Logan updates WSGA on animal healthWritten by Megan Weisensee
Laramie – Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan recently gave his bi-annual report to the attendees of the Wyoming Cattle Industry’s Convention on June 2 and included a variety of updates related to all aspects of the Wyoming Livestock Board’s (WLSB) work.
Due to statewide budget cuts, funding for the Veterinary Loan Repayment Program, as well as for the Wyoming Wildlife Livestock Disease Research Partnership, has been put on hold.
However these programs remain in statute, so they can resume when the economic situation improves.
No other significant changes are expected at this time
Revisions to the Wyoming Board of Veterinary Medicine rules are in progress.Revisions include no longer requiring continuing education credits for artificial insemination technicians, embryo transfer and transplant technicians.
“The main reason for that is, while we will still require them to be certified and they still have to have a certificate or permit from the board, continuing education has been difficult for those people to get because there are just not classes readily available for them,” Logan said.
He also discussed a proposed rule that would require all new veterinary licensees in the state to attend an orientation that would include presentations by the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy, the WLSB, Wyoming Health Department, Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, Wyoming Board of Veterinary Medicine, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). These rules revisions will go out for public comment, if the Governor approves.
Logan explained, “We have been doing orientations for about the last four or five years, and they have been very well received and, for the most part, very well attended.”
Gov. Matt Mead signed new Chapter 13 Scrapie rules and Chapter 15 Trichomoniasis (trich) rules into effect on May 20.
Logan explained, “The big change in the trich rules is that we will no longer consider the culture test with microscopy an official test for trichomoniasis. There is scientific validity behind doing this. There is new science out on the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, which is basically a test that tests for the DNA of the Tritrichomonas foetus organism that causes the disease. The Board has now gone to requiring just one PCR test on samples for bulls that are changing ownership or bulls that are going out for public grazing.”
While the decrease in number of tests required will hopefully make testing easier for producers, there are some concerns about eliminating the culture test. The main concern addressed was the cost of testing.
“The PCR test, about anywhere, is more expensive to run than the culture test was,” Logan commented. “But, what we have allowed to try and compensate for the use of the PCR test is the allowance of pooling of samples.”
If requested by the producer and the submitting veterinarian, individual samples can be pooled at the laboratory, with up to five bulls per pool, and run as a single test.
New changes to the Chapter 2 Brucellosis rules have also been submitted and will be out for public comment, if the Governor approves.
Along with the changing Chapter 15 rules, the current trich situation in the state was discussed.
The number of positive cases has greatly decreased in the past few years, and this year’s spring testing has revealed no positive bulls in the state as of yet, leading to a favorable outlook for the state.
“We haven’t had a case found since late January of this year, which is a good thing because we are pretty much about at the end of the testing season for this spring,” Logan said. “It appears that our program is showing some success after nearly 20 years.”
Logan also urged producers near the South Dakota border to exercise more caution as there have been a number of positive trich cases in that state this year.
Brucellosis continues to be a focus issue for the state with cases in cattle in both Park and Sublette counties.
According to Logan, “The scrutiny on the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) states is getting more and more strong in spite of the fact that producers and regulations through WLSB are doing what they need to do.”
WLSB veterinary staff currently has two designated brucellosis-affected herds, which have been under quarantine since the fall of 2015. These herds are undergoing the necessary whole-herd tests and will hopefully be released from quarantine soon.
WLSB is working closely in conjunction with the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory on brucellosis testing and research for these herds.
In the last few years, nine total seropositive elk have been found outside of the Designated Surveillance Area in western Big Horn County. Though there have not been any cattle found to be brucellosis positive in this area and the positive elk have been removed, the seroprevalence in elk has prompted the state of Montana to require testing of cattle coming from this area.
“Montana, as of June 15, is going to require a brucellosis test on all sexually intact animals 12 months of age and over from Big Horn County,” Logan said.
He also noted that it is uncertain at this time what other changes may be made in response to this action.