To proactively seek the latest information available on health issues and work to help industry implement programs and solutions that focus on developing/maintaining high flock health status.
There are three main focus areas for our efforts:
- Promotion of disease prevention programs
- Encouragement to develop veterinary-client relationships
- Education for the industry on optimum health management practices and disease control options
Some specific examples of significant advances in flock health:
- No occurrences since 1987
- As of 2002 – no viral activity found
- Monitoring continues in the Okanogan Valley, BC
Scrapie Eradication Programs
The Canadian sheep industry is committed to the development of initiatives geared towards the detection and eradication of scrapie from the national sheep flock and goat herd. There are currently three national scrapie programs in Canada.
National Scrapie Surveillance Program
The National Scrapie Surveillance Program was launched by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and several provincial agricultural ministries. The goal of this program is to identify infected animals so that proper steps can be taken to completely eradicate the disease from Canada. General requirements include reporting deads on farm over the age of 12 months and completing brain testing.
More information on this program can be found at Canadian Food Inspection Agency or call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342.
Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program
The Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (VSFCP) was developed by the CFIA in collaboration with industry as the basis for Canada’s on-farm, voluntary scrapie control program. Pathway 1 of the VSFCP is OIE compliant, meeting international trade regulations put forth by the OIE. General requirements of the VSFCP include flock surveillance, working with an accredited CFIA veterinarian, completing an annual inventory of all sheep and goats on farm and closing the flock or herd to females.
More information on this program can be found at Scrapie Canada or by calling 1-866-534-1302.
National Genotyping Survey
The National Genotyping Survey was a leading-edge project that provided the knowledge base for increasing resistance of Canadian sheep flocks to scrapie. By genotype testing sheep, it is possible to determine the animals that are genetically resistant to scrapie. Because the national project included ewe genotype testing, it was one of the most advanced in the world. Between 2005 and 2008, the national survey offered Canadian purebred producers compensation for genotype testing and shipping costs. In all, about 9,300 purebred sheep across Canada were added to the national scrapie database. With additional testing of commercial animals and parental DNA verification, a total of 20,277 sheep genotypes have been entered in the national database. Producer participation in this program closed on December 16, 2008 and a final reporting of project outcomes can be found on the Scrapie Canada website or by calling 1-866-534-1302.
The CSF encourages a holistic approach to flock health that covers all areas of farm management including nutrition, housing, and environment. Disease prevention is the primary focus of all programs, but attention is also directed toward:
- The importance of early disease detection;I>
- How the national animal identification/tracking system is a key tool to reduce the spread of disease
- The importance having a biosecurity program in place for each farm to minimize the risk of disease being brought onto the farm
- Producers adopting the recommendations and programs from the CSF often find their operations become more efficient and profitable.
Western Canadian Flock Health Program
Ontario Sheep Health Program