Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey last week encouraged horse owners to protect their animals from the West Nile virus by making sure their horses are vaccinated and that the vaccination is up to date. The first year of vaccination requires two vaccinations to be protective for horses and then annual boosters in following years. "As we enter mosquito season it is important for horse owners to vaccinate their animals so that they are protected from West Nile virus," Northey says. "I encourage owners to talk to their veterinarian about vaccination and make sure all their animals' vaccinations are up to date."
In 2012 Iowa had 36 confirmed West Nile virus cases in horses last year and in most cases the animals had not had any vaccinations and in a few of these cases only had their first dose of vaccine. Iowa had only one confirmed case in a horse in 2011.
Horse owners are encouraged to vaccinate their animals against West Nile virus
West Nile virus has been in the U.S. since 1999, and while it is primarily a disease of birds it can infect horses, dogs, humans, and several other animal species. It is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most animals and humans do not show clinical signs of being infected, but horses may develop a brain infection with signs such as lethargy, weakness, incoordination/staggering, paralysis or even death.
Horse owners are encouraged to contact their veterinarian for more information and to discuss vaccination and other preventative measures, such as mosquito control.
Iowa Department of Agriculture revokes permit for Meinders Farm Fresh Dairy
In other news last week, the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship has revoked the dairy plant permit for Meinders Farm Fresh Dairy in Buffalo Center and an Iowa administrative law judge has ruled in the department's favor and approved the license revocation.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture regularly inspects Iowa dairy farms and dairy plants to ensure compliance with state and federal laws to ensure food safety and regularly tests to ensure milk and milk products are cooled and stored at proper temperatures, meets bacterial limits, and are free from drug residue. Raw milk must also meet somatic cell count requirements and pasteurized milk and milk products must also meet coliform and phosphatase limits.
The state ag department conducted numerous inspections of Meinders Dairy in 2012 and during the course of the inspections concluded Meinders Dairy violated the milk or milk products requirements of Iowa law. In addition, testing results from samples collected from milk and milk products from Meinders Dairy contained bacteria and coliform counts exceeding acceptable standards for pasteurized milk products.
Meinders Dairy must cease all operations and cannot sell milk or dairy products
Due to the violations, the ag department entered into a settlement agreement with Meinders Dairy requiring that its raw milk used for processing and each finished product would be tested twice per week for three weeks to obtain a running quality record history to determine Meinders Dairy's progress in complying with Iowa's laws governing the production of milk and milk products. However, Meinders Dairy failed to perform all agreed upon testing.
The ag department then revoked Meinders Dairy's plant permit and that decision was approved by the administrative law judge today. As a result, Meinders Dairy must cease all operations and cannot sell milk or dairy products. Pursuant to Iowa Code sections 192.107 and 21 IAC 68.11 the Department has authority to take disciplinary action against a permit holder, including suspension or revocation for the permit for violations of Iowa Code chapter 190, 192, 194, and 21 IAC chapter 68 and 71.