There are a number of clinical signs that always strike a bit of fear into the veterinary heart – for example, livestock that show blisters on their nose, mouth, or near their hooves, the dog or cat with unexplained neurological signs (especially if they had recent interaction with a bat), or the acute death of a number of animals. In any of these cases (and in many others) a veterinarian must keep the potential of certain reportable diseases on their differential list, and they contact their federal and provincial authorities to advise of this possibility. But, once a vet has made that contact, what happens? What’s the next step? This can sometimes be unclear, as each disease incident has many different variables, and generally, a “risk-based assessment” is performed to assess the level of concern and risk to other humans and animals on a case by case basis. The varied responses and the methods by which veterinary regulatory authorities manage a disease outbreak can be confusing, so in the next 3 podcast episodes we try to provide some clarity around these processes, by working through all levels of diagnosis and response – and highlight the connections between veterinarians and the provincial and federal veterinary authorities.
Dr. Ryan Tenbergen is a swine veterinarian who works with Demeter Services Vétérinaires, and he has a strong interest in research and epidemiology. He is a past-president of the Ontario Association of Swine Veterinarians, and contributes to disease surveillance nationally as a representative for the Maritimes on the Canadian Swine Health Information Network. Dr. Tenbergen shares his experiences interacting with veterinary authorities as part of the diagnostic process.