Herd health planning is key to helping farmers reduce risk to animals

Poor animal health leads to reduced animal performance, increased veterinary costs and reduced profits.

A herd health plan prepared by the breeder in collaboration with his veterinarian is an essential element to ensure the good health of your animals. The plan outlines the approach in place on the farm to prevent various diseases and animal health issues.

It is much easier to sit down with your veterinarian and prepare for good herd health than trying to fix herd health issues when they have settled on the farm.

Step 1 is to investigate the health status of the herd of animals on your farm.

Consult your veterinarian about this as they will know the major health issues on your farm and their level of occurrence and will also be in the best position to lay out a plan to reduce the occurrence or prevent further issues.

Also, look at the performance level of your herd.

Poor performance can be the result of underlying health issues.

Stage 2 prevent the introduction of disease. Operating a closed herd is possible. Also, protect your boundaries.

If you must purchase animals, collect herd health history in advance if possible and test incoming animals. When bringing purchased animals to your farm, animals must be quarantined for up to 30 days or until test results are clear. You should then perform your normal dosing and vaccination procedure on purchased animals, unless you know they have been recently vaccinated/dosed.

Step3 is to reduce the spread of disease. As part of your herd health plan, a farm-specific vaccination program should be implemented. Prevention is better than cure after all. Vaccination against leptospirosis prevents the spread of the disease before the peak period of transmission, which is at pasture.

Protection is needed before the breeding season, not during it.

Step 4 is to monitor your control program and herd health plan. Livestock should be herded regularly, problems detected early can greatly increase the chances of animal survival. Monitor records to detect changes in animal performance that may be caused by health issues.

For a herd health plan to be successful, it should be reviewed regularly, as needed, by the veterinarian and producer and should not be a one-time document.

The plan should detail on-farm vaccination and dosing protocols. He must also identify the moment of the treatments.

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