Animal Biosecurity and Welfare: Livestock Health Services - Queensland


This support is provided to:

  • offer an efficient diagnostic, research and information service to identify and help control diseases that limit commercial animal production
  • identify and solve problems associated with the agricultural industry and associated businesses (including aquaculture, beekeeping etc)
  • assist in maintaining healthy herd and flocks
  • promote the development of efficient feeding systems
  • assist with obtaining mandatory certificates and with the sale of animals or product.
  • generate through disease investigations in commercial livestock/aquatic animals, collate and report essential disease surveillance information, required to substantiate Queensland or Australias disease status.
  • support for exotic disease preparedness and resolution of disease emergencies.
  • maintenance of high cost technologies and or biological products or vaccines where there is a market failure due to lack of commercial viability.
  • development & maintenance of relevant technical skills, including species specialist expertise in selected terrestrial & aquatic animal species.
  • maintenance of expertise in microbiological & chemical residues analyses for trade & food safety purposes.
  • investigation of suspected notifiable/exotic disease incidents, including those of unusual morbidity or mortality, at least until an aetiological agent is identified or eliminated
  • maintenance of laboratory quality systems including successful participation in external proficiency testing programs.

The Department, through its statewide network of veterinary laboratories, carries out tests on sick or dead animals to identify the causes. The results are given to the client along with advice on diagnosis and referral to field specialists for the appropriate treatment/follow-up.

Laboratory testing is also undertaken to support disease control and accreditation programs and to monitor the prevalence and distribution of endemic livestock diseases. Early detection and control/eradication of exotic disease incursions is also a key function.

The resistance of cattle ticks to tickicides is also monitored.

These vaccines are produced and sold by the Tick Fever Centre to cattle producers throughout eastern and northern Australia and to certain overseas countries. Some specialist biological products are also produced on a contractual basis for commercial suppliers.

The Department will assist with problem identification and design of an appropriate research project on particular subjects such as:

  • animal health and production systems
  • environmental monitoring
  • undesirable residues
  • insect behaviour modifying chemicals (eg. blowfly, fruitfly, buffalo fly, and cattle tick).

They will search literature, perform chemical, biochemical, microbiological and biotechnological analyses, and prepare a written report from the results, with interpretation.

The Department provides a herd health and diagnostic service at the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory, Coopers Plains, for some economically important biochemical diseases. Examples of tests carried out at Coopers Plains are:

  • Pompes Disease (a genetically-transmitted cattle disease resulting in wasting and death of calves);
  • Porcine Stress Syndrome - PSS (a genetically-transmitted disease which results in susceptibility to stress, causing death or poor meat quality;
  • General Herd Health monitoring (range of biochemical and metabolic tests to diagnose particular problems).

The Department also carries out analysis and evaluation on livestock feed, particularly new animal feed products and feed ingredients at Coopers Plains, for:

  • nutrient composition
  • utilisation by the intended animal
  • antinutrients and toxins (which reduce utilisation and animal performance).

The results of such research are made available through the Departments field officers. Companies submitting feed products for analysis receive a written report on completion of contract.

The Department tests animals for disease to enable the client to obtain health/export certificates. Clients are supplied with the results in written form confirming the level of testing carried out. The Department carries out accreditation testing through private veterinarians to free herds or flocks of diseases.

The Veterinary Laboratories at ARI and Townsville provide a diagnostic and investigative service to identify disease in the aquaculture industry, including finfish, crustaceans and molluscs. Limited recommendations on treatment measures are also available.

From the samples and description provided by the client, analytical tests, including microbiology, toxicology and gross and microscopic pathology, are carried out to diagnose the disease.

The Animal Research Institute provides a technical information service that covers:

  • diagnosis and control of endemic and exotic diseases of commercial livestock;
  • occurrence, distribution and transmission of diseases in commercial livestock;

The Department, acting on specific directions from the client, provides experimental design, facilities (including Biocontainment) and expertise to carry out research into livestock health issues and supplies a comprehensive report on the outcome and any products developed as a result.

The department provides an extension and regulatory service to the Apiary industry in Queensland. The extension service consists of information in the form of farm notes and other printed material. Apiary officers are available to attend producer meetings, industry field days, seminars and workshops, and pass this knowledge on to clients.

Inspections are undertaken for:

  • disease eradication
  • queen bee export certification.

Service type

Support Service

A service offered by government to aid in running a business.

Eligibility requirements

Cases accepted are subject to meeting departmental policy guidelines.

Diagnostic services focus on market access and control of exotic and serious endemic diseases.

Research services are subject to workloads and departmental priorities.

Tests are subject to availability.

Aquaculture advice is provided only for commercial fish. Advice on disease in ornamental (aquarium fish) can be provided to major suppliers of wholesale outlets and pet shops if they are running as a significant business and for quarantine purposes.


Fees for service may be applicable depending on the degree of public versus private benefit involved.

No fees apply for investigation of fish disease outbreaks and individual requests. Fees do apply to surveillance and monitoring of disease in fish and to health status tests on animals being prepared for sale.

Beekeepers are required to pay for routine honey testing for disease identification. Fees apply for export certification inspections.

Additional information

Other veterinary laboratories located in regional Queensland also offer disease surveillance and diagnostic services.

Beekeepers should be aware that a Certificate of Registration of a Beekeeper is required to own beehives. Amateur beekeepers are encouraged to join amateur clubs and access information through these bodies.

Administering agency

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Biosecurity Queensland

Licensing and Transaction Unit

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.

Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory

Licensing and Transaction Unit

Biosecurity Queensland

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Operating address: Level 2 Health & Food Sciences Precinct,
39 Kessels Road
Coopers Plains
Queensland 4108
Mailing address: PO Box 156
Queensland 4108
Phone: 07 3276 6045
Fax: 07 3216 6620