NSA welcomes expansion of post mortem services

12th April 2021

NSA has welcomed information from APHA saying it has expanded the livestock disease surveillance network for England and Wales, with the addition of Cambridge, Liverpool and Nottingham universities.

Amanda Carson of APHA says there are benefits to expanding the expertise of, and contributors to, disease surveillance and bringing livestock premises in the areas they cover closer to a post-mortem provider.

She says: “APHA’s post-mortem examination and diagnostic testing service provides a major component of the GB scanning surveillance network. The network works closely with vets and farmers to detect and investigate new or re-emerging disease, and diagnose endemic diseases in farm animals.”

From January 2021, the scanning surveillance network is:-

  • Post-mortem providers – Bristol University, Cambridge University (new), Liverpool University (new), Nottingham University (new), Royal Veterinary College, SRUC St Boswells, Surrey University and Wales Veterinary Science Centre.
  • APHA Veterinary Investigation Centres – Bury St Edmunds, Carmarthen, Penrith, Shrewsbury, Starcross and Thirsk.

The new post-mortem providers will expand the capacity and coverage in England and Wales meaning more vets and farmers will benefit from the available services.

Mrs Carson explains: “Farmers within a one-hour drive of a post-mortem site are asked to transport the carcase there. For farmers more than a one-hour drive away, a free carcase collection service is available.” Click here to find the nearest allocated provider and see if you’re eligible for free carcase collection.

APHA services

  • Diagnostic tests and advice covering a wide range of endemic diseases of farmed livestock species and wildlife.
  • Post-mortem examinations services at APHA Veterinary Investigation Centres and partner post-mortem providers (see list above).
  • Free-to-farmer carcase collection for diagnostic post mortem examinations in parts of England and Wales.
  • Free, online livestock disease surveillance dashboards.
  • Free, online surveillance reports and information.

Find out more via the small ruminant pages on Vet Gateway.

Disease information notes. APHA information notes and alerts include:-

Quarterly GB Small Ruminant Disease Surveillance and Emerging Threats reports  summarise investigations into threats and other surveillance issues to inform governments, the veterinary profession and livestock farming industries of new or re-emerging threats to sheep health or changing trends among existing ones. Click here to view.

Monthly Surveillance reports are produced by each Veterinary Investigation Centre and provided to vet practices via a newsletter noting interesting cases and trends in their area. A summary report is also published in the Veterinary Record each month and can be viewed online here.

Focus articles are in-depth articles on specific conditions. They include:-

  • Small ruminants: Investigating abortions in small ruminants.
  • Tickborne diseases of sheep.
  • Investigation of negated bluetongue cases in small ruminants 2019.

Video links. On 9th December 2020, expert speakers from the fields of animal and human health came together to talk about tick-borne diseases, via a webinar organised by the APHA Centre of Expertise for Extensively Managed Livestock. Click on the name of each presenation to view an online recording:-

Population information and Enhanced Demographic Reports estimate the distribution and size of the sheep population at GB level and indicators that might be used to determine the risk of disease transmission

Mrs Carson concludes:Let us know about signs of new or unusual disease you may see. Vets at the APHA Veterinary Investigation Centres are always happy to discuss cases with your vet, and we can visit your farm with them if appropriate to provide free advice on the investigation and diagnosis of disease incidents. For example we have followed up cases where the notifiable disease bluetongue was suspected and, following negation of this problem, helped farmers determine what diseases were present that gave similar signs. These included orf, photosensitisation, oxyclozanide toxicity, allergic reactions and haemonchus. We have helped farmers where potential food safety concerns have arisen, for example due to botulism, lead poisoning or copper toxicity. We have also helped farmers where anthelmintic resistance was suspected and worked with their vets to provide protocols to reduce the impact of parasite burdens. Please get in touch with us if you think we can help.”

A free carcase collection service is offered in the hatched areas; farmers in a non-hatched area are asked to deliver carcases to their nearest site.
A free carcase collection service is offered in the hatched areas; farmers in a non-hatched area are asked to deliver carcases to their nearest site.
Services provided by APHA.
Services provided by APHA.