Cattle Today

Cattle Today







CATTLE TODAY

DEVELOPING A BIOSECURITY PLAN IMPORTANT TO HERD HEALTH

by: Stephen B. Blezinger
Ph.D., PAS

Part 2

As mentioned in the previous article in this series, the recent concerns over Swine Flu have increased everyone's awareness of the need for measures to insure our health. As we discussed, this concern extends into our cattle operations. Many cattlemen regularly buy and sell animals into and out of their operations as well as move cattle from one location to another. Thus, there is considerable need for producers to have a health or biosecurity program in place. In the last issue we started an examination of steps to improve biosecurity in cattle operations. As you'll recall, 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. You will note similarity in several of the lists.

1) 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 solution (clean-up) is provided.

2) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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 for everyone in the industry.

Dr. Steve Blezinger is and nutritional and management consultant with an office in Sulphur Springs Texas. He can be reached at 667 CR 4711 Sulphur Springs, TX 75482, by phone at (903) 885-7992 or by e-mail at sblez@verizon.net. For more information please visit www.blnconsult.com.

[Home]

Send mail to webmaster@cattletoday.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1998-2008 CATTLE TODAY, INC.