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Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Addition of New Animals geese photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

Animal Biosecurity—
Addition of New Animals


Pre-Purchase Process
Post-Purchase Management of Animals
Animal Importation
Regulated Diseases

Pre-Purchase Process

Bringing new animals onto your farm may also bring new diseases. Even buying or borrowing a bull, ram, or buck could compromise the biosecurity of your farm. Review the following checklist before and immediately after purchasing new animals. Organic livestock farms will recognize that careful examination of animals is needed since treatment options are more limited. Ask your veterinarian to contact the source herd's veterinarian. Test and vaccinate as needed. The key point is to determine the vaccination and health status not just of the individuals you are buying, but also of the herd of origin. Ask specifically about the following conditions:

1. Mastitis (in dairy animals)

  • Culture cows for Strep. ag, Staph. aureus, and Mycoplasma. Conduct a series of three bulk tank or individual cultures plus somatic cell count (SCC).
  • Purchase open or bred heifers to minimize the risk of mastitis (but recognize the risk will not be zero).

2. Hoof health

  • Inspect for hairy heel warts (cattle), foot rot, foot scald (small ruminants), and lameness. Isolate and treat any problems upon arrival.

3. Vaccination status

  • Ask for records of initial vaccination series and boosters for respiratory diseases, leptospirosis, bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) in cattle, clostridial diseases (CD Tet in small ruminants), and rabies.
  • Booster or initiate a vaccination series to match your herd vaccination program. Consult with your veterinarian about your routine and purchased-animal vaccination programs.
  • Boost vaccines 3 weeks prior to movement, if appropriate.

4. Herd health status

  • History of abortions. In cattle, diagnoses of neosporosis, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, BVD, lymphoma, or Johne's Disease. In small ruminants, diagnoses of Johne's, leptospirosis (Leptospira interrogans), vibrio (Campylobacter fetus), chlamydia (Chlamydia psittaci), toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii), or listeriosis (Listeria monocytogenes).
  • Breeding soundness exam prior to purchasing male breeding stock.
  • Test results negative for persistent infection (PI) with BVD in cattle.
  • Serologic status for bovine leukosis virus (BLV) in cattle, Johne's Disease (JD or MAP) in cattle and small ruminants; caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE) in goats; ovine progressive pneumonia (OPP) in sheep and goats.

5. Deworming/antiparasitic program

  • Check fecal; conduct egg count and test anthelmintic resistance in small ruminants. Get history of past deworming practices.
  • Check for signs of lice, mange, ringworm, and warts. Use pour-on or other insecticide upon arrival, if indicated.

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Post-Purchase Management of Animals

The ability of tests to find the presence of a disease (sensitivity) is limited, so testing alone does not eliminate the risks inherent to purchasing animals. Therefore, post-purchase management of incoming animals, as well as management of the home herd, are important control points.

  • Identify new arrivals and segregate for at least 2–3 weeks.
    • Use separate housing, feeding, and birthing areas (ideal).
    • Use separate housing and feeding areas (acceptable).
    • Prevent contact with other livestock (minimum acceptable).
    • Do not use an old barn that could compromise stall comfort, air quality, or feed management as an isolation facility.
  • Booster vaccines, if necessary.
  • Minimize stress.
    • Provide clean, comfortable housing with good ventilation.
    • Consult nutritionist to develop transition ration. Change to new ration slowly.
  • Inspect and treat feet for warts, scald, or lameness.
  • Prevent manure from moving from the isolation area to the rest of the herd.
  • Milk new and isolated dairy animals last.
  • Observe and examine frequently for early disease detection.
    • Plan and prepare in advance.
    • Monitor aggressively. Early recognition is crucial to preventing spread of disease.
    • Identify and train staff who will monitor health.
    • Create written protocols for monitoring and treatment with criteria such as fever, signs of infection, lameness, or off-feed.

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Animal Importation

Anyone who has brought an animal into Vermont knows that they must meet certain regulatory requirements. These restrictions are designed to prevent the introduction of diseases that are not currently present in the state. Although the restrictions vary by species, there are some similarities in the process. Since some diseases can spread from one species of animal to another—or even to humans—it is critical that all animal importers follow the applicable restrictions. The importation into the US of monkey pox with African rats in 2003 is an example of what can happen if adequate safeguards are not followed to ensure the health of the animals entering this country.

The United States is free of many diseases that occur in other parts of the world. Foot and Mouth Disease is a well-known example. Inspection of imported animals and feedstuffs plays a critical role in preventing the introduction of such diseases. Control programs are in place for a number of diseases that have been nearly eradicated from the US, including brucellosis and tuberculosis. These still exist in geographic regions where wildlife (bison and deer, respectively) serve as a reservoir for disease and periodically infect livestock. As of July 2003, Vermont is free of brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, and pseudorabies. These and other diseases are reportable if diagnosed (or suspected) in animals in the state.

All imported animals must be accompanied by the following items:

  • Import permit
  • Certificate of veterinary inspection within 30 days of importation
  • Official individual identification.

Any required testing must be done in the state or country of origin.

Additional information on regulations pertaining to the importation of animals is available through the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Web sites. The State Veterinarian will have the latest information on importation rules and regulations.

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Regulated diseases

The entry of animals from other parts of the country into Vermont is regulated to prevent the introduction of diseases found elsewhere in the United States. The regulated diseases are listed below by species, but you will notice several diseases affect more than one species. Vesicular Stomatitis is a particular concern because the signs resemble those of Foot and Mouth Disease. An animal with a vesicular disease will be quarantined and other restrictions may apply until a specific diagnosis is confirmed.

Cattle/Bison Goats
Brucellosis
Tuberculosis
Anaplasmosis
Bluetongue
Psoroptic mange
Vesicular Stomatitis
Brucellosis
Tuberculosis
Caseous lymphadenitis (CLA)
Vesicular Stomatitis
Deer/Elk/Other Cervidae Pigs
Brucellosis
Tuberculosis
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease
Anaplasmosis
Elaphostrongylinae nematode (worm)
Chronic wasting disease in elk
Bluetongue
Vesicular Stomatitis
Brucellosis
Pseudorabies
Vesicular Stomatitis
Camels/Llamas/Alpacas Horses
Brucellosis
Tuberculosis
Bluetongue
Vesicular Stomatitis
Equine infectious anemia (Coggins)
Vesicular Stomatitis
Sheep Poultry
Bluetongue
Psoroptic mange
Scrapie (affected or exposed)
Vesicular Stomatitis
Pullorum-typhoid
Avian influenza

Other species not included in this list may also have specific regulations. If you are importing an animal that is not on this list, contact the State Veterinarian to determine which agency has regulatory authority and follow the proper procedures.

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Last modified October 06 2010 09:02 PM

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