University of Vermont

Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Coyotes, Dogs, and Cats geese photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

Wildlife Biosecurity—
Coyotes, Dogs, and Cats

Coyotes are wild canines with dog-like features. They are well-adapted to populated areas and are no strangers to farms, fields, and woods. Coyotes are less likely to attack livestock where wild game such as rabbits, squirrels, and mice are plentiful. They will also kill deer and eat carrion. How deadstock are handled may enhance a farm's coyote population and encourage depredation of livestock. Coyotes may carry disease-causing agents so should be kept out of areas where livestock are pastured or housed.

barn dogs photo by Krista CheneyPhoto: Krista Cheney

Dogs may be employed on farms to help move or guard animals. Unfortunately, dogs tend to eat just about everything from Rocky Mountain or prairie oysters and afterbirth to horse manure. Unless dogs are kept out of animal feed and housing areas, they may spread any of a number of disease-causing agents that can be spread through fecal-oral contamination. Of particular concern is data suggesting that dogs play a role in completing the life cycle of the protozoan parasite Neospora. Neospora causes abortion in cattle. Dogs should, therefore, not be able to access pastures during calving, lambing, or kidding season, or maternity areas of barns.

barn cat photo by Julie SmithPhoto: Julie Smith, DVM, Ph.D

Cats may be part of a farm's rodent control program. Like dogs, they can spread a number of disease-causing agents and may carry Neospora as well. It is best to prevent cats from living in hay mows or other areas where feedstuffs are accessible. Farm cats and dogs should be routinely vaccinated against rabies.

Previous Page | Next Page

Last modified October 06 2010 09:20 PM

Contact UVM © 2018 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131