Guidance

How to deal with TB in non-bovine animals

How to manage tuberculosis (TB) in your non-bovine animals, when you can move them, and how to get compensation if you slaughter them.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious respiratory disease found in mammals.

This guide applies to TB infection in domestic non-bovine animals (as well as those kept as pets), and includes:

  • pigs
  • sheep
  • goats
  • captive deer managed by a keeper
  • camelids (llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco)

There’s separate guidance for TB in cats, dogs and other domestic pets.

How to spot TB

Signs of TB in animals are:

  • coughing or breathing problems
  • loss of condition
  • loss of appetite
  • debilitating disease
  • reduced milk yield (for dairy animals)
  • seeing no improvement from a respiratory infection after antibiotic treatment

You should get advice from your vet if you think any of your animals have TB.

How TB spreads

Animals to animals

TB can spread to your domestic animals from:

  • infected cattle
  • infected wild animals, such as wild deer and badgers
  • infected non-bovine animals introduced to your herd

It can spread directly from animal to animal, or indirectly through contaminated:

  • manure
  • urine
  • bedding
  • feed
  • water
  • slurry
  • equipment

Animals to people

TB can spread from infected animals to humans if people:

  • breathe in animal breath
  • touch animal waste (urine or faeces)
  • have cut skin and touch animals or carcasses
  • eat dairy products made from unpasteurised milk from infected dairy animals

If you suspect TB

You must immediately contact APHA if you or your vet suspect a live animal or carcase is infected with TB.

After contacting APHA, you should keep the animal or carcase on your premises isolated as far as is practical from other livestock until APHA carry out an investigation.

APHA will visit as soon as possible and examine the animals or carcases, and test and take samples as required.

APHA usually put movement restrictions on premises until they determine that TB is not present.

The vet’s tests

You must allow an APHA vet to test your animals for TB.

For non-bovine animals the vet uses the tuberculin skin test. The vet injects tuberculin into the animal’s skin and measures how the skin has reacted after about 3 days.

In species where skin testing is difficult such as pigs and park deer, the results of abattoir post-mortem examinations may be taken into consideration when APHA decide on lifting restrictions.

APHA has powers in England to require the TB testing of all non-bovine animals. If you don’t allow the APHA vet to test your animals, movement restrictions will not be lifted.

After the tests are completed (this may involve repeat rounds of testing) the vet will confirm whether the animals have TB and whether the restrictions can be lifted.

If TB is found

APHA has statutory powers in England to slaughter and remove livestock of any species that test positive for TB.

Movement restrictions

You’ll need to restrict the movement of your animals until APHA is satisfied that TB is no longer on your farm.

Vaccination and treatment

Don’t use antimicrobial drugs, e.g. antibiotics or antiviral drugs. There are no vaccines approved in the UK for the vaccination of animals (except badgers) against TB.

Milk

You must not supply milk from infected animals for human consumption, and you should not consume it yourself.

Compensation for slaughtered animals (in England)

You’ll get statutory compensation payments for all animals removed.

The amount you’ll get depends on:

  • the species
  • the sex of the animal
  • the age and weight of the animal on the day you’re served notice of its slaughter
  • whether it’s used for breeding or not

Camelids

Category Compensation paid for each animal (£)
Breeding males or breeding females over 18 months old 1,500
Non-breeding animals over 18 months old 750
Animals 18 months old or younger 750

Deer

Category Compensation paid for each animal (£)
Breeding males 1,500
Female and non-breeding male animals 400

Goats

Category Compensation paid for each animal (£)
Animals 1 year old or younger 80
Non-breeding animals over 1 year old 160
Breeding females over 1 year old 250
Breeding males over 1 year old 350

Pigs

Category Compensation paid for each animal (£)
Animals weighing less than 25kg (‘suckler’) 30
Animals weighing between 25kg and 35kg (‘weaner’) 40
Animals weighing more than 35kg (‘grower’ or ‘finisher’) 90
Breeding females (‘gilt’ or ‘sow’) 250
Breeding males 350

Sheep

Category Compensation paid for each animal (£)
Animals 1 year old or younger 80
Breeding females over 1 year old 130
Breeding males over 1 year old 350

If you get approval from APHA, you can choose to slaughter your animals at your own expense and keep any salvage value. This applies to all species.

Day-to-day disease control

Ask your vet for advice to reduce the risk of introducing TB to your animals. See the disease prevention for livestock and poultry keepers guidance.

Moving your animals

You should keep a record of animals moving on and off your premises including animals that go to events, e.g. livestock shows or if they’re moved for mating.

Precautionary tests

You should consider seeking APHA approval to privately test animals for TB before you bring them on to your premises.

APHA can ask to test your animals for TB if:

  • during routine abattoir meat inspection of your animals suspect lesions have tested positive for TB
  • the bacterium that causes TB (M. bovis) has been found in laboratory samples of your animals
  • TB has been found in other groups of animals kept on your farm e.g. cattle or in animals kept on neighbouring premises
  • animals have moved to your premises from a place where TB has been confirmed (tracings)

You don’t pay for these tests - the government covers the costs.

Published 4 June 2015
Last updated 2 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. The section 'Compensation for slaughtered animals (in England)' has been updated. It now gives payment rates for statutory compensation for pigs, sheep, goats, captive deer and camelids.
  2. Added details on TB testing intervals for the different animal species.
  3. First published.