We know that experiencing a TB breakdown in your cattle herd can be particularly stressful. This section provides information about what to expect if your herd suffers a TB breakdown, including TB testing, compensation arrangements and trading options whilst under movement restrictions.
What is a TB breakdown?A TB breakdown is when a herd loses its officially TB free (OTF) status due to bovine TB being suspected or confirmed. There are several reasons why a herd might lose its OTF status.
- One or more animals testing positive to a TB skin test (known as reactors).
- One or more animals having two consecutive inconclusive skin test results (known as 2xIRs).
- One or more animals testing positive to a private interferon-gamma blood test.
- One or more slaughterhouse cases. This is when lesions typical of TB are found in the carcase of an animal routinely sent to slaughter (i.e. they are not reactors, IRs, or animals removed for disease control purposes).
- One or more report cases. This is when lesions typical of TB are found in the carcase of an animal sent to a knacker's yard or hunt kennels.
- One or more clinical cases. This is when a live animal shows possible signs of TB, which can include weakness, lethargy, difficulty breathing, chronic coughing and weight loss. Signs of TB in cattle in the UK are very rare due to the frequency of surveillance testing.
A herd can also lose its OTF status if TB testing becomes overdue, so it is important to keep up to date with statutory testing.