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.

September 2007 Scrapie Canada Update

Alberta Implements a Provincial Scrapie Surveillance Program
*Please note, this program is ONLY open to producers in Alberta

On September 1, 2007, Alberta Agriculture and Food (AF) implemented a Scrapie Surveillance Program open to Alberta sheep and goat producers. The objective of the surveillance program is to determine the incidence and geographical localization of Scrapie in Alberta’s sheep and goats. Also, this program will evaluate the effect of different mitigation measures, as well as breeding and genetic strategies. The program will contribute to the elimination of Scrapie from Alberta’s small ruminants and help to ensure the quality and safety of Canadian sheep and goats.

Who & Where:

The AF Scrapie surveillance program will apply to all Alberta sheep and goat producers. Scrapie testing on the heads and carcasses submitted to one of AF’s four Food Safety Division (FSD) laboratories (locations listed below) will be performed at AF’s TSE Laboratory located in the O.S. Longman Laboratory in Edmonton. The rapid Bio-Rad ELISA test (internationally and CFIA validated and recognized) will be used for the Scrapie testing. Post mortem examinations of carcasses delivered to a FSD laboratory for Scrapie testing will be conducted by a veterinary pathologist.


Alberta Agriculture's Scrapie Surveillance Program will compliment the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) National Scrapie Surveillance Program. The provincial program will contribute the CFIA’s annual Scrapie surveillance target for Alberta, assist the CFIA in eradicating Scrapie in Canada and help the Canadian small ruminant industry regain access to the United States and international markets.


As part of Alberta Agriculture's Scrapie Surveillance Program, producers may deliver or ship the heads of sheep and goats that are one year of age or older and die on the farm, along with a completed submission form, to any of Alberta Agriculture’s four Food Safety Division (FSD) laboratories for Scrapie testing.

Alternatively, producers may deliver the carcasses of sheep and goats that are one year of age or older and die on the farm to any of Alberta Agriculture’s four FSD laboratories, along with a completed submission form, for Scrapie testing and a post mortem examination. The submission of carcasses is preferred because examination of them will enhance the value of the Alberta Scrapie surveillance conducted. The post mortems performed will help verify that the Alberta animals screened for Scrapie truly are “high-risk” animals contributing to the production of internationally valid and credible Scrapie surveillance information. In addition, the submission of carcasses by producers will allow the FSD to continue and complete concurrent sheep/goat mortality and post mortem method studies, along with the Scrapie surveillance testing.

Producers who deliver carcasses to a FSD laboratory will be reimbursed $50.00 per carcass, until the additional FSD studies are completed. It is anticipated that it will take 1 to 2 years to complete the studies. Alberta Agriculture will notify producers when reimbursement for the submission of carcasses ceases.

Producers must be committed to making reasonable efforts to manage carcasses to reduce the risk of scavenging and delivering them to a FSD laboratory as soon as possible after the animal dies to help reduce the degree of decomposition the carcass undergoes prior to its arrival at the laboratory.

Advantages for producers submitting sheep/goat carcasses versus heads for Scrapie testing include:

  • Post mortem examinations at no cost to producers.
  • Disposal of carcasses (incineration) at no cost to producers.
  • Producers receive a laboratory report informing them of the cause of their animal’s death, in addition to the Scrapie test result.
  • Information on the causes of mortality in the producer’s flock / herd.
  • Information on the causes of mortality in the provincial flock / herd.
  • Information on geographical differences in flock / herd mortality.
  • Post-mortem examinations will enhance the value of the Scrapie surveillance information produced by helping to verify that the Alberta animals screened for Scrapie truly are “high-risk” animals.

In addition to screening sheep and goats that die on the farm, AF’s Scrapie surveillance program will also include screening all sheep and goats for Scrapie that are condemned at provincial abattoirs.

Submission forms for AF’s Scrapie surveillance program and information detailing the processes for producer reimbursement for delivering carcasses to a FSD laboratory and for packaging, storing and delivering (carcasses & heads) and shipping (heads only) to FSD laboratories will be available to producers through the Alberta Sheep and Wool Commission by September 1, 2007.

Inquiries about AF’s Scrapie surveillance program can be directed to Dr. Brian Miller at 780- 427-8201 or brian.miller@gov.ab.ca.

Two Sheep

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