Dear Robert, October 3, 2008
Enclosed please find a sheet
concerning information on Scrapie.
At this time, I am working with my state veterinarian to uncover the source (female animals sold to me from infected flock has spread scrapie on my farm). I feel the previous owners didn't know their flock was infected...There are many farms that run different breeds of sheep together...This is one of those silent, horrible diseases that go unnoticed or misdiagnosed until damage has been done.
Please know that I am doing all I can to educate and help stop the spread of this insidious disease. People who have bought lambs from me in the past 5 years have been contacted and made aware that scrapie was diagnosed. Arrangements have been made by their state veterinarians for testing to be done on their sheep. First, by blood test, they will determine genetic susceptibility. If an animal is genetically susceptible, they will then be test for scrapie by:
Third eyelid test
Or anal biopsy (no cost to owner--testing/expenses paid by government)
Please note: An infectious agent causes scrapie. In order to have scrapie, both an infectious agent and a susceptible genotype (QQ) need to be present.
If an animal is tested scrapie positive, arrangements are made for the government to buy and euthanize that specific animal.
Several owners/vets have shared medical info with me when I tell them about the outbreak. Since this disease is hard to diagnose (mimics OPP, listeriosis, rabies, external parasites, toxemia, and more), there seem to have been several suspect cases of scrapie in Babydolls in the past few years. Without a necropsy, those cases have remained "under the radar" so to speak.
If people call you with concerns about their sheep, please inform them of the steps we have taken to track down the outbreak, and may I also suggest the following:
They can obtain extensive information from government's scrapie site on the Internet
Talk to their local or state veterinarian
Obtain information concerning the Voluntary Scrapie Program in their state.
Have animals DNA tested to start breeding for resistant sheep
That's where we are at this point--much sleep has been lost and many tears shed.