All cattle farmers must be totally committed to producing safe food. They have a duty and responsibility to safeguard the health and welfare of animals on their farm, and should manage their farm to reduce the risk of disease challenge and, therefore, the need to use antibiotics and other medicines.
Cattle farmers should draw up, implement and regularly review an appropriate herd health plan that outlines routine preventive treatments (e.g. biosecurity, vaccination and worming programmes etc.) and disease control policy, in association with the attending veterinary surgeon.
Disease spreads around and between farms by contact with other cattle. Screening and monitoring will help to limit the spread of disease. REMEMBER contact can also be INDIRECT by a needle, surgicalinstrument, manure or people.
Stressed animals are far more likely to become diseased. This includes not only obvious physical stress factors such as overcrowding or management procedures; but also exposure to micro-organisms which cause major stress to the immune system e.g. BVD. THINK – If a procedure causes the cattle to become stressed, ask “can this be done in a less stressful manner?” e.g. castration, introduction of heifers tothe dairy herd.
There is no substitute for good management, hygiene and biosecurity measures. Cleaning buildings and equipment coupled with good hygiene will all make a difference. Don’t spread disease by poormanagement and hygiene.
Good intakes of colostrum provide essential antibodies to protect calves as their immune system is developing. Balanced diets with adequate levels of trace elements, vitamins and anti-oxidants are essential if the immune system of cattle is to work properly in tacklingdiseases
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