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From: TSS ()
Subject: Alabama mad cow dental records 'dentition' supposedly 10 year + cow ??? or not i.e. 'informed guess'
Date: July 9, 2006 at 9:40 am PST

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Alabama mad cow dental records 'dentition' supposedly 10 year + cow ??? or not i.e. 'informed guess'

Alabama BSE Investigation

Final Epidemiology Report

May 2, 2006


Epidemiology Investigation of Index Herd: Farm A

The index case was a deep red, crossbred beef cow estimated to be approximately 10-

years-old based on dentition. On March 16, 2006, USDA personnel exhumed the carcass

of the index case, sent the head to NVSL and transported under seal the remainder of the

carcass to the Alabama State Diagnostic Laboratory (ASDL). The investigators

confirmed the carcass to be that of a red beef cow. The body and facial area did not

contain any white markings. No identification devices were found on the cow, including

any evidence of brands, tattoos, or ear tags. Additionally, on March 29, NVSL examined

the head of the carcass to confirm the lack of a tag and the lack of evidence (holes or

scarring) of previous tags in the ear.

The age of the index cow was estimated by examination of the dentition as 10-years-old

by the accredited veterinarian. Regulatory personnel examined the dentition of the

exhumed carcass and concurred with the estimate. The teeth in the head of the carcass

were short with elongated necks with some incisors missing. This is consistent with the

dentition of other cattle from Alabama with a known age of 10 or more years.

Genetic tests were conducted at NVSL to match the NVSL-generated homogenate of the

obex, the homogenate of obex from the Georgia lab, brain material from the cow head

(collected by NVSL), and ear material from the cow head (also collected by NVSL). On

March 23, the results for these tests indicated they all originated from the same source

and confirmed that that carcass exhumed on March 16 was the index case.



Despite a thorough investigation of two farms that were known to contain the index cow,

and 35 other farms that might have supplied the index cow to the farms where the index

case was known to have resided, the investigators were unable to locate the herd of

origin. The index case did not have unique or permanent identification, plus, the size and

color of the cow being traced is very common in the Southern United States. Due to the

unremarkable appearance of solid red cows, it is not easy for owners to remember

individual animals. In the Southern United States, it is common business practice to buy

breeding age cows and keep them for several years while they produce calves. Most

calves produced are sold the year they are born, whereas breeding cows are sold when

there is a lapse in breeding, which can occur multiple times in cows’ lives. For all of

these reasons, USDA was unable to locate the herd of origin.

> The teeth in the head of the carcass

> were short with elongated necks with some incisors missing. This is consistent with the

> dentition of other cattle from Alabama with a known age of 10 or more years.

WITH the potential for error using dentition, this cow could have been less than 10 years old. ...tss

Audit Report

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program – Phase II


Food Safety and Inspection Service

Controls Over BSE Sampling, Specified Risk Materials, and Advanced Meat Recovery Products - Phase III

Report No. 50601-10-KC January 2006

There is no requirement in the United States for the age of animals to be recorded, therefore, APHIS and FSIS rely on meat establishments to determine the age of cattle slaughtered using documentation or dentition.


full text 130 pages ;

This added an extra margin of safety because cattle can be reasonably accurately aged by their dentition at 30 months and because BSE is relatively rare under the age of 30 months.

SO, what is the threshold of a 'reasonably accurately aged' cow, when we are speaking of a borderline 10 year old cow ??? plus, BSE is not as rare below 30 months as cdc would have you believe. just not testing that many young ones, plus youngest documented to date is 21 months. ...TSS

An evaluation of the accuracy of ageing horses by their dentition: can a computer model be accurate?

Vet Rec. 1995 Aug 5;137(6):139-40

Richardson JD, Cripps PJ, Lane JG.

Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford.

The prediction of the age of a horse from its dentition has been widely accepted as an accurate technique, but recent reports have questioned this belief. In this study the dental features of 434 thoroughbreds of known age were documented and a multiple regression equation was calculated from the 13 dental features which had the highest correlation with true age. The accuracy of the ages assessed by a computer model were compared with the ages estimated by experienced equine clinicians. There was little difference between the accuracy of the computer model and the human observers, and neither method provided an acceptable level of accuracy for ageing horses from their dentition.


The results show that specific ages cannot be assigned to these dental criteria owing to the wide variation between horses, and that as a result the estimation of age from dentition can never be precise.

It is suggested that written records of the dental features are made on each occasion when a dental examination is made and that veterinary surgeons advise clients that estimating a horse's age from dental criteria can provide no more than an 'informed guess'.

WHAT makes this method nothing more than an 'informed guess' for a horse, but an exact science for usda and there mad cows $$$

NOW, what does the cattle industry itself say about the accuracy of detention ;


For Immediate Release

Contact: Walt Barnhart 303/850-3360

Nation’s Leading Cattle Organization Uses Fact, Reason

To Protect Cattle Producers in Post-BSE Regulation Frenzy

Other costs, like changing the status of cattle judged older than 30 months in the fed slaughter supply and increased testing levels, are much more difficult to estimate. The 30-month rule is complicated by the fact that dentition as a basis of estimating cattle age is a problematic methodology. NCBA, through its contract with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, is coordinating checkoff research that would determine the accuracy of dentition and identify other means of accurately assessing animal age.

It is important to remember that, in the Territory as elsewhere, the time of eruption of incisor

teeth is only a broad guide to age in cattle. From one animal to another age at eruption can vary

by several months.

Reference: Charles and Lampkin (1977) (Table 1)$file/595.pdf?OpenElement


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