Disease Management is quite possibly the biggest challenge anyone raising animals faces since it is the most crucial aspect of raising livestock. No two farms or homesteads will execute their disease management practices in the same way, but there are a few things that do need to be addressed with any livestock that you raise::
Let's face it, vet bills and even paying for over the counter remedies do get expensive! One of the best ways to cut your medical costs, and improve the overall health of your livestock begins with these few simple Tips.
Feed & Water:
To make things as simple as possible-- Keep it clean! The less feces they have to live in/ eat off of the better your animals' health will be. Spray for flies in and around barn areas, compost piles, and favorite 'pooping' places. Flies cause irritation to the eyes as well as assist in the spread of infections (DE diatomaceous earth works wonders around these areas too, for a more 'natural' pest control option).
Feed bins, troughs, buckets, and other feeding hardware should be sanitized on a regular basis. As well as any shovels, rakes, dustpans, or brooms used in the cleaning of stalls, barns, corrals, pens ect. Keeping a separate set of cleaning tools for each SPECIES helps prevent the spread of diseases between species ('Prions').
Breeding/ introduction of 'New' animals:
Did you know that animals can get STDs too?! Goats, Sheep, and cattle are just a few of the animals on the farm that can get an STD. STDs cause sterility in males and females, uterine and testicular cancers/tumors, abortion of premature fetuses, and much more!
STDs in livestock are often silent, and sometimes deadly to the recipient. Once contracted, treatments are wide/varied and for some diseases have little to NO success. This often renders an infected animal as a carrier; able to further transmit the disease to healthy animals. STDs in livestock, as it is in humans, is often spread through intercourse. Stud Servicing your livestock exposes your animal to the possibility of contracting an STD. In goats/Sheep bucks and rams, that contract STDs become sterile and are still able to transmit the STD on to a healthy doe. In does and ewes, STDs inhibit or prevent implantation, cause early or late term abortions, and cause damage or even deadly tumors to form in the uterus.
Some diseases like Brucellosis and Q-Fever are spread/transmitted through aborted fetuses/birth fluids. Animals kept on pasture that are allowed to birth in an open grazing area or paddock that is shared with other livestock (or may have possibly had wild deer birthing in the pasture) are most at risk for contracting/spreading this disease.
Here are some common STDs in Goats and Sheep:
Diseases can even be spread through blood, pus, urine, saliva, nasal discharges, feces, feather dust etc, and come in a wide variety of symptoms/treatability. It is for this reason that any 'NEW' animals should be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days to allow for the observation of any present illnesses, as well as allow time for blood panel screening if necessary.
I have seen MANY informative articles on how to properly house, feed, and give any animal general care-- but no one seems to touch the subject of dead animals. I assume because every one else assumes its just a dead animal, so every one 'KNOWS' what to do with it.
But whether this is the case or not, dead animals pose just as great a risk to the health and safety of your livestock as they pose a threat to YOU. Within the hour that an animal dies bacteria already begin to decompose the body. Things like gangrene, E.coli, Anthrax, and a whole host of other wonderful little bugs that if inhaled, swallowed, mishandled, or consumed can cause you and/ your animals a whole world of hurt!
When a dead animal is found whether it is domestic or wild, it needs to be dealt with. Do not touch any dead animal(s) with bare hands. Rodents carry a disease called Haunta Virus, that if you get it-- you can pretty much kiss your life good-bye. Dead birds/Poultry also carry somel secrets too, so glove up or use a shovel to remove dead animals.
BLEACH any area that has been in contact with the dead animal. Remove bedding, or contaminated food/water immediately. Toss out contaminated grain (YES, even if it was a whole bag!) and DO NOT feed it to any other animal. If necessary (as in the case of spontaneous death/abortion) you may wish to send the placenta, dead animal in for examination to determine if you have anything serious illnesses that are 'hiding' in your livestock that needs to be addressed.
Bury/burn any dead animals/placentas FAR off your property or otherwise away from your livestock/grazing areas. If available, you may also have your livestock/dead animals disposed of at appropriate animal disposal sites provided by your county. With Large animals (other than mice/birds) some counties/cities have ordinances about proper burial of livestock so be sure you are burying/disposing of your animals LEGALLY.
NEVER dump a dead animal. Dead animals can spread disease better than a live animal, and they need to be properly handled to prevent you or your neighbors from having their livestock infected.
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