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Updated: May 15, 2019


Briar Creek Farm has announced that we have voluntarily joined the National Scrapie Eradication Program.

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Scrapie has had a significant impact on the sheep industry and has caused financial losses to sheep producers across the country.

The first case of scrapie in a goat in the United States was reported in 1969, in a goat that had transferred from its herd of origin in Missouri to the scrapie experimental station in Mission, Texas. Although the goat was diagnosed with scrapie in Mission, epidemiological analysis suggested that the animal became infected around the time of its birth in its herd of origin.

Clinical signs of scrapie vary widely among individual animals and develop very slowly. Early signs include subtle changes in behavior or temperament; these changes may be followed by scratching and rubbing against fixed objects apparently to relieve itching. Other signs are loss of coordination, weight loss despite retention of appetite, biting of feet and limbs, lip smacking, and gait abnormalities, including high-stepping of the forelegs, hopping like a rabbit, and swaying of the back end.

An infected animal may appear normal if left undisturbed at rest. However, when stimulated by a sudden noise, excessive movement, or the stress of handling, the animal may tremble or fall down in a convulsive-like state.

Surveillance for scrapie in the United States is conducted through the National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP), a cooperative State-Federal-industry program. The surveillance components of the NSEP include:

1. Regulatory Scrapie Slaughter Surveillance (RSSS);

2. Non-slaughter surveillance (e.g., trace investigations, on-farm testing); and,

3. The Scrapie Free Flock Certification Program  (SFCP).

The program’s goals are to eradicate classical scrapie from the United States and to meet World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) criteria for disease freedom. Since 2002, the prevalence of scrapie has decreased significantly through existing eradication efforts, largely a result of effective slaughter surveillance.

More information can be found on the United States Department of Agriculture's website.


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