Maedi Visna Accreditation Scheme
We would urge all new flocks to join the Maedi Visna Accreditation Scheme. If you have recently purchased stock then you should contact the Sheep & Goat Health Scheme, Greycrook, St Boswells TD6 0EQ, Telephone 01835 822456 (www.sruc.ac.uk) for full details of the scheme.
SAC vets are urging sheep farmers who sell breeding sheep to join the Maedi Visna (MV) Accreditation Scheme, as the disease becomes more common in non-accredited flocks.
SAC Veterinary Investigation Officer Catriona Ritchie said: “Some farmers may think because MV is not widely recognised, that it is not worth joining the scheme but the incidence of MV is increasing.”
“So our message to sheep farmers is that you can buy from an MV-accredited flock confident in the knowledge you’re not buying in the disease. In the unlikely event that there is a breakdown, early testing provides the best opportunity for eradication. By joining the scheme, your flock will benefit from regular testing.”
“MV can cause severe economic losses in infected sheep flocks through deaths from pneumonia and wasting and its knock-on effects such as poorer fertility, reduced milk production resulting in increased lamb losses and lower weight gains in lambs. There are also losses from the premature culling of adult sheep because of mastitis, occasionally arthritis and paralysis.
If your flock is not part of the scheme then you may like to consider joining.
Contact Sheep & Goat Health Scheme, tel : 01835 822456.
If you want to check which flocks are in the scheme then consult their website www.PSGHS.co.uk
New Sheep Monitoring Schemes Aim to Reduce Risk of Disease (2020)
Two new monitoring schemes have been launched to sit alongside the Premium Sheep and Goat Health Schemes (PSGHS) accreditation. While PSGHS Accreditation is the gold standard, the
monitoring schemes provide a level of assurance for buyers looking to reduce disease risk. PSGHS Monitoring Schemes cover maedi visna (MV) and Johne’s disease. It is hoped that ‘monitoring’ will appeal to a broader base of flock owners – those wishing to minimise the impact of disease in their flocks but who are unable to meet the requirements of PSGHS accreditation. Monitoring is based on annual testing of three main groups for each separately managed flock:
- Targeted testing of high-risk adult animals – either 12 or 20 depending on the size of flock (above or below 500)
- Testing of rams
- Testing a proportion of added animals where they have lower health status, as these pose the greatest risk in introducing disease.
Testing can be done at any time of year but SRUC asks members to allow six weeks before animals are sold to give plenty of time for arranging sampling, testing, and reporting. The farm’s private veterinary surgeon must take the samples. SRUC Veterinary Services decided on a targeted testing approach, as opposed to testing a random sample, following years of experience detecting disease using ‘12 ewe screens’ which are regularly used by many commercial flocks.
The PSGHS MV Accreditation Scheme also successfully uses 12 ewe screens in non-accredited commercial flocks run by MV accredited members. Targeting of the animals to test is based on selection by the flock’s veterinary surgeon, from those that are thinner or have raised poor lambs/had a poor milk yield, with no other apparent reason on examination (such as lameness or dental disease). This means that fewer animals need to be tested compared to a test based on a random selection of animals.
Another important part of membership is an annual appraisal of farm biosecurity, working through a biosecurity guidance checklist with the farm vet. The Health Status Report for a monitored flock will be awarded annually and will record the number of years that a flock has been monitored.
SRUC’s Dave Wilson, PSGHS Veterinary Manager, said: “We hope that this new scheme will appeal particularly to commercial producers of female breeding stock who want to reassure buyers that
they take these diseases seriously, and are working hard to reduce the risk of spreading disease.”
Phil Stocker, Chief Executive of the National Sheep Association (NSA), said: “NSA plays an active role on the PSGHS Advisory Board and these schemes are something we have definitely encouraged. It is very timely given the growing interest in iceberg diseases and is a great opportunity for commercial sheep farmers to get involved as a method of reducing losses and inefficiencies.”
Carolyn Gill, who keeps a flock of Shetland Sheep in Dorset with her husband David, is the first member of the new scheme. She said: “We are very proud and pleased that our Shetland
flock is the first member in the UK of SRUC’s monitoring scheme. We wanted to have recognised health monitoring at a level appropriate for our flock, and the new scheme is a perfect solution by giving us greater confidence in – and awareness of – our sheep’s health.”
In instances where disease is found, the farmer can take a proactive approach to manage the disease with their vet, benefiting from the discounted test prices available to members.
To find out more, visit www.sheepandgoathealth.co.uk,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the online brochure.