North Carolina Scrapie Identification Program
What is Scrapie?
Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Scrapie does not affect humans. It is among a number of diseases classified as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), and is caused by a prion. TSE’s occur in other species as well. In cattle prions are responsible for Mad Cow disease, and in deer Chronic Wasting Disease. Symptoms of Scrapie appear two to five years after exposure. Scrapie is thought to be spread from the ewe/doe to her offspring and other herd mates through contact with her placenta or placental fluids. Symptoms are due to central nervous system damage and can include the following; behavioral changes, tremor especially of the head and neck, grinding teeth, intense rubbing/chewing of the body and limbs leading to hair loss, abrasions, incoordination and gait abnormalities. Death occurs one to six months after symptoms appear. These symptoms are also seen with other diseases so it is important to involve your veterinarian in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
USDA and NC Tagging Requirements
Eartags: All official sheep and goat eartags must bear the official U.S shield. Tags are plastic or metal and come in a variety of styles, shapes, and colors. Official tags must have: Herd/Flock ID/Animal Numbers: Typically, the U.S. Postal Service state abbreviation followed by a series of numbers and/or letters. If the tag includes the flock’s national premises ID, it will not have the postal abbreviation.
Electronic Implant Device (EID): The EID, or microchip, may be used as official ID in the Scrapie Eradication Program if the animals are registered with a national registry association, and the implants are ISO compliant an obtained from a USDA approved manufacturer. Animals at exhibition, transported or sold must be accompanied by a microchip reader and the registration certificate. Animals sold without transfer of registration papers, such as to slaughter or through livestock markets, must be identified with visible official ID such as eartags or tattoos.
The U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) requires that sheep and goats be identified with approved, official identification (ID) for scrapie when they enter the state, change ownership or move from their premises.