INDIANAPOLIS —The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) is seeking to increase scrapie surveillance testing by collecting tissue samples from sheep and goats that have died on the farm. Qualified sheep and goat producers who agree to have their deceased adult animals sampled for scrapie may receive free Shearwell scrapie tags and a tag applicator while supplies last.
“We are making progress in our efforts to eradicate scrapie. We need to continue to stay vigilant through surveillance testing, using official ID, maintaining records, and observing animals for signs of disease,” said Cheryl Miller, DVM, Director for the scrapie program at BOAH. “Indiana’s last case of scrapie was in 2019 in a 4-H goat that tested positive at slaughter.”
The U. S. Department of Agriculture sets scrapie testing requirements for each state. BOAH is dedicated to ensuring Indiana meets testing requirements so Hoosier producers will not have restrictions on interstate movements of sheep and goats.
The goal of this program is to test flocks/herds that have had no recent laboratory monitoring. Producers who have not had any animals tested through on-farm scrapie surveillance since Jan. 1, 2016 are eligible to receive free tags after submitting a valid sample for laboratory testing.
To participate, the animal owner should call BOAH veterinarian Dr. Cheryl Miller within 24 hours after an adult sheep or goat dies. A BOAH veterinarian will visit the farm to collect the sample as quickly as possible (even on weekends). Dr. Cheryl Miller may be reached at: 317-402-1527
Disposal of the carcass is the responsibility of the owner. A BOAH veterinarian will only collect tissue samples required for scrapie testing.
“Cases of scrapie in Indiana have dropped significantly from 10 or 20 years ago,” said Dr. Miller. “We want to do all we can to ensure this disease is eradicated from our state.”
Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. The name “scrapie” was derived from the characteristic scraping that infected animals do to relieve itching. However, clinical signs vary widely and develop slowly. Ultimately, over a period of several years, as infection spreads and develops within a flock, the disease can render an operation economically unviable.
More information about the scrapie eradication program is online: www.in.gov/boah/species-information/cattle-sheep-and-other-ruminants/sheep-and-goats/scrapie/