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The Animal Health Branch offers a range of services in support of industry and producers of Alberta: first class animal disease surveillance, disease investigation and diagnostic services; comprehensive emergency preparedness and response capabilities; and the branch’s technical specialists’ ability to anticipate and assess potential threats to Alberta’s livestock industries.
Specific programs provided by staff of the Animal Health Branch to protect animal and public health and support market access are the following:
· surveillance programs
· diagnostic pathology services
· disease investigations
· disease control programs
· funding programs to producers and stakeholder organizations
The staff of the Animal Health Branch collaborate with federal and provincial jurisdictions in livestock disease surveillance programs to promote Alberta’s interests and to create critical information about the health of livestock and poultry in Alberta.
Animal Health Branch veterinarians are specialists in epidemiology, pathology, surveillance, theriogenology, and toxicology. They, along with our animal health technologists, scientists, and administrators, work closely with the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian in supporting roles and activities related to the Alberta Animal Health Act and Regulations.
Animal Health Programs Section
The Animal Health Programs Section (AHPS) is responsible for the administration of the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) surveillance programs including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, also known as “mad cow”) in cattle, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and elk, and Scrapie in sheep and goats. Some of these surveillance programs are shared with the federal government.
Members of this section work with industry organizations, veterinarians, livestock, poultry producers and other government organizations for the implementation, delivery of and permanent improvement of surveillance programs and support of disease management initiatives.
Activities include leading or participating in provincial or national groups to design strategies for improvement of surveillance, animal health emergency management systems, as well as strategies to anticipate and prevent animal health threats based on developing surveillance information analysis and agri-intelligence systems. The AHPS promotes the use of risk assessments for different diseases affecting animal health and implementing appropriate mitigation and biosecurity measures to prevent or reduce their impact.
This section administers the biosecurity programs under Growing Forward 2 , which funds on-farm biosecurity projects for livestock and poultry producers, farm-service providers and non-for-profit organizations.
The Epidemiology Section focuses on building, analyzing and reporting animal health surveillance data gathered through the Alberta Veterinary Surveillance Network. Staff assist private veterinary clinics with disease investigations of cases of special interest or difficulty, particularly cases that could present a public health, high impact on production or market access risk. In support of the Alberta Animal Health Act and Regulations, staff engage in diagnostic and disease mitigation strategies with referring veterinarians for reportable and notifiable diseases reported to the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian.
AVSN (Alberta Veterinary Surveillance Network) is an effective and progressive network of livestock and poultry veterinary practices that serves as the foundation for animal health surveillance in Alberta. AVSN collects animal health data and disseminates animal health information for the mutual benefit of veterinarians, industry and government. It identifies animal populations within Alberta that would benefit from targeted programs and, through its existence, validates Alberta’s veterinary infrastructure (which is important for international trade).
Specialists (including pathologists, toxicologists and theriogenologists) in the Pathology Section assist private veterinary practitioners with the investigation of cases that may have impact livestock and poultry production, market access, and public health. Animal health technologists from the section play a vital role in collecting samples to test for important diseases such as CWD in cervids and Scrapie in sheep and goats to support market access.
Poultry veterinarians provide diagnostic pathology services to non-quota non-commercial poultry (i.e. backyard flocks) producers in support of the Poultry Health Center of Excellence and to government departments responsible for the health of wildlife populations.
In support of the Alberta Animal Health Act and Regulations, team members engage in diagnostics and disease mitigation strategies with referring veterinarians for reportable and notifiable diseases reported to the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian.
Edmonton, AB T6H 4P2
Chris Morley, Branch Head
Chris Morley is supported by his administrative support, Blanche Taylor