Animal Health Diseases
Current animal health
Foot and Mouth
Rabies and Pet
Other Animal Diseases
Disease - what to do if disease is
Monitor your stock carefully and regularly,
and remain vigilant for signs of animal disease, whether or not
disease is present in the United Kingdom.
If notifiable diseases such as foot &
mouth, swine fever, rabies, avian influenza or Swine Vesicular is
suspected at any premises within Bedfordshire please contact the
State Veterinary Service at:
Bury St Edmunds 01284 778150, or
Chelmsford 0845 050 4141
Also contact the Bedford Trading Standards on
01234 718099 or your local Police Station (Bedford Police
Headquarters 01234 841212) as you have a statutory duty to inform
Foot and Mouth
Foot and mouth disease is an infectious
disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals, in particular cattle,
sheep, pigs, goats and deer. Other ruminants including deer and
some zoo animals, camelids (camels, llamas, alpacas, guanaco and
vicuña) and elephants can also be affected. The disease is serious
for animal health and for the economics of the livestock industry.
While FMD is not normally fatal to adult animals, it is
debilitating and causes significant loss of productivity; for
example milk yields may drop or the animals may become lame. In
young animals it can be fatal on a large scale.
Swine Flu Information
Swine influenza is a disease of pigs caused by
a virus (influenza virus). Influenza viruses exist as various types
and the most common type found in pigs is Type A. The virus is
present in all pig producing countries, including the UK. Type A
strains can also infect other species, including people, although
the strains of virus involved are usually different.
Defra has laid new legislation in
Parliament to amend and update the Transmissible Spongiform
Encephalopathies Regulations. From 1 January 2009, the UK will
test all cattle aged over 48 months.
The Defra-funded collection and disposal
service for fallen cattle in Great Britain ended on 31 December
2008 for 24 to 48 month old cattle that die after that date.
From 12 January 2009, cattle keepers in Great
Britain will be responsible for arranging and paying for the
disposal of carcases of over 48 month old cattle which must still
be tested for BSE.
On 20 November 2008 the UK became officially
free from avian influenza (AI), according to the rules laid down by
the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
It is vital that all bird keepers in the UK
continue to practice the highest levels of bio-security and be
vigilant for any signs of disease. If you are concerned about the
health of your birds you should seek advice from your veterinary
surgeon. If you suspect that your birds have avian influenza, you
should report it to your local Animal Health Office (Bedford’s
Local Animal Health Office is Bury St Edmonds on 01284 778150.)
If you need to report dead wild gulls, waders,
ducks, geese or swans; groups of dead birds or need advice on avian
flu, please contact the DEFRA Helpline 08459 33 55 77, 8.00am to
6.00pm Monday to Friday.
For food safety advice please see the Food
Standards Agency website.
Bluetongue is a disease of animals affecting
all ruminants, including sheep, cattle, deer, goats and camelids
(camels, llamas, alpacas, guanaco and vicuña). It does not affect
horses or pigs. Although sheep are most severely affected, cattle
are the main mammalian reservoir of the virus and are very
important in the epidemiology of the disease. It is characterised
by changes to the mucous linings of the mouth and nose and the
coronary band of the foot. The disease is caused by a virus spread
by certain types of biting midges. Bluetongue is present when it is
confirmed by laboratory tests that the Bluetongue virus (BTV) is
circulating in an area. Bluetongue does not affect humans.
To remain vigilant for Bluetongue you should
inspect your stock, particularly focusing on the mucous linings,
(lining of the mouth and nose) and the coronary band (where the
hoof stops and the skin starts), and; if you suspect one of your
animals has Bluetongue, it is vital to report it as early as
possible. Telephone your nearest Animal Health Office (Bury St
Edmonds on 01284 778150) immediately or call the Defra helpline on:
08459 33 55 77 between 9am - 5pm, 5 days a week.
Rabies Protection and Pet
Rabies is a usually fatal disease that attacks
the central nervous system of mammals, including humans, causing
rapid paralysis of limbs and respiratory failure.
Rabies is a form of infectious disease that
affects only warm blooded creatures (including humans). The cause
is a virus that multiplies rapidly in a mammalian blood system.
Access is gained through bites and scratches
from infected animals or through saliva in contact with broken
skin. Once in the bloodstream the virus multiplies forming an
invasive infection - affecting the central nervous system.
The first signs are restlessness, followed by loss of muscular
control such that the infected animal cannot stand, ultimately the
heart and lungs lose their muscular capability, resulting in
The signs of restless nervousness, followed by
aggressive behaviour by normally docile animals tends to be a
short-lasting warning. Animals are often afraid of water
during this onset period. In later stages the animal often
shows foaming at the mouth. Any suspicion of an infected animal
must be reported to the local Veterinary Service, or to Trading
Standards Officers or to the Police.
Any suspected animal must not be approached as
it might bite or claw the person approaching it. There is a
set procedure to be followed once a suspected case of rabies has
been identified. The Department for Environment Food and
Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will take charge of the contingency planning
operation once their officials are advised. The most important part
of this is to isolate a suspected animal and prevent it from
attacking any other person or animal.
Therefore local warnings and exclusion zones
must be strictly observed for the safety of all concerned.
There will be warning signs at all entrance and exits to such
Classical rabies was eradicated from the UK in
1922 and the Pet Travel Scheme and quarantine help protect against
infected animals entering the UK, but because of the existence of
the disease elsewhere there is concern about rabies being
reintroduced by illegally imported mammals. Some European bats
carry rabies related viruses.
Most species of rabies-susceptible animals
entering the UK are required to spend six months in quarantine
unless arriving under and complying with all the conditions of the
EU Regulation 998/2003 on the non-commercial movement of pet
animals or Balai (commercially traded animals - contact Animal
Health Divisional Office, Beeches Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 2RU
(tel: 01245 358383; nightline: 01245 353632; fax: 01245 351162 or
for more information).
Further information on the level of rabies in
other countries around the world is available on the World Health
Information on rabies in Europe can be found
on the Rabies Bulletin Europe website (http://www.who-rabies-bulletin.org/).
If you suspect any signs of any notifiable
disease, you must immediately notify your local Divisional
If you require any further information on any
subjects found within the Animal Health and Welfare section on the
internet please either ring DEFRA Helpline on 08459 335577 or visit
their website ww2.defra.gov.uk.
Environmental Health & Trading
Bedford Borough Council
Tel: 01234 718099