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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.

March 2011 Scrapie Canada Update

Alberta is Enhancing its Scrapie Surveillance in Sheep and Goats

In an effort to improve its surveillance programs for scrapie in sheep and goats, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) is implementing three different surveillance programs in the province:

  • The Alberta Scrapie Prevalence Study (Program) will test approximately 2,000 samples collected by four selected abattoirs over the next 2.5 years.
  • This study will determine the prevalence of scrapie in the healthy sheep population at slaughter. Testing this group will complement Alberta’s surveillance programs, since up to 17% of slaughtered sheep have been found positive for scrapie in the U.S. In addition, a larger proportion of the total number of Ontario scrapie cases corresponds to healthy slaughter.
  • The National Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (VSFCP), which has been active for a number of years nationwide, received new funding in August 2010 and is strongly endorsed by the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) and the Canadian National Goat Federation.
  • In December 2010, ARD and the CSF signed an agreement to test samples from certified sheep and goat flocks of the Western Canadian provinces. Under this Agreement, participating producers on the VSFCP will be reimbursed for the veterinarian’s fees associated with sample collection and delivery, and testing will be performed at no cost to the producer. Producers are required to provide history on those animals to be tested.

Producers in Alberta are given the option to submit sheep or goat heads for sample collection to any of the ARD labs (Airdrie, Edmonton or Lethbridge).

Alberta producers who are not part of the VSFCP, but who want their animals (sheep or goats) tested for scrapie, have the option to bring in heads (not the carcass) to any of the ARD labs at no cost to the producer. In the case of a trophy head, the producer must book an appointment in advance.

Along with diversifying scrapie surveillance in Alberta, sampling numbers will significantly increase, supporting national scrapie surveillance and expanding the existing knowledge about the prevalence of this disease.

These initiatives will facilitate control and eradication programs; having the added benefit of enhancing scrapie surveillance credibility that will facilitate international market access for Canada’s small ruminant industry.

For more information about scrapie surveillance in Alberta, please address your questions to the ARD Programs Section at 6909-116 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6H 4P2 or by phone at (780)-644-2148.

Two Sheep

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