Sheep Vegetation Management Guidelines

Appendix 3. Health Protocol for Sheep

HEALTH CERTIFICATION PROTOCOL FOR SHEEP USED FOR VEGETATION MANAGEMENT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

(Revised February, 1998)

Background

The acceptance of sheep for managing vegetation on designated right-of-ways and forest sites is contingent on the assurance to maintain the health of both sheep and wildlife.

The attached Sheep Health Protocol has been developed by the Animal Industry Branch, Ministry of Agriculture and Foods (MAF) in consultation with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD), BC Ministries of Forests (MOF) and Environment, Lands, and Parks (MELP), and with the cooperation of the BC Sheep Federation, the Alberta Sheep and Wool Commission, and the BC and Alberta Veterinary Medical Associations.

The protocol is intended to maximize the health of sheep and minimize the risks of disease to participating flocks and wildlife, predation, and welfare concerns. Only sheep meeting the criteria set out in the Sheep Health Protocol will be permitted on these areas. A system of "on-farm" inspections will ensure that animals intended for these areas meet these standards.

On-Farm Sheep Health Certification

Introduction

MAF (Dr. H. Lange, 1-800-661-9903 or 604-556-3018) with the assistance of AAFRD (Dr. R. Fenton, 403-422-4844) will administer the Sheep Health Certification program. All inspecting veterinarians require MAF or AAFRD approval prior to certifying sheep destined to BC vegetation management sites. Certificates, individual sheep identification records, paint brands and branding paint will be provided to the authorized veterinarians, who will then become responsible for their care.

All sheep must be inspected on the farm of origin and certified by an inspection team according to the current Sheep Health Protocol, within 30 days of the departure date. If smaller producers are moving sheep to a shared location for the flock certification, the inspecting veterinarian must ensure that all sheep on the original farm have been examined for Sheep Footrot (SFR) and other clinical disease that would result in the entire flock being denied certification.

The "on-farm" inspection team must include a minimum of a veterinarian (authorized by MAF or AAFRD to inspect and certify sheep under this program) and the contractor or contractor's representative. Organizing inspection dates and visits will be the responsibility of the contractor and producer.

It is the producer’s/owner’s responsibility to ensure and provide adequate proof that all procedures identified in the Sheep Health Protocol have been completed. The producer/owner must sign the declaration that the "sheep have been prepared according to the current Sheep Health Protocol requirements". It is the producers’ responsibility to ensure that all certified sheep maintain at least a body condition score of two (2) prior to departure to the grazing site.

It is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the type and numbers of sheep are compatible with the quality and quantity of palatable vegetation, geographic diversity and extremes in weather conditions of the site. It is the contractor’s responsibility to care for all sheep on the project site. The contractor or the contractor's agent must sign a declaration of "suitability to site" at the time of inspection.

All certificates must be signed by the owner, contractor or contractors agent and authorized veterinarian upon completion.

Only properly completed certificates will be accepted.

A legible copy of the completed Health Certificate and Individual Sheep Identification Record must be sent to Dr. H. Lange, Animal Industry Branch, 1767 Angus Campbell Road, Abbotsford, BC V3G 2M3 or faxed to 604-556-3010, by the authorized veterinarian upon completion of the inspection.

One (1) legible copy of the Health Certificate, Individual Sheep Identification Record and Livestock Manifest must accompany the sheep to the project area, and be retained on the site. A copy of the Livestock Manifest(s) must accompany all sheep to the site. The contract officer in charge is required to send a copy of the manifest to Dr. H. Lange, Animal Industry Branch, 1767 Angus Campbell Road, Abbotsford, BC V3G 2M3 or fax to 604-556-3010, within one week of the sheep arriving on the site.

Sheep Health Protocol (On-farm certification)

1.0 Lameness

1.1 All lame sheep must be isolated from the flock and available for inspection to ensure that Sheep Footrot is not the cause of lameness. Lame sheep will not be certified.

2.0 Sheep Footrot (SFR)

2.1 SRF is a reportable and quarantinable disease in BC and Alberta. Sheep flocks under quarantine will be denied certification.

2.2 In accordance with the BC Animal Disease Control Act and Alberta Sheep Footrot Regulation, any owner with a suspected footrot infected sheep shall promptly notify an (MAF or AAFRD) inspector that the animals are suspected of having SFR, isolate the entire flock and take all precautions to prevent the spread of SFR.

2.3 Previously infected flocks must have eradicated SFR and remain free of SFR for one season after the SFR quarantine was removed.

3.0 Hoof Care

3.1 All hooves must be inspected and, if necessary, trimmed at least two weeks prior to inspection. Sheep with hooves that have been poorly trimmed or with severely deformed hooves will not be certified.

3.2 Foot-soaking

3.2.1 All sheep must be foot-soaked within 30 days of departure. The sheep must exit the foot-bath directly on to a "clean" area. With regards to SFR "clean" is an area where sheep or goats have been totally excluded for at least one month and where the temperature has remained above freezing.

3.2.2 The foot-soaking solution must be a 20% zinc sulfate solution (2 lb. zinc sulfate/gallon of water or 1kg./5 litres of water), with two cups of liquid laundry detergent per 300 liters of solution.

3.2.3 All sheep must be foot-soaked once for one hour.

3.2.3 Where "clean" pastures are not available the sheep must pass through an additional walk through foot-bath in the above zinc sulfate solution prior to departure.

4.0 Sheep with abscesses

4.1 Sheep with abscesses (including infected ear-tags) will be denied certification.

4.2 Sheep with healed abscess scars may be accepted at the discretion of the veterinarian.

4.3 Sheep with non-infected vaccine reactions will be accepted at the discretion of the veterinarian or inspection group.

5.0 Caseous Lymphadenitis (CLA)

5.1 Caseous lymphadenitis is designated as a reportable disease under the BC Animal Disease Control Act. Sheep with CLA lesions will not be certified.

5.2 Vaccination

5.2.1 All female sheep over 8 months of age, at time of inspection, must be vaccinated for CLA. This involves an initial and a booster vaccination, 4 weeks apart, with an annual booster one month prior to lambing.

5.2.2 A producer with a closed flock (not mixing with other sheep) and with a negative serological test may apply to MAF for an exemption from vaccination.

6.0 Clostridial Diseases

All sheep must have received two initial Clostridial vaccinations for Pulpy Kidney (CI. perfringens type D) and Tetanus (CI. tetani) according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, followed thereafter by an annual vaccination four weeks prior to lambing.

7.0 Parasites

7.1 Internal Parasites

7.1.1 All sheep must be treated with one of the four anthelmintics listed below within six weeks prior to departure to the site.

    1. levamisol (Levasole, Ripercol, Tramisol)
    2. ivermectin (Ivomec)
    3. fenbendazole (Panacur)
    4. albendazole (Valbazen)

7.1.2 Fecal analysis

If evidence of clinical parasitism is present then 5% of the flock, including the animals with clinical signs of internal parasites, should be sampled.

7.1.3

After sheep have been treated with one of the above anthelmintics they  must be placed on an area designated as "clean". With regards to internal parasites "clean" refers to an area where sheep or goats have not been for at least one year. Producers without "clean" areas must repeat the above treatment within 48 hours of departure.

7.2 External Parasites

7.2.1

All flocks must be treated with an effective approved product for external parasites. This requires two treatments, 17-20 days apart. Sheep must be free of clinical disease due to external parasites at certification. Currently the following products are approved for the use on sheep:

i) Ectiban,

ii) Malathion,

iii) Rotenone,

iv) Lindane

8.0 Body Condition Score

All sheep must have a minimum body condition score of two (2) (see attachment regarding Body Condition scoring).

9.0 Lambs

9.1 Only lambs greater than 22 kg. body weight at time of certification will certified.

9.2 All weaned lambs must be put on roughage for a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the departure date.

9.3 All mandatory procedures must be completed and documented.

10. Contagious Ecthyma (ORF, Sore-Mouth)

Flocks containing sheep with active ORF lesions must not be sent out to vegetation management sites. The certification will be delayed until the ORF outbreak is resolved. The producer must inform the contractor and inspection veterinarian if an ORF outbreak has taken place in the flock within the past four months.

11. Physical Condition

11.1 Sheep over the age of four years must have all their incisors and must not have incisor or molar attrition. Sheep that do not meet these requirements will not be certified.

11.2 Sheep with impaired vision will not be certified.

11.3 Sheep with pendulous udders or active mastitis will not be certified.

11.4 Sheep with deformities that result in an abnormal gait and difficulty feeding will not be certified.

12. Isolation

12.1 Rams must be removed from the ewe flock before January 1st. Lambing or abortions are not permissible and pregnant ewes must not be certified.

12.2 Certified sheep must not have contact with non-certified sheep or goats. When either the ewe or her lamb(s) are not taking part in the project, and the producer prefers the ewe to continue nursing, both the ewe and her lamb(s) must meet the health protocol requirements. Failure to maintain isolation of the certified sheep will result in loss of the flock certification

13. Identification

13.1 All sheep must be identified with a specific flock./owner identification and individual animal identification. Sheep with more than two ear-tags in one ear will not be accepted for certification. Extra ear-tags must be removed.

13.2 All sheep meeting the requirements of the Sheep Health Protocol will be identified with a certified paint brand at the time of inspection by the inspecting veterinarian.

14. Bluetongue Requirements

Sheep from the Okanagan Valley must meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) guidelines from Bluetongue. Please contact your district CFIA office.

15. Transportation

Transportation of sheep must be in compliance with the CFIA transportation regulation of the Health of Animals Act.

 


SHEEP GRAZING PREPARATION SCHEDULE

(Original by Prince’s Veterinary Centres, Raymond, AB

and Dr. R. Fenton, Alberta Agriculture)

This schedule is intended to serve as a guide to producers, contractors and authorized veterinarians. Planning sheep health management procedures several weeks in advance improves the likelihood of meeting certification requirements on the inspection visit.

Eight Weeks Prior To Certification:

  1. In order for the ewe flock to be certified, rams must be removed prior to January 1st .
  2. Monitor flock body condition scores. If the flock is thin evaluate, the feeding program, parasite control and other wasting disease conditions. Sheep with a body condition score of less than two (2) will not be certified.
  3. Identify the proposed departure date as some components of the preparation schedule must be organized around this date.
  4. Ensure that your treatment log is in order and record all mandatory procedure records.

Four Weeks Prior to Certification:

  1. Complete any surgical procedures e.g. castration, tail docking and de-horning. These surgical procedures must be healed before certification.
  2. Ensure that your treatment log is in order and record all mandatory procedure records.
  3. All shorn sheep must have at least one half inch of wool cover at time of certification. All adult sheep must have been shorn within the past nine months.
  4. Vaccinate all sheep over two months of age, not previously immunized, with a clostridial product that contains at least Cl. perfringens type D and Cl. tetani.
  5. Vaccinate all sheep over eight months of age, not previously immunized, with a caseous lymphadenitis product.
  6. Arrange a time for the inspection visit (the inspection must be within 30 days of departure) with:
    1. an (MAF or AAFRD) authorized Veterinarian; and,
    2. the contractor
  1. Check the flock for evidence of keds or lice. If present then treat with one of the following products:
    1. Ectiban,
    2. Malathion,
    3. Rotenone,
    4. Lindane

Ivomec pour-on or injectable products are not recognized for this purpose.

  1. Assemble foot-bathing facilities.
  2. Calculate and stock adequate foot-soaking solution of 20% zinc sulfate and liquid laundry detergent.
  1. Inspect all sheep hooves and, if necessary, trim at least two weeks prior to inspection. Sheep that are poorly or severely deformed will not be certified.
  2. Ensure that all animals have been identified with a flock and individual animal identification:

• Tags are the responsibility of the owner;

• Tags should be in place early to allow proper healing; remove extra ear-tags (a maximum of two ear-tags per ear); and,

• Sheep flocks from the Okanagan Valley must meet the Canadian Food Inspection Agency guidelines for Blue Tongue. Currently, all sheep from this area must be identified with Canadian Food Inspection Agency ear-tags.

  1. Record all individual animal identifications and have them sorted in alphanumeric order to expedite the inspection process.
  2. Confirm the inspection date and arrange for any additional labor to assist in the process.

Two Weeks Prior to Certification:

  1. Vaccinate all sheep requiring a booster vaccination.
  2. Assemble the inspection and isolation facilities.
  3. All individual animal identifications must be sorted to expedite the certification process.
  4. Thin ewes, in the flock eligible for certification, must be managed in order to reach a body condition score of greater than two (2) at inspection.
  5. All dry ewes destined for the grazing site must have their lambs weaned three weeks prior to departure. To successfully wean lambs they must be at least 30 days old.

Inspection Visit (within 30 days prior to departure)

  1. Inspection team must include at least a MAF or AAFRD authorized Veterinarian, a contractor or contractor’s agent.
  2. All records of flock vaccinations, internal and external parasite treatments and husbandry practices including administration dates must be provided to the authorized inspecting veterinarian. These records are required to complete the Sheep Health Certificates.
  3. All sheep on the farm must be available for inspection. If the sheep are inspected and certified on a farm other than the farm of origin the veterinarian must inspect the rest of the flock at the farm of origin and sign the declaration stating that he has done so.
  4. All animals to be certified must be identified with the flock and individual animal identification before inspection. Identification devices must be properly placed in the ear and the ear-tag sites healed.
  5. Foot-soaking must commence during the inspection visit.
  6. All required hoof trimming must have taken place at least two weeks prior to the inspection.
  7. All sheep in contact with the sheep destined for the grazing site must be foot-soaked for 60 minutes in 20% zinc sulfate, with liquid laundry detergent added.
  8. Upon completion animals must go to "clean" ground to await shipping. If a clean area is not available the flock will require an additional walk through foot-bathing at loading.
  9. The presence of any of the following will result in the flock not being eligible for certification:
  1. sheep which are under quarantine for sheep footrot or have clinical evidence of sheep footrot,
  2. ORF outbreak,
  3. failure to provide proof that mandatory procedures have been completed,
  4. external parasites (hold certificate until the sheep have received two effective treatments),
  5. a lack of flock identification or unacceptable identification method,
  6. if greater than 50% of the flock is under a body condition score of two (2),
  7. lack of one half an inch (1/2") of wool cover.
  8. if there is clinical evidence of internal parasitism then 5% of the flock will require fecal analysis for internal parasites.
  1. The presence of any of the following will result in the individual sheep not being eligible for certification:
  1. Lameness
  2. inadequate hoof trimming
  3. inadequate wool cover
  4. body condition score of less than two (2)
  5. abscesses, lumps and bumps
  6. pendulous udders, mastitis
  7. non-healed wounds, surgical sites (castration, docking, de-horning sites),
  8. broken mouths and dental attrition,
  9. infected ear-tags
  10. impaired vision, conjunctivitis,
  11. visible signs of pregnancy
  12. lack of proper identification and greater than two tags in one ear,

m) other conditions as determined by the contractor and veterinarian that would result in the sheep being unfit for the destined site.

  1. Mandatory treatments (vaccinations, foot-bathing and anthelmintic treatments) must be documented including receipts of purchase. In absence of documentation, these procedures must be done at time of certification.

In the case of vaccinations that require two boosters, between 2 and 4 weeks apart, the departure date will be contingent on the animals having enough time to respond to the vaccine before departure.

The veterinarian will record the earliest possible departure date on the health certificate.

After all mandatory procedures are completed, those sheep that were certified must:

  1. have their individual identification number recorded,
  2. receive an official paint brand,
  3. be isolated and placed in a clean area to await shipping. No contact with any non-certified sheep or goats through fences or by common watering sources or pasture on common ground must occur. Failure to isolate sheep will nullify the certification.

The contractor or contractor’s agent, veterinarian and owner must sign the personal declarations on the certificate.

The owner will receive a completed copy of the BC Sheep Health Certificate and Individual Sheep Identification Record.

One (1) copy of the completed BC Health Certificate and Individual Sheep Identification Record will be sent to the Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford, BC by the authorized inspecting veterinarian within one week of certification.

Three Weeks Pre-departure

  1. All sheep must be on pasture or dry hay.
  2. All weaned lambs destined for the grazing site must be put on roughage.

Two Weeks Pre-departure

  1. Deadline for vaccination booster against:
  1. caseous lymphadenitis (CL)
  2. Clostridial (Cl. perfringens type D)
  3. Clostridial (Cl. tetani)

2. Deadline for second external parasite treatment.

One Week Pre-departure

  1. Cull all animals under a body condition score of two.
  2. Remove animals from the certified flock that have engorged udders or mastitis.
  3. Remove lambs that weigh less than 22 kg.
  4. Remove ewes that have developed abscesses typical of caseous lymphadenitis.

Departure

  1. Take animals off grass and grain 24 hours prior to loading.
  2. Take animals off water four hours prior to loading.
  3. Provide hay at least five hours prior to loading.
  4. If sheep were not kept on clean ground after inspection, they must:
  1. be treated with one of the approved anthelmintics list in the BC Health Certification Protocol within 48 hours of departure,
  2. pass through a sixteen (16) foot long foot-bath of 20% zinc sulfate with liquid laundry detergent, as they are loaded,
  3. record the date of foot-bathing on the BC Sheep Health certificate and have the producer sign the declaration verifying this procedure.
  1. One copy of the following forms must accompany the sheep to the site:

BC Health Certificate,

Individual Sheep Identification Record

Livestock Transportation Manifest

 


FACILITIES REQUIRED FOR INSPECTION AND FOOT-SOAKING

Pens, a race for restraining sheep, a sorting gate, a foot-bath and isolation space will be required. A smaller pen is required adjacent to a large holding corral. From this inspection pen, selected sheep will enter the race. Here they will be individually examined and the final selection made.

Foot-bath design will depend to a large extent on the number of sheep to be foot-soaked. The foot-bath should have the holding capacity for 10% of the flock at one time. Advice is available from the Animal Health Branch, Abbotsford.

The required foot-soak solution is 20% zinc sulfate with a wetting agent (liquid laundry detergent) added. Zinc sulfate monohydrate powder is available from feed supply stores, veterinary clinics and possibly through the contractor.

A 20% solution:

= 2 pounds in 1 imperial gallon of water

= 2 kg powder in 10 litres of water

To calculate water capacity: length x width x water depth = gallons of solution

280 cu. Inches/imperial gallon

Use inside measurements:

For example, a foot-bath 16 feet long (189 inches) by 4 feet wide (45 inches) holding water 3 inches deep, has a capacity of (189 x 45 x 3)/280 = 91 gallons (409 liters).

This foot-bath would require 180 lb. of zinc sulfate. Add liquid laundry detergent to the foot bath at one (1) cup (250 ml) to 30 gallons (135 liters) of solution or in this example 3 cups. This acts as a wetting agent, enabling the solution to adhere and penetrate into the hooves.

 

ON-SITE HEALTH PROTOCOL

The acceptance of sheep for managing vegetation on designated right-of-ways and forest sites is contingent on the assurance of maintaining the health of both sheep and wildlife.

Sheep health and welfare

It is the sheep contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the sheep are provided with adequate care, nutrition (feed, water, and mineral supplementation) and shelter.

Lameness

  • All lame sheep must be evaluated for the cause of lameness. The contractor should immediately initiate treatment, isolate the lame sheep from the main grazing flock and enter the treatment in the treatment log. If the lame animal has not fully recovered within two weeks, the animal(s) must be removed from the grazing site. Animals removed from the site must be entered into the Sheep Health and Welfare Form.

Sheep Footrot (SFR)

  • In accordance with the BC Animal Disease Control Act the contractor or shepherd must promptly notify a MAF inspector (1-800-661-9903) that the animals are diseased, isolate suspect animals and take all precautions to prevent the spread of the disease to other animals.

Caseous Lymphadenitis (CLA)

• Samples are to be submitted to the.MAF, Animal Health Branch. It is important to submit a brief history (owner, animal number, location of abscess, etc.) with the sample and request specifically for C. ovis or C. pseudotuberculosis examination.

• Sheep identified as CLA positive must be removed from the site and identified in the Sheep Health and Welfare Form.

Internal parasites

• If sheep are showing clinical signs of gastrointestinal parasite infestation the contractor should take the appropriate samples to confirm the situation. Once confirmed, the contractor must treat the condition with one of the four anthelmintics listed below.

    1. levamisol (Levasole, Ripercol, Tramisol)
    2. ivermectin (Ivomec)
    3. fenbendazole (Panacur)
    4. albendazole (Valbazen)

Results, including the producer’s name, must be forwarded to the MAF designated Veterinarian.

External parasites

• Sheep that have clinical evidence of external parasites must be treated with an effective product. This requires two treatments, 17-20 days a part. The name of the owners of the infected sheep must be forwarded to the MAF designated Veterinarian.

Body Condition Score

• All sheep with a body condition score of less than two (2) must be provided with supplemental feed. If the animals do not improve within two weeks they must be either removed from the grazing site or slaughtered.

• Lambs with a body weight of less than 22 kg. must be either removed from the grazing site or slaughtered.

Contagious Ecthyma (ORF, sore-mouth)

• Animals on the site with ORF must be isolated to quarantine pens. Adequate grain, good quality forage, water and shelter must be provided. If the above requirements are not provided or if the animals continue to lose body condition, they must be removed from the site.

Lambing or abortions on the site

• Ewes that lamb or abort on the project site must be confined in a separate pen within 24 hours of aborting or lambing. The placenta and fetal tissue must be contained and disposed of within 24 hours. The ewe(s), including their lamb(s), which have lambed or aborted must be removed from the site within seven days.

Transportation of livestock

• All sheep must be transported according to the requirements set by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (see attached guidelines).

Guardian and herding dogs

• It is recommended that:

• all dogs used on project areas have a current vaccination certificate for Parvovirus, Distemper (both annual) and Rabies (3 year); and,

• all dogs be treated with an effective tapeworm anthelmintic within two weeks prior to being used on the project site and within two weeks before returning home from the project area.

• If raw meat or offal is used as dog food, it is mandatory that all dogs be treated with an effective tapeworm anthelmintic within two weeks prior to being used on the project site and within two weeks before returning home from the project area.

 

On-Site inspection

• A veterinarian authorized by MAF, may arrange an on-site inspection with the contractor. This inspection may be conducted at anytime during the grazing season. The contractor must supply the following:

• adequate handling facilities;

• adequate personnel to assist in the inspection; and,

• all required documentation (Livestock Manifests, Sheep Health Certificates, Individual Sheep Identification Records and Operation Forms must be present at the site and available for review at the time of the inspection).

Reports and questions relating to Sheep Health or Sheep Health Certification should be sent to:

Dr. Merv Wetzstein
Manager
Health Management and Regulation 
Ministry of Food and Fisheries
Animal Health Branch
1716 Angus Campbell Road
Abbotsford, B.C. V3G 2M3
Phone:  604-556-3013; Fax: 604-556-3010
e-mail:  Merv.Wetzstein@gems9.gov.bc.ca


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