About Bovine TB
Testing & movements
Animals that have an inconclusive skin test result at two consecutive tests (known as 2xIRs) are also classified as reactors. Read more about inconclusive reactors on the TB hub. Any reactors found during a skin test will be marked immediately using a DNA tag inserted into the animal’s ear. This is a special tag that takes a small tissue sample from the ear of the animal when inserted. This tissue sample is stored and can be DNA tested by APHA at random or when fraud is suspected, and cross checked against the DNA of the animal sent to slaughter. This ensures that the correct animal is compulsorily slaughtered.
For animals that are positive to the gamma test, the procedure is different. APHA will notify the keeper in writing of the ear tag numbers of animals that are positive to the test, and it is the keeper’s responsibility to identify and isolate these animals pending their removal to slaughter. The same applies in circumstances where animals that are classified as reactors as a result of later re-interpretation of a skin test by APHA. For example, an animal’s skin test result is clear at a test using standard interpretation, but the test is later re-interpreted using severe interpretation and the animal becomes a ‘severe’ reactor and is removed.
Reactors must be immediately isolated from the rest of the herd as far as practically possible to reduce the risk of spread of TB within the herd. If IRs are found at the same test they must be also be isolated, separately from any reactors if possible, as they will be re-tested. You should ensure that:
If you are unsure how best to isolate the affected animal in your situation, for example, a suckler cow with a calf at foot, please contact APHA for advice.
It is an important part of TB disease control that all eligible animals are TB tested.
Missing animals can extend the time that your herd is under TB restrictions so it’s important to make sure that all your records are up-to-date. If you claim Basic Farm Payment then it could affect your payments if discrepancies are not corrected and TB testing becomes overdue.
As well as some more general documents, you will receive a ‘reactor pack’ in the post which contains information and guidance on what you need to do next. You will also receive a ‘valuation pack’ with the valuation of your reactor animals and documents relating to their removal to the slaughterhouse.
Automatic Animal and Public Health Restrictions after a Reactor or Inconclusive Reactor is found at an Official Diagnostic Test for Tuberculosis (TB) in Cattle, Buffalo or Bison
New Breakdown Letter – Reactors or Inconclusive Reactors found
Notice of Intent to Slaughter Bovine Animals
Licence Authorising General Movement of Cattle to a Licensed Slaughterhouse
Notice Requiring Cleansing and Disinfection