Livestock farmers must have the following three F’s at their finger tips as this is where most disease-causing organisms enter or exit farms. They are Farm gates, Fences and Foresight.
Examples of major disease which can enter farms are foot and mouth disease, brucellosis, Johne’s disease, TB, cryptosporidiosis, trichomonosis, vibriosis, sheep scab, resistant parasites such as red lice, blue ticks and internal parasites. According to the monthly report on livestock disease trends as informally reported by veterinarians belonging to the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (RuVASA).
Farmers must also follow a number of basic guidelines:
• Insist on vendor’s declarations when buying animals.
• Quarantine new animals before they are allowed to be part of the herd.
• Follow the prescribed immunisation programmes.
• Speak to your veterinarian about your disease control programmes.
• Abide the law and vaccinate your cattle against anthrax (especially in light of the outbreak in Lesotho) and your heifers against brucellosis!
• Read every product’s label and ensure you are following the instruction when using chemicals and drugs on the farm.
More than a thousand animals recently died due to organophosphorus poisoning.