If you suspect that animals in your care are infected with a serious infectious disease, you are obligated to immediately report it to a veterinarian. According to current laws, guidelines and inspection programs you, as an animal owner, are responsible for the disease control on your farm.
An Epizootic disease is a serious infectious disease that may constitute a threat to both people’s and animals’ health. There is a special law to facilitate combating these diseases, and stop further infection, and the law regulates how to act in suspicious cases.
Obligation to report certain animal diseases and infectious agents
If you are taking care of an animal and have even a vague suspicion that it has been infected with one of these diseases, you are obliged to immediately report it to a veterinarian.
You can find a list of all included diseases in the Epizootic Disease Act epizootilagen (pdf from the Swedish Board of Agriculture).
There are also many other infectious animal diseases. Some of them are under the obligation to report for veterinarians while others are not. For example, veterinarians must notify the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the County Administrative Board if they suspect Salmonella.
The occurrence of animal diseases in the county
Current data on the occurrence of animal diseases in the county, and in other parts of Sweden, can be found on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website.
Descriptions of the diseases, and information about current cases of animal diseases, can also be found on the National Veterinary Institute’s website.
Brief information on reported equine diseases is published on the Swedish Trotting Association’s website.
Who is responsible for the disease control?
The Swedish Board of Agriculture has the overall national responsibility for disease control and for combating infectious animal diseases.
The County Administrative Board and the County Medical Officer share the regional responsibility for preventive disease control of animals in the county. The County Medical Officer knows, and informs, about current disease cases in the county.
The County Administrative Board cooperates with disease control specialists, the County Medical Officer, the Swedish Board of Agriculture, the Public Health Agency, the National Food Administration and the National Veterinarian Institute as well as with veterinarians operating in the field and county municipalities.
Serious outbreaks of infectious animal diseases
If the county is struck by an outbreak of a serious infectious animal disease, a so called Epizootic disease, the County Administrative Board coordinates the combative efforts. We are also responsible for ensuring compliance with the decisions made in relation to various efforts to combat the disease.
Single cases of infected pets
When single cases of infected pets are found, and there is a risk that the animal may transfer the disease to humans, the municipal environment and health protection committee is responsible for taking proper action for disease control.
Compensation for additional costs
If your animals are infected by salmonella, you may get a compensation from the government to cover the value of your animal and loss of production as well as to cover costs for clean-up, disinfection and special butcher routines. You may also get compensated for other infectious diseases (this is regulated in the Epizootic Disease Act). Read more about cost compensation on the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s web site.
If you own a horse, you need to make sure it has a passport. All horses in the EU are required to have a valid passport, no matter their age or breed. The County Administrative Board is responsible for the supervision and we may require you to obtain a passport for your horse. If the horse does not have a passport, you may be prosecuted.
The purpose of the passport is both to ensure that medications, and residues from medications, do not end up in our food products, and to support the efforts of limiting infection by serious infectious animal diseases.
The breeder’s organisations issue the horse passports. If the horse dies, or are put down, you need to get the passport voided by contacting the breeder organisation that issued your horse’s passport in the first place.
Hygiene regulations for all animal husbandry and health care establishments
Since 2013, there is a special hygiene legislation that, among other things, requires the possibility for people to wash and disinfect their hands when inside an animal facility. These rules do not apply if you only keep animals in your home.
If you have a visitor facility, where people are offered opportunities of direct contact with animals, you also have to have visitor rules and if you offer three or more visiting opportunities per year you must notify the activities to the County Administrative Board. This also applies if the animals are brought to people, as, for example, in the case of support dogs.
Special rules apply to animal health care establishments to prevent the spread of infections in the health care system.
Handling of animal waste
To prevent the spread of infection from animal waste, so called animal by-products, there is a comprehensive regulatory framework on how animal waste may be used and handled. For example, you may not feed pigs or birds food waste that contain any traces of meat or any other products from animals. On the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s website you can find more information about how to handle animal waste.
The County Administrative Board inspects transports of animal by-products. To transport such material you must be registered with The Swedish Board of Agriculture.