Our team of vets and ATTs are here to perform any of your TB testing needs across the East Midlands. In 2022, our busy TB team tested over 130,000 cattle!
When your herd is due a TB test, you will be notified by APHA. Ultimately, it is your own responsibility to arrange your TB test. However, as we also receive the same information, we will make our best efforts to help you achieve test dates within the allocated time frame.
The TB testing diary is co-ordinated by Vicky Fowler, based at our Melton branch (01664 567481). TB tests themselves will be carried out by one of our team of vets or ATTs. The days spent TB testing can be long and difficult for our team, so please help us by presenting all cattle in practical and safe handling facilities.
For the purposes of TB surveillance, England is split into three regions: the Low Risk Area, The Edge Area and the High Risk Area. Different rules on frequency of testing, and animal movements apply depending on your regions risk level. Some of these are summarised below.
Newest TB Update: Post Movement Testing in the Edge Area
As of August 2023, cattle moving from higher TB incidence areas of England and Wales into the annual surveillance area of England are to undergo post movement testing. This includes, cattle moving from six monthly testing parts of the Edge Area and HRA; movements directly from farm and those via markets; cattle returning from shows (unless exempt). Post movement testing will need to be completed 60-120 days after arrival on the holding and must be arranged and paid for by the farmer unless on annual test of other APHA test carried out in the window.
Radial TB Testing (RAD)
A Radial TB Test is allocated by APHA when the herd is within the local area of a holding which has a confirmed TB outbreak. Radial testing applies to those in the low risk or annual testing parts of the edge area. Following APHA identification, these herd will be required to undertake an immediate test on all cattle on the holding aged 42 days and older. Radial TB tests are paid for by the government. If the initial radial test is clear, your herd will require another radial test 6 months later (RAD6). Herds in the Edge Area will then return back to normal routine testing. In the LRA, herd will require a further radial test (RAD12) before returning to usual routine testing frequency. Additionally, if your herd is in the LRA and requires radial testing, you will also need to pre-movement cattle for the duration of the radial testing.
IRs are immediately placed under movement restrictions and must be isolated until retested. If the IR tests clear at the re-test, it is known as a ‘resolved IR’. If the IR fails the retest (positive or inconclusive for a second time), it is treated as a reactor and must be slaughtered. Movement restrictions are then placed on the whole herd. Resolved IRs still pose a TB risk. Therefore, all resolved IRs in the HRA and Edge Area (and in TB breakdown herds in the LRA) are restricted to the holding in which they were found for the rest of their life. The only permitted movements for such animals are to a slaughterhouse or Approved Finishing Unit (AFU). There is the option of a private interferon-gamma blood test to release resolved IRs in officially TB free herds from their restrictions. ***subject to securing approval from APHA
Private Interferon Gamma Assay blood tests
In the LRA and Edge Area, ‘private’ Interferon Gamma Assay blood tests can be carried out in lesion and/or culture positive TB breakdowns. However, certain circumstances apply, and permission for these tests must always be sought in advance from APHA. Contact our TB Co-ordinator Vicky for more information, or ask your vet.
Herds in the Edge Area of England
The majority of you will fall into the Edge Area: perhaps Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, or Warwickshire. Counties falling into the Edge Area of England are required to carry out annual or six-monthly testing. The Edge Area is the buffer zone between the High Risk Area (HRA) and the Low Risk Area (LRA). The incidence of bovine TB in the majority of the Edge Area is lower than in the HRA, however there is quite a wide variation between counties. As well as annual or six-monthly testing (depending on area), cattle keepers must also comply with pre-movement testing requirements and post-movement testing of cattle bought in from the herds in the HRA and six-monthly testing parts of the Edge Area.
Testing frequency of counties in the Edge Area:
Annual: parts of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, parts of Berkshire, parts of Hampshire, and East Sussex.
Six monthly: Cheshire, parts of Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, parts of Berkshire, parts of Hampshire.
The TB Hub website is excellent for all things TB. We highly recommend familiarising yourselves with the site, requirements for your region and the disease itself. If you have any queries, please contact our TB co-ordinator Vicky at the Melton branch.