VSFCP Obex Sample Collection – Scrapie Brain Testing

As part of the VSFCP, producers are required to complete a brain test on any animal that dies on the farm that is over one year of age. If no animals die within the year, producers are required to cull an animal that is over 24 months of age and complete a brain test.

The cost of the brain test is covered by the program.

In order for the cost of the brain test to be invoiced to Scrapie Canada, producers must submit a cover letter with the following information to the laboratory along with the brain sample.

  1. Contact information
  2. Animal identification number
  3. VSFCP enrollment number

scrapies in sheep and goats canada


Brain Testing Submissions

If submitting the entire head to the laboratory, please note that most laboratories charge an extra fee to remove the obex from the head (approximately $15.00 depending on the laboratory). This removal fee is not covered by the program and producers are responsible for paying this cost. If submitting the entire head, producers should contact the laboratory in advance and inquire about the cost of the obex removal.

Although entire heads may be submitted to most laboratories, shipping and analysis costs will be lower if only the portion of the brain (the obex) that will actually be used in the analysis is sent to the lab.

Some producers may prefer to have their veterinarians remove the obex. However, for producers willing to learn the technique, click the following link for instructions (obex removal). You may also ask your veterinarian to demonstrate the procedure for you and/or request a DVD of the technique from the Scrapie Project Coordinator (Telephone: Toll Free 1-866-534-1302, Facsimile 613-652-1599; admin@scrapiecanada.ca). If you choose to have your vet remove the obex, the VSFCP program provides reimbursement of up to $110 per obex removal.

If you do chose to remove the obex yourself, you must include the animal identification with the sample (i.e. place the ear tag in the bag/container with the obex and clearly label the bag/container with the date and animal ID, including the lab submission form in the shipping package.

Note: If you are sending samples to the Alberta Agriculture lab, they request that producers within Alberta submit the entire head, while out-of-province producers must submit only the obex.

The VSFCP covers the cost of obex testing (producers will not be invoiced) if conducted at one of the following labs:

Alberta Agriculture & Rural Dept

Agri-Food Laboratories Branch
TSE Laboratory
6909 – 116th Street
Edmonton, AB Canada, T6H 4P2
Phone: 780-422-4830
Facsimile: 780-415-4527

Animal Health Laboratory

Laboratory Services, a division of the University of Guelph
Building 49, OVC, Box 3612,
Guelph, ON, Canada, N1H 6R8
Phone: 519-824-4120 X: 54544
Fax: 519-821-8072
*This lab is CFIA approved

Prairie Diagnostic Services

52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK, CANADA, S7N 5B4
PHONE: 306-966-7316

Laboratoire d’épidémiosurveillance animale du Québec

3220, rue Sicotte
Saint-Hyacinthe QC J2S 7X9
Phone: 450-778-6542
Fax: 450-778-6711
***Free for Quebec producers only

Producers may submit samples to the CFIA for testing, with costs covered by the national scrapie surveillance program.

The accredited veterinarian or producer may submit obex samples or entire heads to a CFIA district office to be sent to a CFIA laboratory (as part of the national scrapie surveillance program). In all cases, the head (or the sample) should be chilled or frozen immediately. The owner must contact the laboratory or the accredited veterinarian must contact the CFIA district office in advance before submitting a head through the CFIA district office. The head must bear animal identification matching that used in inventory reporting.

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Scrapie Canada's Project Partners

Canadian Sheep Federation


Canadian Sheep Breeder’s Association


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


Canadian National Goat Federation


Canadian Food Inspection Agency