com/
Various locations, including: Puerto Rico, Texas, Georgia, Florida
January 23-25, 2020 - Oklahoma Veterinary Conference in Norman, OK
January 23-26, 2020 - Missouri VMA 128th Annual Convention in Columbia, MO
January 31 - February 2, 2020 - LVMA 2020 Winter Meeting in Shreveport, Louisiana.
February 7-9, 2020 - Arkansas VMA 113th Annual Winter Meeting
Next edition of this newsletter is scheduled for early 2020.

Wishing you a pleasant Fall, coming Holiday Season and Happy New Year too!