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PRODUCERS CAN USE CHECKLIST TO IMPLEMENT BIOSECURITY PLAN

by: Stephen B. Blezinger
Ph.D, PAS

Part 2

In the last issue we started an examination of biosecurity in cattle operations. As we discussed, although the terminology is commonly used as a deterrent to terrorism, biosecurity applies to an overall philosophy of keeping a production operation disease free regardless of the source. This article is formatted differently than normal and includes a series of checklists that can be used to implement an effective biosecurity program regardless of operational type or size. The lists included focus on:

•Sanitation

•Equipment

•Disease Containment

•Prevention of Infectious Disease Entrance of Operation

•Calf Management

•Strategic Vaccine Use

•Controlling Johne's Disease

•Controlling Bovine Leukosis

•Controlling Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD)

•Controlling Salmonella

•Controlling E. Coli 0157:H7 and Other Pathogenic Bacterial Strains

Each checklist outlines steps for the implementation of General Good Management Practices (GMP) in that specific area.

1) GMP Checklist for Sanitation

Rank importance of each sanitation measure in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Attempt to prevent manure contamination of feed and equipment used orally.

___ Clean equipment used orally between animals.

___ Attempt to prevent cross contamination between healthy and sick/dead cattle.

___ Regularly evaluate the activities on my operation to assess the potential for contaminating cattle.

___ If manure accidentally contaminates feed or water, an immediate remedy (clean-up) is provided.

2) GMP Checklist for Equipment

Rank importance of each equipment item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Use different equipment to feed and to clean pens or completely clean between use.

___ Never step in the feed bunk.

___ Never leave manure-hauling equipment in pens with different groups of animals.

___ Clean contaminated vehicles and equipment before use around healthy cattle.

___ Routinely clean and disinfect feeding equipment and cattle handling equipment.

___ Routinely clean and disinfect equipment used to medicate cattle.

3) GMP Checklist for Disease Containment

Rank importance of each disease containment item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Facilities provide a clean area for restraint, treatment and isolation of sick cattle.

___ Facilities prevent cross contamination of water, manure, feed, or equipment between groups.

___ Have a plan to manage group size, age distribution, and animal flow to reduce risk of disease.

___ Handle highest health status animals first (young calves, healthy older cattle and sick animals last).

___ Everyone uses strict sanitation practices

___ All animals that die are examined by a veterinarian (necropsy).

___ Veterinarian collects blood samples from all cows that abort.

___ Have visitors observe our strict sanitation practices.

___ Clean contaminated vehicles and equipment before use around healthy cattle.

4) GMP Checklist for Preventing Infectious Disease from Entering All Operations

Rank importance of each disease entry item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Know the health history of the herds from which cattle are purchased.

___ Know the health status of animals brought into my operation.

___ My veterinarian talks to the seller's veterinarian prior to buying animals.

___ Never bring in animals without knowing their vaccination history.

___ Never buy animals from a herd that has mixed origin cattle.

___ Transport animals in clean vehicles.

___ Have a control program for outside animals which could spread disease (rodents, etc.).

___ Loading area is located at the perimeter of the operation.

___ Dead animal pickup area located so rendering trucks do not contaminate my operation.

___ Limit people's access to my cattle pens, feed mixing and storage area, and treatment area.

___ Keep a record of visitors to my operation.

5) GMP Checklist for Preventing Infectious Disease from Entering Cow/Calf Operations

Rank importance of each disease entry item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Cattle don't use community pastures, or are not placed in performance evaluation centers.

___ Cattle do not share fence lines with neighbor's cattle.

___ Do not purchase, borrow, or use loaner bulls from other farms.

___ Buy cattle from a Johne's certified free farm.

___ Limit purchases to open heifers and virgin bulls.

___ Know the biosecurity, vaccination, and testing program of herd(s) for my replacement cattle.

___ Quarantine new arrivals for 21-30 days before allowing them contact with my cattle.

___ Quarantined area is designed to prevent cross contamination between cattle.

6) GMP Checklist for Calf Management

Rank importance of each calf management item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Have a strategic vaccination and parasite control plan in place for all cows.

___ Replacement cattle are kept off pastures where manure has been spread for six months.

___ Replacement cattle are kept separate from other cattle for at least six months.

___ Replacement cattle have a separate source of water.

___ Consult with veterinarian annually about calf care.

___ Calving area is clean and disinfected.

___ All calves are born from cows that have been tested clean of infectious diseases.

___ All colostrum fed to calves comes from cows that have been tested clean of infectious diseases.

___ Calves are permanently identified prior to any grouping.

7) GMP Checklist for Strategic Vaccine Use

Rank importance of each strategic vaccine item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Have a written strategic vaccination plan for my operation.

___ Know when and how to use the vaccines listed in the vaccination plan for my herd.

___ Discuss the vaccination history of all cattle purchased before the cattle enter my operation.

8) GMP Checklist for controlling Johne's Disease (M. paratuberculosis)

Rank importance of each Johne's control item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Understand how Johne's disease can impact my herd and how it is spread.

___ Whole herd is screened using an antibody ELISA test (measures antibody in blood).

___ Whole herd is tested using a fecal culture.

___ Animals testing positive are culled. (Johne's is reportable disease in some states.)

___ Replacement heifers are tested prior to introduction to the herd.

___ Calves from cows testing positive are removed to a feedlot.

___ Have implemented a follow-up Johne's testing program and reviewed the results with my vet.

9) GMP Checklist for controlling Bovine Leukosis

Rank importance of each Leukosis control item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Are needles and sleeves used on more than one animal?

___ Are cows which provide colostrum for your calves tested for bovine leukosis?

___ Purchased cattle are tested during quarantine.

10) GMP Checklist for controlling Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD)

Rank importance of each BVD control item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Understand "persistently infected" (PI) animals as they relate to BVD.

___ Am not willing to live with one or more PI calves in my herd.

___ Am not willing to keep a PI calf as a replacement heifer.

___ Am committed to finding BVD PI cattle and removing them from herd.

___ Have discussed killed versus modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for BVD with my veterinarian.

11) GMP Checklist for controlling Salmonella

Rank importance of each Salmonella control item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Realize that my family and employees can be infected with salmonella from cattle.

___ Isolate sick cattle in hospital area and prevent cross contamination.

___ Discuss proper antibiotic use with my veterinarian.

___ Clean all instruments and equipment used on sick cattle between cattle.

___ Provide dry, clean, disinfected calf and maternity pens.

___ Test purchased feed for salmonella once per year.

___ Restrict birds, cats, rodents and stray animals from access to my operation's animal feed and water.

___ Do not allow rendering trucks to access feed or animal areas.

12) GMP Checklist for controlling E. Coli 0157:H7 and Other Pathogenic Strains

Rank importance of each Salmonella control item in biosecurity and note if being addressed:

___ Realize that my family and employees can be infected with e. coli from cattle.

___ Clean all instruments and equipment used on sick cattle between cattle.

___ Provide dry, clean, disinfected calf and maternity pens.

___ Clean water tanks on a regular basis.

___ Remove excessive manure accumulations. Clean pens periodically.

___ Restrict birds, cats, rodents and stray animals from access to my operation's animal feed and water.

___ Implement a fly control program, especially horn flies and house flies.

___ Utilize Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) probiotics in feeding programs.

Conclusions

Development and adoption of a biosecurity plan does not have to be complicated nor does it require a lot of expense. It does however, require some thought planning and in many cases common sense. Use of programs such as these will become increasingly important as time goes by. Early implementation will be the best defense.

Dr. Steve Blezinger is and nutritional and management consultant with an office in Sulphur Springs Texas. He can be reached at Route 4 Box 89 Sulphur Springs, TX 75482, by phone at (903) 885-7992 or by e-mail at sblez@peoplescom.net.

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