Boost for livestock disease surveillance

Newly-appointed: Department of Agriculture and Food district veterinary officer Ashley Jordan will work with livestock producers and private veterinarians to help maintain the health of animals in the Northam region.

THE Department of Agriculture and Food has strengthened its livestock disease surveillance and response capacity in the Northam region with the appointment of veterinary officer Ashley Jordan.

Dr Jordan brings to the role valuable experience in veterinary medicine, animal welfare and livestock surveillance, having previously work ed as a veterinarian in California in the United States and with RSPCA in Canberra.

Based in Northam, Dr Jordan will strengthen the department’s surveillance of local livestock health and provide specialist advice to producers on animal health issues and diseases.

Dr Jordan said Western Australia had an impressive animal biosecurity status that enabled our livestock to be exported to most international markets.

“In order to maintain and expand our export markets, Western Australia needs to provide evidence that we are free of serious livestock diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD),” Dr Jordan said.

“To provide this evidence, I will collaborate with the department’s team of veterinary officers and private veterinarians to investigate any animals in the region that show unusual signs of disease or unexplained deaths.”

Dr Jordan recently travelled to Nepal with other department veterinarians and took part in a training program run by EuFMD, a regional body of the European Commission for the control of FMD.

“FMD can have a devastating effect on animal wellbeing and production, and market access,” he said.

“Rapid investigation of, and response to, any potential outbreak of FMD is vital and in order to achieve this, it’s important that veterinary officers are well-trained and farmers are vigilant in monitoring their stock.

“Many species of animals can be affected by FMD, however cattle and pigs show the most severe and obvious clinical signs, including blisters or ulcer-like mouth and foot lesions, increased salivation and lameness.”

Dr Jordan has a special interest in pigs and has closely followed the recent outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED), which is exotic to Australia, in the United States.

He said the introduction of PED in the United States had resulted in the deaths of millions of pigs, particularly suckling piglets.

“FMD and PED are just two of a number of exotic animal diseases that would have a serious impact on Western Australia’s livestock industry if they entered the State,” he said.

“Producers should al ways call a veterinarian to investigate unusual livestock deaths or animals that display potential signs of foot-and-mouth disease.

“Everyone responsible for livestock, including owners, saleyard operators and transporters is encouraged to keep a close eye on animals and contact a veterinarian if they have any concerns about animal health.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting local livestock producers and working together to maintain the health of our animals, and Western Australia’s access to domestic and international markets.”

To contact Dr Jordan, call 9690 2168 or email [email protected]

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