Information for Veterinary Practitioners

​​​​​​​​​​​​If you suspect the presence of an emergency animal disease call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 

1800 675 888 - all hours - and leave a message.​

​​​​​The purpose of this web page is to provide veterinary practitioners in Tasmania with ready access to information and resources for specific animal health programs. The page may be linked to national animal biosecurity or disease response sites from time to time. 

If you think we can assist in investigating disease incidents, accessing disease surveillance training, or there is just something out of the ordinary, please give your regional veterinary officer a call during business hours Monday to Friday: 

South: 0484 025 383/ 0497 354 091/ 0447 329 991

​North:  0419 258 127  /  0457 045 997​

North West: 0428 253 828​

Biosecurity Tasmania Statewide: 03 6165 3777  /

Actions to ta​ke if veterinarians​ suspect notifiable diseases

Notifiable diseases in Tasmania are those that are 'New' or 'Unknown' or published on the Biosecurity Tasmania website. The definitions and reporting obligations attached to each type of notifiable disease are summarised below and are set out in the  Biosecurity Act 2019 (previously the now repealed Animal Health Act 1995).​

'New' disease - means a disease not on notifiable lists but that the person concerned has reasonable grounds to believe or believes is not at that time known to occur in Tasmania. Any person including a veterinarian who knows or has reason to believe that a new disease is present within Tasmania must notify an Authorised Officer of that presence or possible presence as soon as possible.

'Unknown' disease - means a disease whose type the person concerned does not recognise or is not certain of, or whose cause the person concerned does not recognise or is not certain of. The action to be taken in the event of an unknown disease is as follows

(1) if the owner knows or has reason to believe that an unknown disease is causing an unusual level or manifestation of disease or number of deaths in that group of animals, the owner must -

(a) as soon as possible -

     (i) engage a veterinary surgeon to investigate the disease and its cause; or

     (ii) notify an Authorised Officer of the presence or possible presence of an unknown disease; and

(b) if possible, isolate that group of animals. 

(2) If, after due investigation, a veterinary surgeon knows or has reason to believe a disease to be an unknown disease, the veterinary surgeon must notify an Authorised Officer of the presence or suspected presence of the unknown disease -

(a) as soon as possible; and

(b) in the quickest manner practicable.

Notifiable Animal Diseases​ include as a minimum those diseases declared on the National list of notifiable animal diseases National list of notifiable animal diseases​.Other diseases are included that represent specific risks to Tasmania. Notifiable Animal Diseases apply to terrestrial and aquatic species and are broadly divided into two lists: Exotic and Emergency Animal Diseases (previously referred to as List A diseases), and Endemic Animal Diseases (previously referred to as List B diseases). The lists are declared by the Minister and are published on the NRE website. The reporting obligations pertaining to the Exotic and Emergency diseases, and the Notifiable Endemic Animal Diseases are as follows: 

Exotic and Emergency Animal Diseases (previously referred to as List A diseases)- any person who knows or suspects that an incidence of an exotic or emergency animal disease has occurred in Tasmania must, as soon as possible and in the quickest manner practicable - 

(a) notify an Authorised Officer of that incidence or possible incidence if the person knows or suspects that an Authorised Officer has not or may not have been notified of the incidence; and

(b) notify the owner of the infected animal or other thing of that incidence or possible incidence if -

(i) the person knows or suspects that the owner does not or may not know of that incidence or possible incidence; and
(ii) it is reasonable in the circumstances for the person to notify the owner.

Notifiable Endemic Animal Diseases (previously referred to as List B diseases)- any person who knows or has reason to believe that an incidence of a notifiable endemic animal disease has occurred in Tasmania must notify an Authorised Officer of that incidence as soon as possible if - 

(a) the person knows or suspects that an Authorised Officer has not or may not have been notified of the incidence; and 

(b) the Chief Veterinary Officer has not granted an exemption in respect of that incidence; and

(c) an Authorised Officer has not granted an exemption in respect of that incidence.

An Authorised Officer - is the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), the Deputy CVO or an Authorised Officer appointed under the Biosecurity Act 2019 (previously the now repealed Animal Health Act 1995) and usually includes Government Veterinary Officers and Biosecurity Officers and Inspectors.

Submitting samples to the NRE Tas Animal Health Laboratory, or any other laboratory without separate advice to an Authorised Officer, is NOT equivalent to notifying an Authorised Officer of a suspicion of notifiable disease.

Report suspect notifiable disease by calling the:
Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 1800 675 888 - all hours

If you are asked to leave a message PLEASE DO SO including name, number and suspect issue. Your issue will be referred to a government veterinarian, who will call you back.

You may find it helpful to use the form Record of Animal Disease Event (ROADE) to collect your observations and thoughts before calling or while waiting for the call.​

 Record Of Animal Disea​se Event Form (PDF 310Kb)

The Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSV​ETPLAN) and the Australian Aquatic Veterinary Emergency Plan (AQUAVETPLAN) provide the nationally agreed response policies to various emergency animal diseases. Tasmania, like other States and Territories, has first response plans that are consistent with AUSVETPLAN and AQUAVETPLAN for notifiable terrestrial and aquatic animal diseases.​

Emergency Animal Disease: A field guide for Aust​ralian veterinarians (‘the Blue Book’)​​​​

​The latest edition of the Emergency Animal Diseases: A field guide for Australian veterinarians​ was released in September 2019. This free, updated guide is now electronic (in both .doc and ‘pdf formats) and addresses high priority syndromes and diseases of domestic terrestrial animals and complements AUSVETPLAN.

The field guide is not a textbook but rather focusses on information veterinarians need when confronted with disease situations in the field. It is intended the guide will be a ‘living’ document – thus other syndromes and disease chapters will be added from time to time.​ 

National Significant Disease Investigation Program (NSDIP)

The NSDI Program subsidises veterinary p​ractitioners who investigate and report on outbreaks of significant disease incidents in livestock and other species. The program is managed by Animal Health ​​​Australia on behalf of Governments and industry, and coordinated by State and Territory animal health authorities. 

Veterinar​​y practitioners play a key role in general surveillance in Australia, providing expertise for evaluating, clinically investigating and reporting outbreaks of significant disease in animals. However, full investigations are often limited by competing priorities and commercial realities such as the low economic value of individual animals relative to the cost of veterinary services and competing sources of income within a veterinary practice.

Veterinary practitioners eligible for this program are registered, non-government veterinarians engaged in clinical veterinary medicine, including veterinary practitioners in wildlife parks.

Please note: as support for disease events involving wildlife is administered by the Environment, Heritage & Land  Division, in the first instance please contact Wildlife Services on (03) 6165 4305 or email

As an eligible veterinary practitioner, if you believe you’re dealing with a significant disease event, contact your regional Veterinary Officer to discuss whether the case fits the criteria for support. 

Once approval from a Senior Veterinary Officer has been obtained, further details will be provided via a Request for Investigation. 

You will need to provide a case report to the Agency's Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Branch, after which the agreed payment will be made upon receipt of an invoice. 

​It is recommended that case reports are provided using the Record of ​Animal Disease Event​ form. Contact details for approvals are listed below.

  Record of Animal Disease Event Form   (112Kb)​​ 

More details of the program as applied in Tasmania can be found in the procedures document below:

 Procedures for Veterinary Practitioners (PDF 896Kb)​

​​The NSDIP also subsidises the cost of laboratory analyses if submitted to the Animal Health Laboratory​ (165 Westbury Road, Prospect, TAS 7250, Tel. 03 6777 2111, or email

In Tasmania, the laboratory costs directly associated with NSDIP approved investigations are usually paid for directly by the Agency and there are no laboratory costs to the owner for approved submissions associated with the NSDIP case. Reimbursement for laboratory costs may be available if the laboratory invoices the submitting veterinarian directly.

Cases where necropsy is conducted at the​ Animal Health Laboratory are now eligible for inclusion in the NSDIP. In these cases, the practitioner provides case history and any additional information required by the approving officer. The owner will be charged for the necropsy and the program will cover laboratory testing associated with the necropsy and any other approved follow-ups. 


A maximum of $700+GST is available to the veterinarian for approved domesticated animal species investigations. The subsidies are applied as follows:

  • Straight-forward single visit investigation without necropsy $250+GST.

  • Follow-up investigation without necropsy, additional $250+GST.

  • Where a necropsy or very time-consuming investigation is conducted $450+GST may be approved.

  • Laboratory cost reimbursement of up to $200+GST may be available if the laboratory invoices the submitting veterinarian directly. 

An eligible signific​​ant disease event is:

  • atypical morbidity, mortality and/or rate of disease spread above the expected baseline.

  • clinical signs consistent with an exotic disease without a clear alternative diagnosis.

  • incidents where an initial investigation fails to establish a diagnosis however findings suggest the potential for significant impacts to trade or market access, farm productivity, public health, or wildlife biodiversity or conservation.​

​Important: Where there is genuine suspicion of a Notifiable Animal Disease, it is the veterinary practitioner's legal responsibility to notify their State or Territory animal health authority (as described above in 'Actio​​ns to take if veterinarians suspect notifiable diseases').

​NSDIP Cont​​acts

Livestock - Regional Veterinary Officers

North: Sue Martin: 0419 258 127  /  Helen Hawkins: 0457 045 997 / Megan Rowles 0492 360 605

NWest: Debbie Grull: 0428 253 828
South: Jennifer Voss 0484 025 383 / Tahlia Royce 0497 354 091 / Emma Watkins: 0447 329 991

If your regional VO is unable to answer, please leave a message including your contact details so they can return your call, and/or try calling another VO.

If the matter is urgent please call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 1800 675 888 (all hours) and leave a message.

​Wildlife He​​alth Officer

Wildlife Services on (03) 6165 4305 or email

​Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious, increasing threat to human and animal health. The Australian Animal Sector National Antimicrobial Resistance Plan 2018 includes a focus on nationally consistent antibiotic prescribing guidelines:

 Animal Sector National Antimicro​bial Resistance Plan (PDF 911Kb)

Evidence-based Australian Veterinary Prescribing Guidelines have been published for an increasing range of species, including Antimicrobial Prescribing Guidelines for Pigs​.  

The Australian Govern​​ment web page AMR and animal health in Australia ​provides detailed information for all sectors including veterinarians.

Substances not permitted for use on food-producing​ an​imals

These prohibited substances are listed on the website of the Australian Pe​​sticides and Veterinary Medicines  Authority (APVMA).

In addition to the prohibited substances listed on the APVMA website, Hormone Growth Promotants (HGPs) are not permitted for use in Tasmania. Also, a veterinary chemical product that contains one or more of the following substances may not be used on, or fed to, stock or horses in Tasmania (unless registered for use in that species): 

  • resperine;

  • nitrofuran;

  • diethylstilbestrol;

  • any ester or salt of diethylstilbestrol;

  • chloramphenicol;

  • any salt or derivative of chloramphenicol;

  • clenbuterol and related beta-agonists;

  • any compound containing sulfonamide but not including the following compounds:

    (i) sulfadimidine

    (ii) sulfadiazine

    (iii) sulfatroxazole

    (iv) sulfaquinoxaline.

There are a number of situations where certain veterinary chemicals may only be used on a single food species animal. They include unregistered products, off-label use contrary to a restraint statement on the label and agricultural chemical products. 

Products labelled only for oral or topical use may not be used for injection.​

Additional information is available in the Code of Practice for the Supply and Use of ​Veterinary Chemical Products which is incorporated in Tasmanian legislation, or through Agvet Chemical Contacts. 

Accreditation Program for Australian Veterinarians (APAV)

APAV is a national program managed by Animal Health Australia designed to integrate private veterinary practitioners into the national animal health system to support the international standing of Australia's animal health service capability. 

The program aims to have an internationally recognised process for accrediting non-government veterinarians for involvement in government and industry animal disease programs.

The accreditation process involves: 

  • enrolment and completion of the initial on-line APAV training

  • payment of a fee and approval by the Chief Veterinary Officer 

You should read the APAV Handbook before embarking on the process to ensure you qualify and understand the responsibilities of a veterinarian accredited for the program.

Animal Health Australia's ​​​​Accreditation Program for Australian Veterinarians web page provides information to get you started.

Animal Health & Welfare ​News

The Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Branch sends out an email newsletter to all registered veterinarians four times a year. If you are not receiving the newsletter and would like to, please email  

In addition to the AHW News, email alerts relating to items of immediate interest to practitioners are sent out as required. If you feel you have something of general interest to colleagues please let us know.

Training and Information Sessions for Private Pra​​ctitioners

  • ​NTSE Surveillance Program sampling practice

  • Animal Disease Investigation training

  • Poultry Post Mortem Refresher webinar

For further information on training courses contact your regional Veteriary Officer or:
Debbie Grull: 0428 253 828 /​

​​Tasmanian Livestock Health Monitoring Network

The Tasmanian Livestock Health Monitoring Report commenced as a pilot project in 2018-'19 which confidentially gathered information on diseases and conditions in livestock in Tasmania, with some emphasis on sheep and southern Tasmania.
Information regarding diseases affecting sheep, cattle and goats was gathered from a voluntary network of producers and participating veterinarians.

After the success of the pilot program, monthly Livestock Health Monitoring Reports continue to provide details of conditions seen each month, with recommended prevention, treatment, biosecurity advice or measures. 

These could be a useful resource for veterinarians investigating disease in livestock. A new project is to build on the achievements of the initial pilot.​​

FFor more information about this project, or if you would like to participate in monitoring, please contact:

Private vet Bruce Jackson: 0407 872 520 /

Transmissible spongiform enc​ephalopathy freedom assurance program (TSEFAP)

Australia is currently free of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) including bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and scrapie. The TSE freedom assurance program (TSEFAP)  is aimed at maintaining this disease-free status, as well as ensuring that there are measures in place to prevent TSE-infected tissues from entering the food chain, in the event that TSE was detected in Australia. 

Animal Health Australia manages the TSEFAP on behalf of government and industry. Please see Animal Health Australia's TSE Freedom Assurance Project web page for more information.

State and Territory animal health authorities provide local coordination for the various surveillance and inspection aspects of the program. In Tasmania, TSEFAP is coordinated by the Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Branch of NRE Tas.

There are four operational components to the program. Private veterinary practitioners are mainly involved in the surveillance component:

  • Livestock surveillance (the NTSESP and any other required animal health surveillance)

  • Ruminant feeding restrictions (Ruminant Feed Ban)  

  • Imported animal surveillance (including zoo animals) and 'buy-back' schemes for imported cattle

  • Research and development

National TSE Surveillanc​​e Program (NTSESP)

This sub-program supports Australia's current BSE status as 'negligible risk' for the purposes of international trade. 

The NTSESP contributes to the early detection system of TSE in cattle, sheep and goats. This is achieved through the collection and analyses of brain and spinal cord tissues, as well as other diagnostic specimens, from cattle, sheep and goat  cases that have signs clinically consistent with bovine spongiform encephalopathy or scrapie.

Veterinary practitioners contribute to the NTSESP by identifying and sampling clinically consistent animals. Incentives are paid to both the owner of the animal and the veterinary practitioner upon the submission of appropriate diagnostic material, clinical details and history.

A print friendly PDF version of the relevant forms are attached below for downloading:

 Checklist for TSE surveillance program – Cattle, Sheep & Goats (PDF 131Kb)

NTSESP Post-Mor​tem Report   (123Kb) (write “TSE exclusion” under Test Required)​

 AHL Laboratory Submission form (PDF 100Kb)

 NTSESP O​wn​​er Ta​x In​voice   (76Kb)  (owner reimbursement available for cattle and sheep only)

Please submit tax invoices for professional services* to the state coordinators. Incentive fees are provided below and do not include GST:

Collect and document*
​100 (+GST)
100 (+GST)
​125 (+GST)
Veterinary fee rebate* 
240 (+GST)
120 (+GST)
​Producer incentive
​330 (+GST)
​110 (+GST)
​30 (+GST)
​30 (+GST)
​30 (+GST) 

A clinical case for inclusion in the NTSESP must be:

  • ​Live Examination - the animal must be examined while alive by the submitting veterinarian to independently establish the clinical state prior to euthanasia and sampling, and;

  • Age restrictions:​​

    • Cattle: 1.5-9 years

    • Sheep: 1.5-5 years

    • Goats: 1-5-5 years

  • ​Clinical Consistency: refractory to any treatment administered and displaying a minimum of two (2) progressive neurological and behavioural changes listed on the Clinical History and Post-Mortem Report and  consistent with BSE. For specific clinical syndrome descriptions, please refer to Animal Health Australia's Surveillance of TSE and review the current NTSESP Field Guidelines ​

     National TSE Surveillance Program - Clinical History and Post-Mortem Report (PDF 723Kb)

Specimen submissions

The specimens required for submission are:

  • ​​Cattle

    i) whole brain fixed in 10% buffered formalin

    ii) 2-3 cm of cervical spinal cord and/or medulla caudal to the obex unfixed but chilled (4 degrees) or frozen (-20 degrees)

    iii) relevant diagnostic specimens that will support an alternative diagnosis (review the current NTSESP Field Guidelines).

  • Sheep and goats 

    i) Whole brain fixed in 10% buffered formalin
    ii) 2-3 cm of cervical spinal cord and/or medulla caudal to the obex, unfixed but chilled (4°C) or frozen (-20°C)
    iii) The dorsal (top) third of the cerebellum sampled via a coronal/horizontal approach (caution remove only the top third of the          cerebellum as deeper sampling may compromise histological evaluation) 
    iv) Relevant diagnostic specimens that will support an alternative diagnosis (review the current NTSESP Field Guidelines)

Please note: The National TSE surveillance program does NOT subsidise differential diagnoses testing in goats. Please discuss with your TSE coordinator to see whether additional support may be available through other significant disease investigation programs.​

Specimens may only be submitted to the Animal Health Laboratory:


Animal Health Laboratory 

165 Westbury Road

Prospect TAS 7250

​Phone: 03 6777 2111


Veterinarians are advised to contact Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Branch to ensure that a potential case meets the eligibility criteria for Tasmania.​

They should also check that their submission has met sample and documentation quality criteria before invoicing the program.​​

Incentives are not paid to the owner or veterinarian if the case is not eligible. This includes unsatisfactory samples and incomplete documentation.

​Animal Health​​ Australia's Surv​​eillanc​e ​​​of TSEs web page has training information, and the National Guidlines for Field Operations describe the operational aspects of NTSESP.​​

A useful summary of brain removal and sampling techniques for veterinarians is available for download (© Western Australian Agriculture Authority (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development):

 Brain Removal for Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy sampling (PDF 840Kb)

The checklist below is provided to assist in the preparation of samples for submission to the Animal Health Laboratory​:

Checklist for TSE surveillance program – Cattle, Sheep & Goats (PDF 188Kb) 

Arrange hand-on traini​​ng with Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Branch by emailing:

Ruminant Feed Ban​​

Australia​ has an inclusive national ban on the feeding to all ruminants of all meals, including meat and bone meal (MBM), derived from all vertebrates, including fish and birds. 

These materials are referred to as 'Restricted Animal Materials' or 'RAM'. 

The ban is enforced by regular inspections scheduled according to risk and take into account quality assurance schemes that operate within Australia's ruminant livestock industries. 

This ban acts as a fail-safe control measure to rule out the possibility that feeding will amplify the BSE agent in the unlikely event that it is introduced to Australia.

In Tasmania the specific controls are contained in the Biosecurity Regulations 2022.

The ​Australian Rumina​nt Feed Ban​ page on the Animal Health Australia website has further information.

​​Other useful links and contacts​​​


Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Branch

13 St Johns Avenue,
New Town, TAS, 7008.