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KDA and USDA APHIS issue orders for lactating dairy cattle movements

All lactating dairy cattle moving into and within Kansas will require permitting, due to H5N1.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

April 29, 2024

4 Min Read
dairy cows at feeder
To further protect the U.S. livestock industry, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced a federal order, requiring mandatory testing for interstate movement of dairy cattle, and mandating reporting of positive test results in livestock. effective today.Jennifer M. Latzke

Kansas state and federal animal health officials have issued new permitting and mandatory testing and reporting requirements for lactating dairy cattle in response to the continuing H5N1 influenza A virus that’s affected more than 20 dairies in eight states since mid-March.

Effective April 22, the Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Dr. Justin Smith issued an order requiring special permits to move lactating dairy cattle into and within the state of Kansas.

Then, on April 24, to further protect the U.S. livestock industry, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced a federal order, requiring mandatory testing for interstate movement of dairy cattle, and mandating reporting of positive test results in livestock. That federal order takes effect today, April 29.

Kansas movement permitting order

All lactating dairy cattle, regardless of age, intended for breeding and/or milking purposes, moving into and within Kansas will now require a certificate of veterinary inspection and a pre-movement permit. The only exception is for those moving directly to slaughter.

Veterinarians issuing CVIs must include a statement that the premises of origin has not had cows exhibit H5N1-consistent clinical signs in the last 30 days. According to the order, those symptoms include, but are not limited to: decreased milk production; decreased rumen activity; reduced appetite; thickened, discolored milk; lethargy; fever and/or dehydration.

If the veterinarian can’t affirm that statement, then a Kansas Department of Agriculture veterinarian will assess the risk of movement, and either deny the permit request or require the veterinarian to provide “non-detected test results” for H5N1 influenza A virus for all lactating dairy cattle included in the movement.

The CVI and permit order also includes lactating cows moving to different locations under the same ownership, according to a release issued by Kansas Dairy.

According to Kansas Dairy, Smith also says in regard to timing of dry cow movements, “based on what we know today, the milk secretion is the concern for exposure to the virus.” Therefore, if the cow is being dried off but still secreting milk, there is an opportunity for her to spread the virus through those secretions. So, the expectation is that she would move under a CVI and a permit — including those cows moving to a sale barn.

Smith also says current information shows that the virus seems to be disappearing from milk somewhere from 21 to 30 days post-clinical signs, but that time frame could change as more data are gathered and more is learned.

“Hopefully the order will be short-lived, but it will be in place until further notice,” according to Smith. “Once we can determine that Kansas dairies are no longer impacted and get enough epidemiological and testing information to better characterize the virus and routes of possible transmission, I foresee that we would remove the order.”

Read the full KDA order here at Commissioners+Order+on+Dairy+Cattle+Requirements+4_22_2024+(1).pdf.

USDA APHIS mandatory testing

Then, April 24, USDA APHIS announced a federal order now requiring mandatory testing for interstate movement of dairy cattle, effective April 29. The federal order also mandates laboratories and state veterinarians must report all positive influenza A nucleic acid detection or serology diagnostic results to USDA APHIS.

Before any interstate movement, lactating dairy cattle must have a negative test for influenza A virus at an approved National Animal Health Laboratory Network lab. If a dairy cow tests positive, the herd owner must provide epidemiological information and include animal movement tracing.

According to the order, so far, the only cattle affected are lactating cows, but requirements for other classes of dairy cattle may change as more information about the virus and its evolving risk profile are gathered.

“USDA has identified spread between cows within the same herd, spread from cows to poultry, spread between dairies associated with cattle movements, and cows without clinical signs that have tested positive,” according to the USDA release. “On April 16, APHIS microbiologists identified a shift in an H5N1 sample from a cow in Kansas that could indicate that the virus has an adaptation to mammals.” However, CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) further analysis of that specimen sequence showed that the substitution or shift that was first identified has already been seen in previous mammalian infections, and thus does not impact viral transmission.

The federal order also notes:

  • APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories found H5N1 in a lung tissue sample from an asymptomatic cull dairy cow that originated from an affected herd and did not enter the food supply.

  • The order is critical to increasing the information USDA APHIS gathers so that animal health professionals can better understand this disease.

  • Mandatory testing before interstate movement is intended to limit the disease’s spread.

  • Thus far, no changes to the virus have been found that would make it more transmissible to humans or between people. CDC believes the current risk to the public remains low.

  • Affected cows recover after supported care with little to no associated mortality.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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