PROGRESSIVE SHEEP BREEDERS' SOCIETY

 

by Dr. Paul Hunter, DVM

 

When the board of directors reviewed the returned surveys last June it was apparent that members were very concerned about health issues. They were concerned about avoiding the introduction of new diseases into their flocks. This was one reason that the national sale was suspended.

After some discussion it was decided that the breed should sponsor some type of voluntary health program. Thus the name above. This will help producers have a guideline in helping them buy sheep from flocks with a similar health status. It is not with out precedent as the swine producers have such a program. A side benefit will be to promote the breed. I can also see cooperative advertising by those who choose to join this society.

I would like to emphasize that this is a rough draft of the program and is open for comment. If you have a catchier name please let me hear about it. The program as presented is fairly strict. Keep in mind the stricter it is the better the assurances are. On the other side if it is to strict very few will participate. At some time it may become necessary to appoint some one to certify producers and maintain the data base.

The diseases to be monitored would include scrapie, johnes, OPP, Brucella ovis, external parasites and foot rot. Caseous lymphadenitis could be added when it becomes available. The program would require annual visits by an accredited veterinarian to inspect the flock, review records and take any needed blood samples. The samples would need to be run by an accredited state or federal lab. Should a producer reach the levels for all the diseases as a package or say be one star for one disease and two star for another?

One Star level requirements:

1. Flock inspection by accredited veterinarian stating there is no evidence of foot rot, external parasites or abscesses. This is to include a written review of your current health program

2. Negative OPP AGID test of all animals over 8 months of age.

3. Enrollment in the Voluntary Scrapie Certification Program. This requires permanent ID and record keeping.

4. Negative Johnes AGID test of all animals in the flock over 8 months of age.

5. Negative B. ovis eliza test on all rams over 6 months of age.

6. A valid working relationship with a veterinarian.

7. A health monitoring system that include all deaths with probable cause, and treatments given.

 

Two Star Requirements:

1. Repeat all test and inspections and reviews as above.

2. All tests must be negative.

3. Veterinary inspection to include past years health records

4. Any additions to flock must be from a flock of the same level or higher, this includes status date for the scrapie program.

 

Three Star Requirements:

1. Repeat all tests and annual inspections and reviews as above.

 

Four Star Requirements:

1. Repeat all tests and inspections and reviews as above.

 

Five Star Requirements:

1. Must meet requirements to be a certified scrapie flock.

2. Annual inspection and review of records.

3. Test 20% of the flock annually to maintain status.

 

I hope this preliminary program sparks some interest. Comments can be directed to the author at 1-419-628-3532 or drhunter@bright.net