DES MOINES — Veterinarians licensed in Iowa will have a new training program to learn identification and responses to foreign animal diseases.

The IowaFADefense program will teach veterinarians how to rapidly detect, respond to and contain foreign animal diseases affecting livestock and poultry. The program will also increase the number of veterinarians who are trained and able to assist the Iowa Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Agriculture in responding to a foreign animal disease outbreak.

“If a foreign animal disease breaches the borders of the United States, it could be devastating to Iowa’s agriculture-based economy,” said Mike Naig, Iowa’s secretary of agriculture. “It will take a quick, coordinated response from state, federal and private animal health experts to mitigate the spread of the disease. That’s why we’re hosting a training program for private veterinarians who would be an essential part of a foreign animal disease response if the need arises.”

Veterinarians who participate in the IowaFADefense program will learn how to diagnose foreign animal diseases, assist the state and federal departments of agriculture with foreign animal disease investigations, teach farm staff how to collect surveillance samples during an outbreak, work with their clients to enhance on-farm biosecurity, improve on-farm record-keeping strategies to quickly facilitate foreign animal disease investigations, and conduct a small-scale epidemiologic investigation on a farm. African Swine Fever, Classical Swine Fever, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Virulent Newcastle Disease are included in the IowaFADefense program curriculum.

The program is entirely online and taught through a combination of webinars and interactive activities as well as modules and video demonstrations. In-person meetings may be added in the future.

Veterinarians who complete the entire program will earn 19 hours of continuing education credits. To participate, veterinarians must register by June 5, 2020, at iowafadresponse.com.

The IowaFADefense program is free to Iowa veterinarians and is funded through the state’s foreign animal disease preparedness and response fund. For more information about the IowaFADefense program, call 515-281-8588 or email animalindustry@iowaagriculture.gov.

Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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