October 10, 2016

(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey, folks welcome to DocTalk we’re going to have a fun show today. We’re going to talk about brucellosis. Brucellosis or bang’s in cattle is something that we’ve eradicated in this country we still calfhood vaccinate, and we still have the potential of that disease popping up if we don’t stay on top of it. We have Dr. Justin Smith who is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner for the State of Kansas here. It’s going to be a great show. Thanks for joining me.

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(Dr. Dan) Folks, welcome to the show. Dr. Smith welcome. (Dr. Justin Smith) Glad to be here. Thank you Dan. (Dr. Dan) Folks as I mentioned in the opening, this is Dr. Justin Smith and he is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner here in the State of Kansas. He works with the Kansas Department of Agriculture. A former practitioner in Western Kansas, wealth of knowledge, wealth of experience. We’re lucky to have him in the State of Kansas and we’re lucky to have him on the show. We’re going to talk about something pretty common but- (Dr. Justin) Very true. (Dr. Dan) – Maybe we haven’t thought about the history of what’s actually going on. It’s brucellosis folks in cows or bang’s. (Dr. Justin) Exactly. Yes, brucellosis has been around for a long time. Actually, it was actually founded in the United States back in the early 1900’s. (Dr. Dan) Oh my goodness. (Dr. Justin) But we’ve had it here in the United States up at that point in time. Luckily for us we are free here in the State of Kansas and have been free for close to 20 years now. (Dr. Dan) It comes with kind of a history. This is a disease that not only causes disease in cattle but it can cause disease in humans. But more importantly we decided it’s something we need to eradicate. (Dr. Justin) Very true, very true. It is a disease, it is a zoonotic disease, so we do catch it from some of our domestic species that we deal with. We have basically four variants that we deal with. There’s, it affects sheep and goats, swine, cattle and some of our camelids and cervids as well. We do deal with it. It’s one of the things that we can control and we do have the ability to eradicate it and we have eradicated it here in the state. (Dr. Dan) Yes. It was quite an eradication process back in the ’60s and ’70s when we went out and bled every cow. (Dr. Justin) Most definitely. Our predecessors did a knock-up job as far as getting rid of this disease and so the animals, herds were tested on a routine basis where they went to sales, wherever they were commingle they were tested on a routine basis. Positive animals were identified and then herds that positive animals came from were done in a test and remove type process until they were cleaned and clean the herds up. (Dr. Dan) That’s how being from a feedyard world, we had quarantine feedyards and that’s where the term quarantine feedyard came from. You had a bang’s positive, we’d brand her and then send her to the yard and she didn’t go anywhere but slaughter. (Dr. Justin) Slaughter only, exactly. Still our sale barns today have quarantine pens for a kind of a holdover for that purposes because as the animals were identified at the sale barn because there are tests they can do right on-site, a screen test and as they were found positive, they were put in those pens and sold for slaughter purposes only. (Dr. Dan) Kind of laying the groundwork, we’ve done the test and remove and then we vaccinate to control as well. (Dr. Justin) That’s very true. Very true. (Dr. Dan) We have the two different bio-securities so we’ll save the vaccination part for the calfhood segment of the show. (Dr. Justin) Right. Exactly. (Dr. Dan) It’s one of those things that, that’s a tremendous program, USDA program, correct? (Dr. Justin) That is true. They provide the support and the indemnity for it. Exactly. (Dr. Dan) Okay. If we do find a positive, we do have an indemnity? (Dr. Justin) Yes, we do. (Dr. Dan) Cool. People can be reimbursed. Folks, this is Dr. Justin Smith. He’s with the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner here in the State of Kansas. We’re talking about brucellosis, bang’s. When we come back we’re going to talk more about how that has an impact here on our industry in the US and how we’re controlling it. You’re watching DocTalk. We appreciate you watching the show, more after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with our special guest Dr. Justin Smith who is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner for the State of Kansas which means you pretty much have your finger on the pulse of all regulatory veterinary medicine and internal movement, external movement of animals. Quite a bit of a job, isn’t it? (Dr. Justin) Yes, exactly. Kansas, we have a tremendous amount of movement in and out of the state and you’re right, it all comes to our office as far as being able to validate that that is a legal movement as well as a movement that we have our hands on in case we need to do some follow-up and trace backs on disease purposes. (Dr. Dan) Okay. Kind of talk me through because I think that sometimes producers and maybe we just start out with like — let’s just use Kansas an example but when do I need to get a health paper? (Dr. Justin) Sure. Anytime that an animal comes into the State of Kansas, unless they are coming to slaughter or to a livestock market, must have a current CVI or a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. (Dr. Dan) If they’re going to a packing plant, they don’t need a health paper? (Dr. Justin) They do not need a health paper, no. (Dr. Dan) Then a market defined that as a- (Dr. Justin) A livestock auction market, one of our livestock markets in the State of Kansas. (Dr. Dan) Really? They could come in from Colorado and go to a livestock market. Now to leave that market, do they need a health paper? (Dr. Justin) If they’re going back to the other state, or going back cross state lines, yes, they will need a health paper. But the reason for that is we have veterinary inspectors at the livestock markets and so they serve as the inspections of them. (Dr. Dan) We have them slaughter facilities too, USDA antemortem Inspection. (Dr. Justin) Exactly. (Dr. Dan) It makes perfect sense. Then, places that they’re going that there won’t be veterinary inspection from the state or federal level, is when they have to have the accredited veterinarian at the state of origin. (Dr. Justin) State of origin, a pre-emptive inspection, exactly. (Dr. Dan) That makes a heck of a lot of sense, doesn’t it folks? [Chuckles] Then when it comes to brucellosis, what kind of things do we have to document on brucellosis? (Dr. Justin) Well, fortunately, the United States is free. Every state in the nation is free right at this point in time and we don’t expect otherwise. Now, there are some areas that around the Yellowstone that we consider are designated surveillance areas. They have an endemic problem with their wildlife population out there, and so there is an area that’s deemed within the three states around Yellowstone that are deemed to have brucellosis problems. For that, the State of Kansas requires any animals that are coming in for the purposes of breeding or anything over 18 months of age, must have a brucellosis test prior to coming in. (Dr. Dan) Okay. That’s really the only place that bang’s winds up being on the health papers in that Yellowstone- (Dr. Justin) – in that Yellowstone area, yes. (Dr. Dan) Okay. Then what other things — we got a minute here till we go to break. What things are the most common then that have to be on health papers? Is there anything that we have to test for? Depends on the state I assume? (Dr. Justin) It depends on the state, definitely. Here in the State of Kansas we definitely require a trich test on our incoming bulls, a trichomoniasis test. Depending on where they’re coming from, like I said, we do require brucellosis test on some of the swine, some of the pseudo rabies on some of the swine, but the cattle, basically, we’re free. Now, our dairy heifers do require a TB test prior to coming in the State of Kansas or a tuberculosis test. (Dr. Dan) You bet. Well, it’s extremely interesting, extremely big job. I’m glad that we’ve done the groundwork and don’t have to do all the testing anymore. I know it was a pain probably when people were going through it, but boy they made it easier on us. (Dr. Justin) Very much so, it was a pain and it was costly. (Dr. Dan) But it’s saving us money now. (Dr. Justin) Yes, it is. (Dr. Dan) Folks, we’re going to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to talk about Calfhood, vaccinating your heifers. Something that everybody does, probably sitting there and do it, don’t think about, don’t know why we’re doing it, and we’re going to talk a little bit more about that when we come back from the break. You’re watching DocTalk, more with Dr. Smith, after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson with Dr. Justin Smith, who’s the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner here in the State of Kansas working for the Department of Agriculture, and we’re talking about brucellosis. Talk me through, say you hear people say, “Well, I got bang’s on those heifers, or I got a calfhood vaccinate those heifers.” This is really part of this brucellosis control, correct? (Dr. Justin) That is correct. The calfhood vaccination has been a phenomenal vaccination and it’s helped us tremendously in the ability to eradicate this out of our domestic herds. The calfhood vaccination is a vaccination that’s available out there. It is only done, or allowed to be done, by an accredited veterinarian on your herd. It is a 2cc dose. The vaccination period is anywhere between four and 10 months of age on cattle, I say that — that’s certain states. Here in the State of Kansas we do 4 to 12 months. (Dr. Dan) 4 to 12 months? (Dr. Justin) 4 to 12 months of age. (Dr. Dan) Now this is a live [laughs] vaccine? (Dr. Justin) That is true. (Dr. Dan) This is actually, now the RB51 vaccine, which is a live brucellosis vaccine, and one that you don’t want to inject yourself? (Dr. Justin) Very much so. No. The injection component is a live vaccine; it’s a dangerous vaccine. Granted the RB51 strain that we’re using now is much safer than the old strain we used to use. We used to use the old strain 19, which was actually the field form of the vaccine of the disease that we had out there. But the RB51 is safer, but it still is a human health hazard and it’s definitely one of the things that if you do happen to stick yourself or be contaminated by a contaminated needle you need to make sure and call your medical doctor right away. (Dr. Dan) Yes. You can get on antibiotics. Probably the most famous case of human brucellosis was the James Herriot- (Dr. Justin) Yes, exactly. (Dr. Dan) – All Creatures Great and Small. He suffered from self-induced brucellosis. I want to vaccinate those heifers. What kind of paperwork or we have, is it the orange ear tag that goes in this? (Dr. Justin) Sure. When your veterinarian does it, they will do like I said, 2cc vaccine and then they will put a tattoo in that ear of that animal that they vaccinated. That tattoo is the official documentation or the official identification of that animal being vaccinated. Depending on the vaccine they use it will have an R and then a USDA shield in the year that they were done in. In addition to that they will put in an orange mental clip or now we have actually orange RFID calfhood vaccination tags, so they will put that tag in. Honestly, that’s an individual identification but the official part of that vaccination is the tattoo. (Dr. Dan) Now, which animals are required for calfhood vaccination? If I have heifers that are going to the feedyard, they don’t have to be– (Dr. Justin) No, right. In the State of Kansas we have no requirements on calfhood vaccinations. It’s strictly a producer choice. But the ones that we do vaccinate are the heifers; we definitely don’t want to do any of our bulls. In fact if we do that we need to consider that being a steer at that point in time. (Dr. Dan) Because they’ll show up positive for the testing that we do if we ran bang’s testing on that bull. (Dr. Justin) Most definitely, yes. But yes, it is the heifers between that four and 12 months of age. (Dr. Dan) Okay, great. Folks, we’re going to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about bang’s and brucellosis and the wonderful program we have here in the United States, learn a little bit more about it. We’re lucky to have Dr. Smith here. Stay tuned, we’ll be right back.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Justin Smith who’s a veterinarian and is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner here in the State of Kansas. As we were talking in the break just because Kansas doesn’t have mandatory bang’s, some states do. (Dr. Justin) Definitely. Most of our western states do require calfhood vaccinations. The Colorados, the Wyomings, Utahs. That is something to keep in mind. Even though in Kansas we don’t require it, if you happen to be moving animals there or potentially be moving animals to those states you want to consider getting your animals vaccinated just for that purposes only. (Dr. Dan) And if you live in those states, obviously work with your veterinarian and make sure you get those heifers in the states, check with your state veterinarian, your animal health commissioner and make sure that your herd’s in compliance with brucellosis. Especially where they have elk herds and wanting to keep the vaccination and things like that. Speaking of elk that was something we wanted to talk about with some of our wildlife or endemic infections and it’s not just elk, it’s other species. (Dr. Justin) It is other species. There again, we talked about the designated surveillance areas, the Yellowstone area; they have a tremendous problem within their bison herds and within their elk herds. Even to the point where they have started programs to where they don’t feed in the calving areas that these times that these elk and this bison are calving up there to try to decrease the exposure that their domestic herds have with the animals. The big concern we have in the state of Kansas is the feral swine. Obviously, we don’t have a huge feral swine problem in the state of Kansas, but we do have a problem. Brucella suis in swine is an issue for us. (Dr. Dan) Absolutely. When we start to think about– we never think about bang’s in pigs. But when you start to think about all the problems that feral swine cause in this state and what they could be causing with disease too, pretty dramatic. (Dr. Justin) Very dramatic and the brucella suis form of the brucella bacteria is actually more pathogenic than the brucella abortus that our cattle have. It is one of the things that we want to keep a handle on and make sure that we are– Any of the animals that we harvest, any of the feral animals that we harvest, feral swine, we do do testing on them to try to determine the prevalence for that and pseudo rabies. (Dr. Dan) It’s important too for people to understand that this could be zoonotic and if you’re out there trapping feral swine or shooting them and eating them. (Dr. Justin) Yes. Now, the meat is good as long as it’s properly prepared. But just know that as you’re harvesting these animals and field dressing these animals that if they are infected you have the ability to be exposed. (Dr. Dan) Okay. Make sure that you cook it. [Laughs] (Dr. Justin) Yes, most definitely. It has to be prepared and that is probably the biggest concern we have is in humans. The exposure we have is drinking unpasteurized milk or eating contaminated unprepared meat. (Dr. Dan) Pasteurize your milk; make sure that you cook your meat before you eat it. Thanks for being on the show. (Dr. Justin) No problem, Dan. I appreciate it greatly. (Dr. Dan) A great resource for me, a great resource for a lot of people in Kansas and beyond. Dr. Justin Smith, the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner here in the State of Kansas. Folks, thanks for watching DocTalk remember to always work with your local veterinarian. If you want to know more about what we do here on DocTalk you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson I appreciate you’re watching DocTalk this morning. I’ll see you down the road.

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