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No signs of HPAI in Canadian cattle, but producers may want to beef up their bio-security procedures

Canadians should be reassured that commercially sold milk and milk products remain safe.

Over the last few weeks, some dairy cattle in the U.S. have tested positive for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) with some fragments being detected in milk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the results of a new study last week that shows that the pasteurization of dairy products effectively inactivates the virus that causes HPAI, even when fragments of the virus remain.

Milk from dairy cows in Canada must be pasteurized before sale; this process kills harmful bacteria and viruses, ensuring milk and milk products are safe.

All milk sold in Canada is pasteurized, ensuring our milk is safe.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Health Canada are reassuring Canadians that commercially sold milk and milk products remain safe to consume.

Starting last week, Canada implemented a new testing requirement for all lactating animals entering the country, similar to the interstate testing which is happening in the U.S. for the movement of animals.

So far, U.S. reports show HPAI appears to have only affected a small proportion of the farms' dairy herd, with cattle typically recovering within one to three weeks - no cows have died from this virus to date.

HPAI has not been detected in dairy cattle or any other livestock in Canada.

The Chief Veterinary Officer of the Canadian Cattle Association, Dr. Leigh Rosengren, says producers are monitoring animals regularly and will want to report any unusual clinical signs to their veterinarian. 

She adds that it's also a good time to review and enhance the farms' bio-security procedures.

"So wearing farm-specific boots and clothing on the farm and not wearing them off of the operation, and limiting visitors to the farm or the ranch at this point.  Practicing bio-security between caring for sick stock or ill animals and your regular herd -  being separating and segregating those animals. And then, if animals are coming onto the operation, segregating them to monitor for illness."
 
She adds that producers should also be aware of feeding unpasteurized colostrum, as that could be a potential root of disease transfer.

Some clinical signs to watch for on an individual animal basis would be a reduced appetite or reduced feed intake, thickened, discolored milk from an animal that is in lactation, and then some general signs of lethargy, fever or dehydration. 

Overall, producers should watch for any unusual behavior in wild birds or animals and be aware of any dead birds.

She says that information should be reported to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with the CCA's Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Leigh Rosengren click on the link below.

Rosengren notes that bio-security procedures should be followed on a regular basis on all Canadian farms and ranches.

Source : Pembinavalley online

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