Scrapie Question

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by GOATDADDY, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. GOATDADDY

    GOATDADDY Well-Known Member

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    I have a small sheep herd that I want to sell. I spoke with a gentleman that asked if they were certified scrapie free. Is it difficult, time consuming or expensive to obtain this scrapie free tag?
     
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Yes and no. If you're not already in the Scrapie program you have to invest in the tags and tagger, you can't use any old tags for this program, they have to be special. And while the equipment doesn't cost a fortune, it isn't free either.

    Then there is the time question... it takes time to get enrolled in the program, for the state to get a vet out to you so they can certify that the right sheep have the right tags.

    You'll need a vet's certificate on each sheep, and you'll need the dam and sire of each sheep... if the sheep come from a flock that is in the scrapie program, this should be pretty straightforward. If they don't.. I'm not sure how that is handled.

    If the sheep orginally came from a flock in the Scrapie program you could go back to the buyer and say "my farm isn't, but the original breeding stock was" and let him get his farm into the program. If your sheep weren't originally from Scrapie free stock they may not meet this man's goals and business plan.
     

  3. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    The Scrapie ID program is mandated by USDA/APHIS, I believe, but each state's Department of Agriculture is responsible for that state's administration of the program. In Oregon, you fill out an application and receive a site number that is uniquely yours. The state provides tags with your site number on one side, and generic numbering for individual animal ID on the other side. You can choose the little metal clips or very small plastic button tags. Appropriate tagging tool is included, and all at no cost. If you want a different style of tag, you can provide your information to Premier Supply in Washington, Iowa, and pay for them. The rules for what you must sell with or without a tag are hard to remember, so we just scrapie-ID-tag the entire flock when we do our other doctoring like banding tails and castrating.

    As for certified free -- I know of no such program, because positive detection of scrapie can't be done on a live animal. There is, however, a blood test that will return a DNA reading that tells you whether each animal is a carrier of a gene that is "scrapie resistant." The blood test comes back with a disignation of Q or R for each sheep. RR means that the sheep has both dominant and recessive genes for resistance, and will pass an R to 100% of it's offspring. QR means that it is of mixed heritage, and may be expected to pass the resistant gene 50% of the time. QQ means that it doesn't have the resistant gene. That doesn't mean that it WILL get scrapie, just that it doesn't have a recognized resistance factor. Consult your local large livestock vet for local information on blood testing for scrapie. My daughter assisted a breeder last year in testing a couple hundred animals, and it entailed shearing a strip on the neck, and drawing a tube of blood from the vein, sealing and positively IDing the tube, and cold storage for transport to the lab.

    From what I've seen here, the average sheep flock isn't blood-tested. The people who are blood-testing are the purebred breeders and club-lamb breeders who are looking to sell breeding stock to other high-visibility producers. For example, at our State Fair, the really competitive breeders all had their RR rams prominently displayed.

    At the very least, you do need to check the USDA - APHIS page's Scrapie ID info, and contact your state Dept. of Ag to obtain a site number and tags in order to sell any mature stock. I notice your name implies goats on the property too -- goats are included in the scrapie ID law, but tagging rules are different, and goats can be tattooed instead of tagged. Guess it's time for a little homework for ya! If it's not one thing, it's two things, eh?

    Susan
     
  4. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    FREE! HA! I paid a pretty penny for my tags and tagger. And, the program on this side of the country isn't mandated or mandatory... you participate if you want to, don't if you don't. Right now, flocks in the Scrapie program are a better perceived value than flocks that aren't, so in the Icelandic world, a lot of us participate. But we don't have to unless we're AIing our sheep. And it sure as shooting ain't Free!
     
  5. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    MorrisonCorner, have a look at this web page:
    APHIS Scrapie Program

    Free eartags. Yep! However, after using a couple hundred of the free ones, we're seriously thinking about ordering something we like better and paying for them.

    We haven't been able to sell sheep or goats at the livestock auction, or show stock at the fair for several years now, unless they have a valid site ID tag. I need to spend the rest of this afternoon finding the short in the electric fence (GRRRRR!) so don't have time to research, BUT I really thought that Scrapie ID was now required of any grower whose animals leave the site for any reason.

    The mom of one of the kids in my sheep 4-H club was just hired as the new Scrapie ID Specialist for Oregon. I won't see her till the second Monday in May, but I think I'll ask her for an update on APHIS ruling.

    Susan
     
  6. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    Ours was free...Tags, tagger....everything but the sheep :grump: in South Dakota...and i beleave Neb/Ia. you need the tags to sell...and to show. So you just as well get enrolled. I know sale barns who charge $5.00 for a lil white tag....
    AJ
     
  7. Lana

    Lana Active Member

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    Susan,where do live in Oregon?we take sheep to the woodburn auction and dont need scrapie tags.Lana
     
  8. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    By the year 2008 all animals sold will require a tag with a number from your farm. Every farm will be required to get a number that will have to be tagged in all of their livestock animals. Its suppossed to be for when they find a diseased animal it can be traced back to the original farm. Hopefully it will be discontinued but I doubt it. I think thats why the scrapie program was originally started. Here a vet comes out looks at your sheep and if they LOOK scrappie free he signs the certificate or whatever and your herd is now scrapie free. Not sure if they have to come back annually or what.
     
  9. CCSheep

    CCSheep Member

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    I've pondered whether or not to reply to your post, Goatdaddy, as it seems you've received some feedback already. There seems to be some confusion as to the certified scrapie free status. There are a few scrapie programs active currently and this causes some confusion because there are different ones for different flock situations. But you asked "Is it difficult, time consuming or expensive to obtain this scrapie free tag?" Your question can't really be answered easily, because, yes, you can get scrapie program tags easily enough, but scrapie-free certified status is a different story. A sheep having a tag doesn't mean it's scrapie-free.

    I am enrolled in the Scrapie Flock Certification Program, and although I'm no expert, I know hopefully enough to tell you how time consuming it is, but it seems if you're selling your entire flock, it's maybe not information that you need presently, but I will answer your question in as short-order as I can.

    Yes, there is a way to obtain a status of being certified scrapie-free, but it is a 5-year process. As SilverVista suggested, all of the information is at the APHIS web site and they work in conjunction with your state veterinarian office to get you enrolled in the program. You first call your state veterinarian office and ask for the person who handles the scrapie program, specify to the person that you want to get enrolled in the voluntary program to get certified and take it from there. This is free of charge. This requires filling out forms and providing records on all sheep on your farm, where they came from, if they are scrapie tagged from a previous farm of birth, etc. Then they process this, give you info on ordering tags (you have to pay for tags and a tagger in this program and they are not super cheap) and a state veterinary medical officer (VMO) comes to do an initial farm/flock inspection (again, no cost) to see if you've placed the tags (and yearly thereafter does a visit also). Then his report and your application go through an approval process with your state's scrapie board and that starts your enrollment. There are plusses and minuses to the program--to keep your status (length of time enrolled equals your status) and get to the certification of being scrapie free in the 5 years time, you can't purchase breeding ewes from any farm other than another flock enrolled in the program at least as long as you have been, or longer. If you purchase from those either not enrolled in it or a shorter time, you drop back to that flocks' status. The plusses are the program helps you pay for genotyping (blood tests) of a portion of your sheep to see what kind of resistance to scrapie they have and another thing is producers feel "safe" buying from certified flocks and this gives you an edge, of sorts in the marketing of your sheep/goats.

    Good luck.
    Jami B.
    Ellensburg, WA
     
  10. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't it be easier, cheaper, and shorter to just have them blood tested? Surely there is a test for it?
     
  11. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    The best they have available is certain genotypes have shown to be resistant(not had scrapie occur within those genotypes), but no live animal test for scrapie. There are symptoms of the disease once it's in full swing, but the animal can be in the early stage and not symptomatic.


    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahps/scrapie/

    http://www.animalagriculture.org/scrapie/Media/FactSheet.htm
    "Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Infected flocks that contain a high percentage of susceptible animals can experience significant production losses. In these flocks over a period of several years the number of infected animals increases and the age at onset of clinical signs decreases making these flocks economically unviable."
    "In the United States, scrapie has primarily been reported in the Suffolk breed. It also has been diagnosed in Border Leicester, Cheviot, Corriedale, Cotswold, Dorset, Finnsheep, Hampshire, Merino, Montadale, Rambouillet, Shropshire, Southdown, and a number of crossbreeds. Through August 2001, approximately 1,600 cases in sheep and seven (7) cases in goats have been reported."

    "Signs or effects of the disease usually appear two (2) to five (5) years after the animal is infected but may be longer. Sheep may live one (1) to six (6) months or longer after the onset of clinical signs, but death is inevitable."

    "Current information on scrapie is also available on the Internet at USDA's official scrapie website, www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/scrapie.htm, contact your local APHIS Veterinary Services Area Office by calling toll free 1-866-USDA-TAG (873-2824)"

    An informative video is located:
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/video/videofiles/goats.ram
    that will help you learn to identify the clinical symptoms of scrapie.
     
  12. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Well... I'll be... FREE! I've got $78 tied up in tags and a tagger. Free. Really, sometimes it sucks to live in New England...
     
  13. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Nope. There isn't a test for it yet. In Iowa it is a volunatry program. You tag your sheep (and goats) and this allows them to trace it back to your farm IF anything should go amiss later on down the road. If you want to blood test your animals they have to be dead first...which sort of defeats the purpose...

    The whole program is really designed as a tracer similar to how they've been tracing (or trying to trace?) any cows that have MAD cow disease symptoms - they want to know where it originated. If a sheep dies of scrapies they want to know where it originated from so they can eliminate the herd and prevent it from going farther. That's really the only purpose, so far, of this program. It's a good *goal* but it'll take a while before everyone is in compliance of this. And, I suspect that, even after it's mandated, there will still be those who simply use backyard sales to avoid the hassle...

    Sarah
     
  14. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    I am in the Volunteer scrapie program, and join a very long time ago. Every thing is free.

    There is a live test besides the blood test that can be done. Seems most folks do not know about it.
    It is the 3rd eye lid test, and Katherine I. O'Rourke was/is in charge of this.
    How do I know this? Because I talked with Katherine a number of years ago about this program and having it done on my sheep.
    There is many places that have supported miss information, like HF magazine among others.


    USDA estimates that the new eyelid test will be performed for about$25 per animal once it is commerically available. Current tests requirebiopsies of internal organs, which is more risky and can cost up to $500 per animal. In developing the test, researchers at USDA's Agricultural Research Service discovered that the third eyelid in sheep collects prions, a type ofprotein believed to cause scrapie. They also designed a new antibody to identify prions in a sample of eyelid tissue. USDA has applied for patents on both discoveries.

    "This is another good example of the tremendous impact that long-term investments in research can have on some of the toughest problems facing American agriculture," Glickman said.

    ARS microbiologist Katherine I. O'Rourke led the Pullman, Washington-based team responsible for this important work. Others on the team includeDonald P. Knowles, who leads the Pullman lab, Timothy V. Baszler and Steven M. Parish with Washington State University in Pullman, and Janice M. Miller at the ARS National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa.

    #For more detailed scientific information, contact Donald P. Knowles, Agricultural Research Service, Animal Diseases Research Unit, 337 Bustad,WSU, Pullman, WA 99164-7030. Telephone (509) 335-6022; fax (509) 335-8328. A USDA fact sheet on scrapie is available.
     
  15. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    "It is the 3rd eye lid test, and Katherine I. O'Rourke was/is in charge of this. "

    Now that you mention it I do remember vaguely reading something on it. Seems I recently read that testing was in progress and $ 25 reimbursements available. sigh Been too pre-occupied with my physical problems (and trying to earn some money) and not paying too much attn. to email from BBS list.
     
  16. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    Well, I seem to have put my foot in it here... This is a subject where I twisted myself in a pretzel to be compliant, and then was satisfied that I was doing it right because I never heard anything different. Several years ago, the Site ID was going to be mandatory, we were put on a very short deadline to enroll or not be able to show or sell, and that is where my free tags and tagger came from. In order to show sheep at the Marion County fair (4-H and FFA shows only -- there isn't an open class) the kids STILL have to visit the clerk at the "scrapie" table to show their tags, or they don't show. My daughter is the on-paper owner of our flock, and she is still religious about following the tagging rules, so I haven't concerned myself with whether there have been changes. Red Face here. :eek: Turns out Lana is right, Woodburn Auction hasn't asked to see tags for a couple of years now, but I wasn't the one delivering, just the one slapping the tags on as they went on the trailer! Now that I think about it, this program is designed to provide a trace-back if an animal tests positive somewhere down the road, but doesn't give you any sort of current standing on the flock. No vet ever visits, it's just a site identification.

    Now it seems that all the focus has changed, and what's really important is the people who are actually in the certification program to be proven scrapie-free. Those would be MorrisonCorner's expensive tags! You can actually look up on the web the names and breeds of everyone enrolled in this program, listed by state. I was surprised at how few people are actually participating, which is probably an indication of it's expense and time-consumption. Or else people simply don't want to volunteer for potential trouble... Now DD and I have to decide if she's serious enough about her Oxford flock to get involved in this aspect.

    I'm a little put out that this is another case where the government has created a rule, sent us into a flurry of activity trying to adapt, then changed course and left us looking foolish. I do notice that Oregon requires site ID tags on all sheep imported from out of state, but if places like the sale yard don't care, who's doing the oversight? I work at a nursery and also have a small nursery at home, and we're going through the same kind of certification mess right now because of Sudden Oak Death. Oregon has the biggest nursery industry in the country, and our Dept of Ag had a very good and stringent method of inspecting, certifying and tracking. Then APHIS got involved, and it's a paperwork nightmare masquerading as a program.

    So -- my apologies for relaying very old information that's only half-right these days. Guess I have my weekend's reading cut out for me!

    Susan
     
  17. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    **Seems I recently read that testing was in progress and $ 25 reimbursements available. **

    My memory has flickered a bit more. That $25 was on genotyping sheep. :D
     
  18. GOATDADDY

    GOATDADDY Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to all for the great responses. Will have my flock sold in a couple of days. Buyer decided the scrapie thing was not an issue for him.
     
  19. adnilee

    adnilee Well-Known Member

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    Tags and applicator are also free here in Indiana. You can order as many as you desire. I ordered 500 incase they decide to start charging for them. Any animal 18 months or older must be tagged if it is sold or leaves your farm for any reason. We were given a unique farm ID and the small white tags.