What's New?

If you have any questions, ideas or additions for the Scrapie program up to now or for the coming future please contact the Scrapie program co—ordinator. The Scrapie committee meets annually or upon any specific requests.

July 2006 Scrapie Canada Update

Scrapie Canada Announces Change to National Genotyping Survey

Any offspring- regardless of registration- with two purebred registered parents will now be accepted on the National Genotyping Survey.

This change was announced May 30, 2006 by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). In early May, Scrapie Canada submitted a request to the Ministry asking permission to accept unregistered offspring of purebred parents onto the project.

Since the project began in January 2005, sample collection and submission have been much lower than anticipated. Even with numerous attempts to increase awareness of the project, the pick up just wasn’t there. This has been attributed to the late start of the project and the time of year the project was launched.

Another contributing factor to project’s low uptake is the recent BSE crisis. Numbers of breeding stock are at an all time low. Since the border closed in May 2003, the Canadian Sheep Breeders’ Association (CSBA) membership has decreased by approximately 6%.

With the DNA tissue-collecting ear-tag trial being run through the Manitoba Sheep Association (MSA) there has been an increase in producer interest regarding the project. Producers can now purchase tags from MSA that take a DNA sample upon insertion into the animal’s ear. The sample is then removed from the tag and sent to the lab to be genotyped. Drawing the sample through an ear tag allows producers to complete the sampling on their own, saving the cost of the vet fee.

Please note that these DNA tags ARE NOT a substitute to the CSIP tags. Producers are still required to use the CSIP tags when moving animals off of their farm.

The decision to allow unregistered offspring of registered purebred parents on the program was supported by industry representatives including the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency, the Canadian Sheep Federation, the British Columbia Purebred Sheep Breeders’ Association and the CSBA.

Support for the change was also provided by head researcher on the project, Dr. Hossain Farid, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, who has indicated that the change will have no repercussion on the validity of the study.

The change will allow producers to genotype their purebred lambs prior to paying a registration fee. This will help Canadian sheep breeders incorporate scrapie genotype information into their selection programs- and will save them money while doing it.

The initial decision to request this change was made by Scrapie Canada upon discussion with industry representatives and feedback from sheep producers across the country. If there is anything that you would like to say about the National Genotyping Project, please contact Courtney Denard at 519-836-0043 or by e-mail at admin@scrapiecanada.ca You can also contact Scrapie Canada if you have any further questions about anything mentioned in this article.

The National Genotyping Survey is being run until November 2006.

Two Sheep

Scrapie Information & Facts


One or more of the following clinical signs may be present in affected animals. It is important to note that not all sheep or goats show all the signs of scrapie. Sometimes these signs can be so subtle that they are missed or misdiagnosed until they
have progressed.


• Weight loss, despite retention of appetite

• Behavioural changes

• Itching and rubbing

• Wool Pulling

• Biting at limbs or side

• Bunny–hop movement of the rear limbs

• Swaying of hips and hind limbs

• Sensitivity to noise and movement

• Tremor

• Down, unable to stand

Project Partners