Control Veterinarian Harry Snelson, Schering Plough’s Swine Tech Services Manager, has had foreign-animal-disease experience at Plum Island, N.Y., and more recently in England with that country’s foot-and-mouth-disease outbreak. He offers some recommendations.
- At the farm level: Be aware of livestock disease symptoms, observe animals closely and report anything suspicious to state and federal animal-health authorities.
You can learn more about symptoms of various foreign animal diseases by checking out the Animal and Plant Health Services Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov or by consulting your state veterinarian or an Extension swine veterinarian at a land-grant university. You’re herd’s veterinarian or other local veterinarians may or may not be familiar with these exotic diseases.
- Government agencies: Snelson believes that garbage feeding practices for pigs should be banned immediately. He also wants to see a well-defined plan developed for vaccinations in the event of a disease break.
He says state and federal governments need to develop systems to track and stop animal movements. Make screening tests available to state and regional AAVLB-accredited diagnostic labs for routine disease surveillance and forward suspicious cases to NVSL or Plum Island. Devise acceptable methods for timely disposal of large numbers of animals. Increase training and continuing education of accredited veterinarians.
Should a foreign animal disease outbreak occur, he says it will be necessary to immediately activate military assistance.
While some of these areas have been and are being addressed, he said this issue deserves more attention today.