Today for National Farm Health and Safety Week, we are going to be talking about farm animal health and safety! Animals’ health and lives are just as important as their owners’, so let’s talk about how to ensure your animals are as healthy and as safe as you!
Animal health risks can be divided into two categories: injuries and diseases. Injuries can be self-inflicted, environmental, or other animal inflicted.
Self-inflicted harm is when an animal accidentally or purposely harms itself. This can be caused by stress and irritation. Stress can cause an animal to act out in many ways. One way is through self-inflicted pain. Examples can range from over-itching and causing wounds to excessive pacing. Injuries may also occur from the overuse or extension of muscles. These can be equally bad because the wound could get infected if not treated quickly enough, and the muscle could get worse or deteriorate if also not noticed or treated quickly enough.
Environmental injuries are any accidents that happen due to environmental factors. This could include thunderstorms harming livestock in uncovered areas or fencing injuring an animal. Environmental injuries can be avoided through precautions such as checking on your fencing every few months or watching for weather alerts and making sure your livestock is safe during those alerts.
Animal Inflicted Injuries
Animal-inflicted injuries can be one of two things: either inflicted by other livestock or insects/parasites. If you notice one of your animals has an injury, it’s important to separate them from the rest of your animals. This will protect them from further harm and give them some time to rest and recuperate.
Insect-inflicted injuries can be as little as a spider bite or as big as a parasitic infection. Parasites can be transmitted in a couple of different ways: contaminated food, water, blood, soil, and waste. Some can also be passed through sexual contact, but with livestock, that is typically not the case. A few ways to prevent the spread or contraction of parasites are ensuring your water is changed regularly, checking often for bites and wounds on your animals to make sure they are cleaned and uninfected, and periodical deworming and precautionary care.
The next animal health risk is diseases. One way to prevent the spread of disease would be to keep your animals safe and enclosed from other animals. This can be done by using gates to not only keep your animals in but keep other animals, and potentially dangerous predators, out. Another way to keep unwanted visitors out of your animals’ habitat is by using raised feeders and storage to keep pests away from food and therefore prevent the opportunity for diseases and keep it at a minimum.
Lastly, you must properly dispose of ruined bedding and uneaten food and clean animal enclosures frequently. Also staying up to date on vaccines, having routine veterinary exams, and watching for signs of illness are three other ways to make sure your animals are safe and healthy. Doing these couple of steps every month or so will help to prevent your farm animal from getting unwanted parasites and diseases.