In this era of height-ened awareness, it’s a good idea to check your herd regularly. Immediately report signs of disease as well as suspicious activities, intruders or circumstances to your local and state authorities.
Linda Logan, Texas’ state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission says you should watch for and report any of these signs:
1. Sudden, unexplained death loss in the herd.
2. Severe illness affecting a high percentage of animals.
3. Blistering around an animal’s mouth, nose, teats or hooves.
4. Central nervous system disorders that cause an animal to stagger or fall.
“While preparing to fight disease, we can never forget that our most valuable and cost-effective tool is livestock disease prevention and surveillance,” says Jon Lomme, with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. He listed several things you can do to help ensure the health of your herd:
- If you travel internationally, don’t bring restricted products back with you. This includes any animal products that could spread disease. The same restrictions apply to family members or visitors to your property.
- Launder or dry clean clothing and coats before you return to the United States. Viruses and bacteria can be carried in your hair or on your skin, so it’s important to shower and change clothes before traveling.
If you host international visitors, provide them with a shower and clean clothing.
- Remove mud and manure from your shoes before journeying back to the United States. Ask the Customs agent or USDA official to disinfect your shoes and any other items
if you’ve been to a farm, zoo or other site where livestock or wildlife have been. Provide shoes for visitors, or insist they wear only shoes that have not been worn on a farm in another country.
- For at least five days before you return to the United States, don’t go near farms, sale barns, zoos, fairs or other sites where livestock are kept. You could carry bacteria or viruses in your lungs, throat or nasal passages, and you could spread a livestock disease. Likewise, don’t allow inter-national travelers access to your livestock until they’ve been in the United States for at least five days.
- Report suspicious activi-ties, intruders or circum-stances to the local police or sheriff’s department. If possible, record license plate numbers and descriptions of trespassers.