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Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 06:59 AM AKDT

News from Office of the State Veterinarian

Pets and AnimalsThe last few months have been busy at Alaska’s Office of the State Veterinarian (OSV)!

Our staff spent much of the last month on the road, visiting fairs across the state doing livestock checks, poultry testing, and public outreach. You might have seen us at the Southeast Alaska State Fair (Haines), Tanana Valley State Fair (Fairbanks), Kenai Peninsula Fair (Ninilchik), Deltana State Fair (Delta Junction), Kodiak Rodeo and State Fair (Kodiak), or the Alaska State Fair (Palmer).

In a crowded, busy place such as a state fair, it is important that all members of the community work together to ensure a safe and disease-free environment for everyone. This is why Dr. Coburn and I visit each fair and work with a team of volunteer veterinarians to inspect livestock entries. It is our job to ensure that all animals are free of diseases and parasites that could potentially infect other animals or humans. We also educate 4-H participants about the importance of biosecurity and how to prevent illness in their livestock as well the transmission of zoonotic diseases to their human family members.

While at the fair, we also perform routine testing of poultry for avian influenza (AI). This is a surveillance measure to determine whether AI is present in Alaska’s domestic birds, and if it is, take preventative measures to ensure the infection does not spread to other flocks. In total, we collected swabs from 451 domestic fowl at the fairs. We are very pleased to report that there were no positive results for AI at this year’s fairs. While this is great news, it is still important that as a community we remain vigilant and engage in good biosecurity practices with our birds to prevent AI in the future. This includes sheltering them from interaction with wild birds and reporting large die-offs or ill birds to our office immediately. If you have a bird that becomes ill, or passes away unexpectedly, please contact our office. We can test for AI and perform a necropsy on dead birds to determine cause of death — no cost to you.

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