TB Testing

TB testing is a service that VetEnt provides on contract to OSPRI's TBfree programme  in five regions covered by the Group. This service is available to all dairy and beef farms in these areas.


VetEnt has been awarded cattle TB testing contracts in five regions by OSPRI's TBfree programme. These regions are South Waikato, North Manawatu-Wanganui, Gisborne/Wairoa, North Canterbury, and South Canterbury. These contracts cover both dairy & beef herds. We also perform non-scheme TB testing and deer TB testing as requested by farmers.

To perform the TB testing VetEnt has 20 vets and 40 technicians accredited.

There is an advantage for VetEnt clients because with a bit of planning other tasks can be completed at the time of TB testing such as leptospirosis vaccinations and pregnancy tests. Clients of other practices can do this by arranging their local veterinarian to be there at the same time for vaccinations.

If you wish other services to be performed at the same time as TB testing please ensure that you let us know at the time of booking in.

Test Requests

You can request a TB test by calling the Animal Health Board on 0800 482 463, calling your local VetEnt branch or filling in the TB testing booking sheet. Click here for booking sheet

Please give us as much notice as possible to ensure that your needs can be met. Please note: the online form will be processed as soon as possible the next business day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who must have an TB Free herd number?

Any person who owns or grazes cattle or deer, even if it is only one animal must have a TB Free herd number. To obtain a herd number, call TB Free on 0800 482 463 or complete a registration form on their website www.tbfree.org.nz.

Why is a CM status?

All dry stock herds are given a CM status as they have a high turnover of stock and are unlikely to keep animals for much longer than 2 years. CM stands for Clear Monitored and replaces the C2 capped status. For more information you can call TB Free on 0800 482 463.

Why do I have to test?

Regular TB testing along with inspection of carcasses at slaughter are important to ensure early detection of TB so that the disease can be eradicated before infections spreads through the herd or to other herds. If your cattle are not going to slaughter in the required timeframe then TB Free will not be getting enough of a surveillance of the herd if they rely on slaughter results only.

Why do I need to test my pet cow?

TB testing it not only the surveillance of TB in cattle but it also is another surveillance technique to check the vector population is staying free of TB.

Why do I need to test my house cow?

Same as pet cow – Plus: It provides a check so you can be reasonably certain that your house cow does not have TB. This means that your family can drink the milk knowing that they won’t get TB from it.

Who pays for the TB test?

Cattle – The TB Free scheme is funded by slaughter and dairy levies. The TB Free scheme pays for the following cattle tests: routine whole herd tests, pre-movement testing for herds in Movement Control Areas, infected herd testing, check tests requested by Tb Free staff and dairy service bull testing. All other tests are considered to be non-scheme and are paid for by the farmer.

Deer – The deer TB testing scheme is a user pays system. Some herds are eligible for a refund of some of the costs involved with TB testing(e.g. every second skin test for herds on annual testing and the first 3 bloods taken from skin test positives). Please call TB Free on 0800 482 463 for further information.

What is the TB test?

Cattle – The tester comes out on one day and injects a small amount of tuberculin into the skin flap under the tail. The tester will then come back 3 days later and feel if there has been a reaction.

Deer – The tester comes out one day and shaves a patch of fur off the neck. A small amount of tuberculin is injected into the skin. The tester will then come back 3 days later and feel if there has been a reaction.

What is the withholding period of tuberculin?

There is no withholding period for tuberculin.

When will my first whole herd test be?

Beef breeding or dairy – TB Free will set the due date approximately 6 months from the date of registration taking calving time into account unless you request differently.
Beef dry or dairy dry – Tb Free will set the due date approximately 12 months from the date of registration unless you request differently.

How much lee way do I have around my due date?

Your whole herd test can be started as early as 60 days before your due date and should be completed no later than 90 days after your due date.

Can I change my due date?

Yes you can. 

Moving less than 60 days?

We can put your request through to the TBfree programme.

Moving more than 60 days?

This can only be done if your District Disease Control Manager approves the change. We can put your case forward to the District Disease Control Manager for you.

When do I need a pre-movement test?

If your herd is in a movement control area and the stock are over 3 months of age they will need a pre-movement test for all movements not directly to slaughter. The pre-movement test must be within 60 days prior to the movement.

How long does a pre-movement test last for?

It last for 60 days. If you want to move any cattle from a farm in a Movement Control Area after 60 days has elapsed then the cattle will need to be tested again.

How close to calving can cows be tested?

Cows can not be tested 3 weeks either side of calving. The hormones in late pregnancy/early lactation affect the TB test. If your cattle are inside this window and a pre-movement test should be completed then you will need to call TB Free on 0800 482 463 to organise an exemption from testing. The cattle will be required to have a post-movement test at their new location after calving.

What happens if there is a reaction to the skin test?

The animal/s that reacted is/are tagged with an orange tag to give them a unique identifier. The next step is a blood test. The blood test can be taken from read day and they can only be taken on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Tb Free will call you with the results on the following Monday. From when the animal/s react until the final results are known no cattle should leave your property unless they are going direct to slaughter.

What if I have cattle that need to be moved but I have a skin test positive?

The Area Disease Manager may allow some movement under specific guidelines.

What happens if the blood test is negative?

TB Free will call you with the results and also send you a confirmation letter. You will be asked to remove the orange tag and return a declaration that the tag has been removed. You will be allowed to move cattle again.

What happens if the blood test is positive?

TBfree will call you with the results and then we will follow up to make an appointment for a tester to come and value the cow. Once the valuation is complete and the Reactor Valuation Contact signed, TBfree will organise for the cow to go to slaughter and have a post-mortem. TBfree will advise you of the results of the post-mortem.

What are the requirements for ear tags?

A NAIT RFID tag is required for all cattle and deer. Please go to www.tbree.org.nz or www.nait.org.nz for the latest tagging advice.

What is bovine TB?

Bovine TB is an infectious disease cause by the bacterium Mycobaterium bovis.

How is TB spread?

TB is spread by close contact between animals. This can either be other infected livestock or infected wildlife. The predominant wildlife carrier of TB is possums but ferrets, stoats, wild pigs, and wild deer are also carriers. Wild pigs do not spread TB but are end stage hosts and are useful for vector surveillance.

What restrictions are placed on infected herds?

The herd has a whole herd test every six months and any stock movement requires pre-movement testing. Parallel blood tests are used to look for false negatives to the skin test. Any stock movement requires the cattle to be white tagged and a post-movement test will also be completed at their new destination.

What happens if my neighbour’s herd becomes infected?

TBfree will advise you if a neighbour’s herd becomes infected. In some circumstances the Area Disease Manager may bring your whole herd test forward.

What happens to my herd if I buy cattle from an infected herd?

On receiving white tagged cattle or deer from an infected herd your herd status will be changed to suspended. The white tagged stock will be required to have a post-movement test and a whole herd test is to be completed 6 months after the post-movement test. Your herd status will go to C1 after having the clear WHT.

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