Bio-Security in Agriculture and Animals



Our local area relies heavily on agriculture; that's not news. However, lately the news is full of scary, life-threatening pathogens, so biosecurity is on the minds of many. Most people are focused on the threat to humans (naturally) and it is dominating the airwaves, the internet, and print media. But what about the animals... not just our companion animals but the animals we rely on for food and our livelihood. This is a real, everyday concern to farmers and ranchers. Even when we aren't being inundated with news of Ebola and Enteroviruses and other, equally terrifying ailments and illnesses, they have to be vigilant to keep things some of us never think about at bay.

Take for example the somewhat recent outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) that spread like wildfire through the swine industry and had almost a 100% mortality rate in young piglets. No treatment is available, nor is there a vaccine. Imagine the equivalent in the poultry or beef industry in this area. With the already elevated prices of cattle, the last thing Alabama needs is an epidemic that could decimate any livestock-for-food industry.

There needs to be an awareness of bio-security, not just on farms and ranches, but in our homes and workplaces (for those of us whose workplace isn't a farm or ranch). Pets and companion animals, especially the young, are at risk. The first few months of their life is when they are most susceptible to diseases such as Parvovirus in dogs and Feline Leukemia in cats.

One way to combat these is vaccinating the animals against known threats when a vaccine is available. It is important to note, however, that vaccines do not instantly protect any animal. It is this false sense of security that can be most dangerous to owners, if they assume their animal is protected and don't take other simple and inexpensive precautions.

Check with your veterinarian to be sure that you are immunizing against the common threats for your area and animals. Take particular care and caution for zoonotic diseases (those that can be passed from one species to another such as from animal to human).

Below are some examples of products that can help with biosecurity. Click here to see more options.

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