Chapter 7 - Scrapie Flock Certification Program
7.3 Accredited veterinarian's responsibilities
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- 1. Obtain and read the SFCP chapter in the Accredited Veterinarian's Manual, including the SFCP National Standards. The Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) is the SFCP administrator and status assessor. The SFCP National Standards and other information for accredited veterinarians are also available on the CSF's Scrapie Canada website. The SCFP is available to goats and sheep.
- 2. Schedule a meeting with the local CFIA district veterinarian to review the accredited veterinarian's duties for the SFCP and the procedures that must be followed. A tutorial or a review of the scrapie sampling techniques in small ruminants is suggested at this time.
- 3. Establish a valid accreditation agreement (contract) with the CFIA district office for the delivery of the SFCP.
- 4. Advise the producer to contact the SFCP regional administrator at the CSF to learn the requirements to participate in, advance and maintain certification in the SFCP. SFCP applications are available on the Scrapie Canada website and enrollment procedures are detailed in Section 2 of the SFCP National Standards.
- 5. The accredited veterinarian and owner should discuss the requirements of the SFCP. Assessment of the facilities, flock/herd management and record keeping on the premises should be done to gauge the degree to which the accredited veterinarian feels the producer can be successful, and to identify any changes in record keeping or management that would be necessary in order to facilitate the fulfilment of SFCP requirements.
- 6. The SFCP is carried out in co-operation with producers, accredited veterinarians, national stakeholder organizations, approved laboratories and the CFIA. Roles and responsibilities for each of these partners are listed in the SFCP National Standards.
- Accredited veterinarian general responsibilities include those listed in Section 1.4 Program Delivery of the Standards.
- Owner responsibilities include those listed in Section 1.6 Producers.
- Section 3. General Rules, Section 4 Advancement in Status (Levels E, D, C, B, A and Certified) and Section 5 Advancement to Certified Plus Status detail the main requirements of the program. It is the owner's responsibility to comply with all requirements in the SFCP standards.
Annual physical inspection, inventory and report
- 7. The accredited veterinarian must visit the enrolled premises at least once a year. The annual physical flock/herd inventories must be conducted as per Section 3.10 Flock/Herd Inventories of the SFCP National Standards under the supervision of the accredited veterinarian. Appropriately trained third-party personnel, such as animal health technicians or veterinary students, may participate. The inventory will identify every sheep and goat on the premises, and the accredited veterinarian must assess for any clinical symptoms of scrapie.
- 8. The annual inventory report is the responsibility of the accredited veterinarian. The foundation of the annual inventory report is the reconciliation of this year's annual inventory with the previous year's annual inventory. The annual report requirements are listed in Section 3.11 Annual Report of the SFCP National Standards.
- 9. When the accredited veterinarian is satisfied that the report adequately documents all reconciliation of the inventory, the report is signed. The document is forwarded to the SFCP administrator and status assessor within the anniversary quarter (January 1 – March 31; April 1 – June 30; July 1 – September 30; October 1 – December 31) in which the enrolled flock/herd was registered in the Program. Along with the report, the owner submits a request to advance to the next level of the Certification Program or to maintain certified status or certified plus status once either of these levels has been attained.
- 10. Deadstock testing is the most critical element of the Program, and the absence of even one submission without documented cause will jeopardize the status of the flock/herd within the Program. Detailed requirements for deadstock testing under Scrapie Samples in section 3 and Sampling Requirements in section 4 of the SFCP National Standards. The nearest approved laboratory for scrapie testing should be identified by both the accredited veterinarian and the producer. A post-mortem sample for the SFCP requires two tissues, a brain sample (that includes the obex) and a retropharyngeal lymph node (RPLN). The head (containing the brain and medial RPLNs) of the animal may be submitted directly to an approved laboratory by the producer, or the accredited veterinarian may collect brain and RPLN samples for submission to an approved laboratory. See Section 7.5 Appendix A for brain sampling procedures and Appendix B for retropharyngeal lymph node sampling procedures. Samples are stored frozen. Heads/samples may be held and sent, or delivered in batches.
Live Animal testing
- 11. Live animal testing (rectal biopsy) may be used to meet sampling requirements in certain circumstances in the SFCP. Sections 3.13, 4.5 and 5.3 of the SFCP standards detail the use of live animal testing. See section 7.5 Appendix D for live animal rectal biopsy sampling procedures.
- 12. Owners are instructed in the SFCP National Standards to report illness in a sheep or goat over 12 months of age lasting longer than two weeks, with the exception of a physical injury as well as any sheep or goat with any clinical sign of scrapie. The owner may not dispose of the animal until the accredited veterinarian determines the signs are not consistent with scrapie. The accredited vet must maintain a written record of this determination and will be responsible for monitoring the outcome of the case and for reporting the case to the CFIA if scrapie is a differential diagnosis. The accredited veterinarian should educate the owner to recognize the clinical signs of scrapie and provide information on the epidemiology of the disease.
Scrapie Flock Certification Program status levels
- 13. The SCFP is available to goats and sheep.
- 14. The Program pathway includes seven levels, from the entry level (level E) to the Certified level, with the addition of a higher level of Certified Plus. A minimum of five years (one year each at levels E, D, C, B and A) is necessary for a participating flock to reach the certified level. Once a flock has reached the certified level, it maintains this level provided that the applicable requirements continue to be met. If an owner wishes to advance to the Certified Plus level a minimum of 7 years, along with additional sampling requirements is necessary. The OIE's scrapie chapter guidelines require seven years of compliance to qualify as a scrapie-free establishment. The certified plus level is for flocks which desire to be recognized as more fully aligned with OIE requirements.
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