Together with the help of producers, Agriculture Victoria animal health staff work to uphold animal health and welfare standards.
The goal is to protect animal and human health, meet community animal welfare expectations, and to ensure markets remain accessible and open. For markets to remain accessible, Victoria must continually prove to trading partners that its animals are free of the devastating diseases found in many other countries.
One of the many ways animal health staff and programs support producers is through the well-established Victorian Significant Disease Investigation (SDI) program.
The SDI program aims to ensure the early detection of animal diseases that might impact on trade, regional or national productivity, public health, or biodiversity, through subsidising the cost of investigating significant disease events.
For a disease to be considered 'significant', one or more of the following criteria must be met:
- Unusual signs of disease, including high numbers of affected or dying animals, or fast spread of the disease
- An initial investigation by a veterinarian fails to establish a diagnosis including when veterinary treatment does not produce the expected response, or
- There are signs of disease suggesting a possible impact on trade of the viability of a livestock business, industry or region.
This program is not for cases where there is a genuine suspicion of an emergency animal disease, such as anthrax or Hendra virus infection. These will be investigated by Agriculture Victoria staff as a priority.
The Victorian SDI program provides subsidies to:
- Veterinarians for the initial investigation of a significant disease outbreak and, in some cases, follow-up investigations
- Cattle, sheep, goat and pig owners for costs associated with engaging a veterinarian to undertake a significant disease investigation, establish a diagnosis and provide treatment.
To be eligible for these subsidies, the investigation must be undertaken by a private veterinarian and must be approved by an Agriculture Victoria district veterinary officer.
Where a private veterinarian is unable to attend, Agriculture Victoria staff are available to discuss the case and help to arrange an investigation if a significant disease event is suspected.
For more about the Significant Disease Investigation program, visit https://go.vic.gov.au/HT4bMl