Recommendations for biosecurity

1. Avoid moving breeding stock

Moving live animals between one sameby to another will pose a risk of disease transmission. We recommend that movement of breeding stock between areas where herds are not naturally intermingled is restricted or limited.

2. Avoid disease transmission during transport

Animals that are transported are at risk of contracting disease, both from close contact with other animals on the transport, and from contamination of the vehicle itself from previous transports. Transport vehicles always have to be adequately cleaned (straw and manure removed with a shovel, the floor swept, finally dried) before transporting a new load of animals. It is recommended that vehicles used for transport are regularly washed and disinfected, especially when there is knowledge about disease. Try and avoid:

  • Transporting reindeer suspected of carrying contagious diseases.
  • Unnecessary transports of breeding stock.
  • Transporting breeding stock and reindeer destined for slaughter in the same transport.
  • Transporting breeding stock directly after reindeer destined for slaughter have been transported.

3. Low stocking density

High animal density is always a risk for contracting diseases. Try and limit the stocking density during prolonged fencing of reindeer.

4. Good hygiene within the enclosures

Low stocking density and good hygiene are important when feeding reindeer kept in enclosures. Supplementary feeding on pasture is always preferred to feeding the animals within enclosures.

Cribs and hygiene: Overcrowding around the feeding points and cribs contribute to increased stress and a higher risk of infection. Infectious saliva can easily spread disease in the feeding cribs. Cribs should be cleaned out daily and feed residues disposed of outside the enclosure (since these might be contagious and be mixed with saliva or faeces). The stocking density should be around 10 animals per crib and not exceed 20 animals per crib.

Water and hygiene: The reindeer need free access to clean snow or clean water within the enclosure. A natural water source should not be placed downstream in an enclosure.

5. Personal hygiene and cleaning of equipment

After visiting a reindeer herd, you need to change or clean any clothing (shoes, clothes) or equipment that has been in contact with reindeer or other deer before visiting another reindeer keeping area. Washing and disinfection of hands as well avoiding contact with the mouths of the reindeer is also recommended.

6. Seek veterinary help at times of increased illness and death

Contact a veterinarian if you observe an increased number of sick or dead animals. In order to undertake necessary measures or treatment, a diagnosis is usually needed.

7. Isolate sick animals

Sick animals should be separated from the healthy herd and kept in a separate pen. Try and avoid keeping the reindeer alone if possible. Keeping a sick pen will prevent other animals from getting infected.

8. Remove dead animals and carry out autopsies

Any animal found dead should as soon as possible be removed from the rest of the herd. Whilst waiting for an autopsy/sampling, the carcass should remain covered with for instance tarpaulin, to avoid having the carcass harmed by predators. Wash your hands, shoes and clothes after being in contact with the dead animal.

Always have dead animals examined post-mortem (autopsy) unless the cause of disease/death already is known. You might not always get a definite diagnosis, but it can still be valuable to rule out several other diagnoses. Contact your local veterinarian or SVA (National Veterinary Instititute).