National Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies program

Eligible cattle and sheep brains are tested for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

Testing is part of a national program to:

  • detect TSEs early
  • meet international requirements
  • assure consumers that Australian animals are TSE free.

Payments are made to producers and veterinarians who submit eligible brains.

Eligible cattle and sheep

Cows and sheep samples must meet the criteria below to be eligible:

  1. Animals must have been observed alive by the submitter.
  2. Animals must have shown progressive nervous signs
  3. Animals must show 2 or more clinical signs from the list on the history report.
  4. There can only be 2 samples per flock or herd.
  5. Samples must include fixed brain and fresh spinal cord from each animal. Samples from sheep must also include fresh dorsal third of cerebellum.
  6. Cattle must be older than 30 months and younger than 9 years.
  7. Sheep must be older than 18 months and preferably under 5 years of age.


Incentives will be paid if a sample is eligible.

Cattle: Veterinary and producer incentive is $300 + GST each.

Sheep: Veterinary incentive is $200 + GST and producer incentive is $100 + GST.

Claiming payments

Vets must email their invoices to:

Producers are paid automatically.


Samples must be sent with a:

Head splitting and brain removal training

Training on sample collection for TSEs is available to South Australian veterinarians free of charge.


Diana Miller
Phone: (08) 8735 1312
Mobile: 0427 427 253

Page Last Reviewed: 19 Jul 2019
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