Quarterly Update
Arkansas State
Veterinarian's Office
Winter 2020, First Quarter (Volume 5) 
Randolph Chick, DVM (501) 823-1733 randolph.chick@agriculture.arkansas.gov
Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) Ear Tags

Rumors abound currently on the state of affairs concerning this topic. My advice? Ignore them and proceed with your preparations; timeline may change a little, eventuality is still very likely.

How to go about getting official RFID ear tags? A premise identification number (PIN) is required to purchase official ID tags. The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a new interactive map that helps direct producers to state-specific resources for a PIN: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/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 added 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. The veterinarian will be responsible for accessibility to records of those sales. USDA will maintain and post a list of approved manufacturers. After PIN assignment and registration, accredited veterinarians or producers may purchase official, approved tags directly from tag manufacturers or retailers. For more Information or additional RFID questions, please email: traceability@aphis.usda.gov

Veterinary Electronic Health Certificates - Clip 'n Save

More and more countries are accepting electronically signed health certificates for pets and certain species of livestock. The Veterinary Export Health Certificate System, known as VEHCS, facilitates the generation and endorsement of health certificates from the convenience of your computer and removes the hassle of either mailing or driving printed health certificates to an export office for endorsement. Once electronically endorsed by the export office, you can print out a copy of the certificate at your clinic and provide it directly to your client.

Please remember, when submitting health certificates electronically, call the endorsing office to let them know you've submitted a certificate. The export office does not receive notifications when a health certificate has been submitted, so calling is helpful to make sure your certificate is endorsed in a timely manner. Contact your local export office for more information on this service. Arkansas’s area VS Export Endorsement Center location is in Oklahoma City:
USDA, APHIS, VS, Veterinary Export Trade Services                                Phone 405‐751‐1701
12304 Market Drive, Suite A, Oklahoma City, OK 73114‐8136
Arkansas Reportable Diseases 2019 Results:
Negative & Confirmed Positives
Report Sick or Dead Feral Swine to Wildlife Services

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services is actively engaged in surveillance for the foreign animal disease African Swine Fever (ASF), and needs our help. While ASF is not a threat to human health, ASF is of great concern to our nation’s pork industry, due to the high levels of morbidity and mortality associated with the disease. Wildlife Services is asking for reports of any sick or dead feral swine, so that they can investigate and rule out the possibility of an ASF introduction or to detect the disease as early as possible and prevent catastrophic losses to our food producers across the country. The contact information below for the wildlife disease biologist can be shared with anyone you think might come across sick or dead pigs in the wild.

USDA Wildlife Services , Little Rock Office (501-324-5382)

Don’t be the Veterinarian that Missed African Swine Fever!
With outbreaks of African Swine Fever occurring rapidly across the globe, stay hypervigilant in recognizing and reporting possible foreign animal diseases. Brush up your knowledge with the following NVAP modules at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/nvap :

• Module 3: Overview of Foreign Animal, Program, and Reportable Diseases
• Module 4: Preventing Disease Introduction and Spread
• Module 10: Personal Protective Equipment for Veterinarians
• Module 24: Collecting and Shipping Swine Diagnostic Samples

South Carolina horse attacks were wild boars, not stabbings.
December 11, 2019.                                   
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Five of six horses seriously injured or killed in northern South Carolina this fall were attacked by wild boars and had not been shot or stabbed, as initially feared, state police said.

State Law Enforcement Division agents checked animal tracks found near the horses and examined evidence from video cameras and from several veterinarians’ reports, agency spokesman Tommy Crosby said in a statement Wednesday. A sixth case involved a horse who did turn out to be shot and that remains under investigation, Crosby said. The attacks happened in Spartanburg and Greenville counties in late October and November. The horses had wounds so deep that intestines or bones were exposed. Three of the horses were killed or had to be euthanized, authorities said. Horse owners were so frightened that some of them started working with neighbors to sleep in shifts to make sure their animals were protected. To   help control   the rapidly growing wild boar population in northern South Carolina, the Department of Natural Resources is allowing both day and night hunting of the animals with a special permit. https://apnews.com/507ebab02399dd28bcf09b45d42c074f

Prions that cause CWD able to evolve? The misfolded prion that causes Chronic Wasting Disease can adapt in a way that might enable it to infect other species, and researchers have identified four different strains, says Debbie McKenzie, an associate professor at the University of Alberta. The prions linger in the soil and can be spread by eating infected meat or through urine or feces of animals that eat diseased animals, and there is no vaccine or treatment for it. Billings Gazette (Mont.) (12/15/19).
Campylobacteriosis - USA: Dogs, Humans, MULTIDRUG RESISTANT .

International Society for Infectious Diseases, 17 Dec 2019. CDC [edited]. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and public health officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant human Campylobacter jejuni infections linked to contact with puppies from pet stores. Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Campylobacter bacteria isolated from ill people by using a standardized laboratory and data analysis method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these sequences that are used to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives investigators detailed information about the bacteria causing illness. In this investigation, WGS showed that bacteria from people infected with Campylobacter were related genetically to each other. This means that people in the outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection. WGS also showed that bacteria from people infected with Campylobacter in the current outbreak are related genetically to a 2016-2018 outbreak of multidrug-resistant Campylobacter infections linked to pet store puppies. As of 17 Dec 2019, a total of 30 people infected with Campylobacter have been reported from 13 states. https://www.cdc.gov/campylobacter/outbreaks/puppies-12-19/index.html  
Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Lab - AVDL Corner - Dr. Russell Summers

Bovine Leukemia Testing - Agar Gel Immunodiffusion (AGID) Notice                
As of July 2019, Veterinary Diagnostic Techno logy, Inc. discontinued manufacturing Agar Gel Immunodiffusion (AGID) reagents for BLV, Bluetongue, CAE/OPP and EHD testing. The Arkansas Veterinary Diagnosti c Laboratory (AVDL) acquired enough reagents to continue using the AGID method for BLV, Bluetongue and CAE/OPP testing into 2020. 

The AVDL has exhausted all AGID reagents for BLV; starting January 13 th , 2020, the VDL will begin using the ELISA method for BLV submissions. This transition will require that all BLV submissions be batched for testing on Mondays only.  Fee remains at $8.00 per sample.

As for CAE/OPP and Bluetongue submissions, the AGID method will be used until the kits expire. A switch in test method for these submissions is still being evaluated. Please call the lab if you have any questions (501.823.1730).


On December 5 th , Dr. Denise Apperson of the Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, attended a continuing education course for veterinarians from across the state. Aquaculture Medicine , part of the Food Animal Medicine workshop series sponsored by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, focused on training and equipping veterinarians to collect diagnostic specimens from fish. In addition to classroom lectures, the workshop included a practicum at the Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center in Stuttgart. Enhancing the capabilities of our Veterinary Diagnosticians to perform fish necropsies is an important component of support for local producers.
Pictured (right-left) is Dr. Apperson, along with Drs. Julianne Fletcher and Amy Hawley.
Please plan to visit the AVDL booth during the
Winter Meeting of Arkansas VMA in Hot Springs
February 7-9, 2020.
Rabies Map - Arkansas Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Laura Rothfeldt
For 2019, Arkansas had 26 Positive Rabies samples of the 785 animals tested (795 submissions, 10 not tested due to damaged/decomposed tissue *, 759 negative tests) for a positive test rate of 3%.

Of the reservoir species in Arkansas (skunks and bats), skunks were more likely to be positive (39% or 15/38 skunks were positive) versus bats (5% or 7/135 bats were positive). The other positive samples were in domestic animals as follows: Feline 0.5% (1/200 tested positive - 2 unable to be tested); Bovine 9% (1/11 tested positive); Equine 16% (2/12 tested positive); and Canine 314 dogs tested negative (3 unable to be tested); NO POSITIVE DOGS. Raccoons: 52 tested negative (1 not able to be tested); no positive raccoons in our state for the last 30 years despite spillover of rabies from skunks/bats into other species, and raccoons being the major reservoir on the East Coast.

*Please remember when submitting brains for rabies testing, include the brainstem . Physical damage to brain tissue and autolysis due to being dead for a prolonged period or inadequate ice-down post sampling can lead to an “exposed” person undergoing unnecessary post-exposure treatment.

Pseudorabies - Wed 9 Oct 2019.
Source: International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 

Citation: Yang X, Guan H, Li C, et al. Characteristics of human encephalitis caused by pseudorabies virus: a case series study. Int J Infect Dis 2019;87:92-99. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2019.08.007.

Abstract. Background : Pseudorabies virus (PRV) has been thought to cause diseases only in animals. However, recent studies have shown that PRV can also cause illnesses in humans . Methods : This was a case series study. The cases of 5 patients with clinical symptoms of acute encephalitis, which were confirmed to be caused by PRV infections, were reviewed . Case presentation : The 5 patients all had jobs involving the handling of pigs. They had acute onset and rapid progression of clinical presentations, which were consistent with central nervous system infections. Four of them had respiratory failure, which required ventilator support. Brain magnetic resonance imaging showed abnormal signals in the bilateral temporal lobes and insular cortex in all 5 patients, bilateral frontal lobes in one patient, and caudate nucleus in one patient. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis results were consistent with a viral infection. Next-generation sequencing of the cerebrospinal fluid confirmed the presence of PRV. All patients received human immunoglobulin, glucocorticoids, antiviral agents, and symptomatic supportive treatments. All patients survived until discharge but suffered from various sequelae. Pneumonia was the most common complication during the disease course. Conclusions : PRV encephalitis should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients with a clinical presentation of central nervous system infection, especially for those who have had recent contact with pigs. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971219303327?via%3Dihub
Upcoming Veterinary Continuing Education Opportunities                                           
Food Animal Medicine Workshops – UA Cooperative Extension / ARVMA
In 2020 https://www.vetvacationce.com/ Various locations, including: Puerto Rico, TX, GA, FL

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
February 27-29, 2020 - Mississippi VMA Winter Conference in Starkville, MS
NVAP Modules will be presented on Thursday, 1-3 pm
February 28 – March 1, 2020 - Music City Veterinary Conference in Nashville, TN
July 31 – August 4, 2020 - AVMA Annual Convention in San Diego, CA