Scrapie is an infectious wasting disease affecting the nervous system of adult sheep and is very difficult to control. It has been a notifiable disease in the UK since 1993 and is one of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The causal agent is resistant to normal disinfection procedures and the disease has a long incubation period. There is no cure, no vaccine, the condition is fatal and animals pass on their genetic susceptibility to the next generation.
Scrapie Monitoring Scheme
Flock masters wishing to export breeding sheep and goats throughout the EU may have their flock or herd monitored under the provisions of the Scrapie Monitoring Scheme administered by SRUC Veterinary Services. Registered flocks and herds undergo an annual flock inspection by the farm vet and brains from a proportion of adult animals are screened for TSEs. Members of the Scrapie Monitoring Scheme must ensure that all fallen stock are tested for evidence of Scrapie. Please see the scheme rules for further details.
Carcases can be submitted for testing to:
- An APHA Regional laboratory - see the APHA website
- An SRUC Disease Surveilance Centre - see SRUC Veterinary Centre
- Some Fallen Stock Collectors will uplift carcases and sample them for testing. Click here for the list of these collectors and the form to accompany carcases they collect.
- Some private veterinary surgeons are approved for sampling. These are:-
Scrapie gene testing enables flock masters to select breeding sheep which are resistant to Scrapie. Animals can be tested at any age using a blood or semen sample. Testing is usually limited to stud rams, ram lambs retained for breeding and ewes being selected for embryo transfer. Scrapie genotyping is not a test for the presence of the disease but does reveal if the animal were to be exposed to the disease, what chance it has of contracting it.
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