In the late 1800s, a deadly horse disease called Glanders emerged in the U.S. and was found in Minnesota just before the turn of the century. Though the disease primarily affected horses it also had the ability to cause illness in people. At that time, the Department of Health was already established and responded to the disease. A division was eventually made within the health department to more effectively manage the Glanders outbreak. As time went on, it became clear to Minnesota lawmakers that a separate agency was needed to safeguard animal health.
In 1903, the Minnesota Live Stock Sanitary Board was established. Since then, the agency’s name has changed but its mission has not. Over the years the Minnesota Board of Animal Health has worked with producers, veterinarians and other agencies to eradicate diseases such as pseudorabies, brucellosis, mycoplasma gallisepticum and bovine tuberculosis.
We continue to monitor animal health in Minnesota by conducting surveillance testing for diseases like chronic wasting disease, influenza in poultry, and scrapie. In addition, we are constantly preparing to respond to animal disease events by conducting emergency planning exercises and improving our ability to track livestock.