Whether your farm is big or small, you care about your animals. More than just an asset, your animals are important to the overall well-being of your farm. As you know, keeping them healthy means staying up to date on the latest information. For a quick refresher, or to learn something new, check out these tips:
- Keep a watchful eye. Regularly keep an eye on how animals look. If you notice any cuts or scrapes, signs of infection or changes in behaviour like laboured breathing or not eating and drinking, you may want to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. Of course, be sure to work with your veterinarian regularly and schedule routine visits. Your vigilance can prevent an infection or illness from getting worse.
- Practice good biosecurity. We’ve all learned the importance of infection prevention in the last few years. Just as it’s important to prevent illness spreading between humans, cleaning and disinfecting is also essential when it comes to interacting with your animals. Whether you have a few animals or a whole herd, practicing good biosecurity (like cleaning equipment and avoiding exposure to wild animals) reduces the risk of illness and infection. You can establish a good biosecurity plan with the help of your vet.
- Vaccinate when possible. Vaccines help provide immunity against a disease and reduce the chance that an animal will become sick. So, ensure your animals are vaccinated, and be sure to ask your vet about updating your farm’s disease management protocols.
- Fight antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is an ongoing threat to animal and human health in Canada and around the world. It happens when microbes (like bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) adapt and make antimicrobial drugs less effective, or not effective at all. This means the drugs can’t stop or slow down microbial growth to properly treat infections. Keeping your animals healthy will reduce your need to use antimicrobials and can help preserve the effectiveness of these medications.
To help prevent antimicrobial resistance, consult a veterinarian before treating animals for injury or illness. If medications are prescribed, use them as directed, and properly dispose of any unused amounts.