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Show animal biosecurity

Tips to keep your animals healthy at the fair

You’ve worked hard to get your animals ready for county and state fairs. The last thing you want is for your livestock to pick up or transmit a disease while there.

Dr. Dustin Oedekoven is the South Dakota State Veterinarian. He says on a broader sense, disease control depends on the biosecurity plan and actions by the show managers.

"And that starts with good cleaning and sanitation of the facilities prior to animals coming in there to be housed. A lot of these pathogens can survive in the environment, whether it be wood chips or shavings, or on wooden stall panels, that sort of thing," says Oedekoven. "Some of those pathogens can survive well for an extended period of time, so cleaning and disinfection ahead of time is really important."

Some states require show animals to have a certificate of health by a veterinarian. But many times, it isn’t until an animal is stressed by the new surroundings and routine that it begins to show signs of an illness.

Oedekoven says be familiar with common diseases your animal could be exposed to and have your own biosecurity practices.

"Don’t share common watering sources such as community water tanks. Use your own buckets, your own tack, and your own supplies. The less interaction you can have between your animals and other people’s animals, the less transmission of disease you may have," he says. "And even if you do all of that right, you’ve got animals that are under the same housing for extended periods of time, those pathogens can be spread through respiratory routes easily within a barn."

If your animals go back home with you, Oedekoven recommends keeping them separate from the home herd for about 21-days. This is enough time to watch for signs of illness in the show animal and prevents it from spreading to the others.

Learn more about show animal biosecurity

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