K-State Livestock Expert Urges Youth to Practice Biosecurity Before and After Fairs
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K-State Livestock Expert Urges Youth to Practice Biosecurity Before and After Fairs

HONEST LIFE …

DeRouchey says to watch for signs of illness and consult your veterinarian.

Youth and others involved with showing animals at local markets should practice basic biosecurity practices to prevent the spread of disease between animals. (Courtesy photo)

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A Kansas State University animal science expert is urging youth and others who show animals at local fairs to take the time to make sure the animals are safe – both at the fair and during transport.

Joel DeRouchey said youth and others involved in animal shows should practice basic biosecurity practices to prevent the spread of disease between animals, as well as to stop disease once it occurs.

Pigs can spread disease quickly among themselves, DeRouchey said, and he advises pig showmen to look for symptoms before, during and after the market season.

“If your pig begins to cough, has loose stools or is not eating, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to establish a treatment plan that will help treat the disease and prevent it from spreading,” he said.

DeRouchey said maintaining biosecurity at fairs can be difficult when many exhibitors are gathering pigs. He said it’s common practice to use something solid — such as a wooden or plastic board inside the pens — to prevent pigs from touching nose to nose, which is one way diseases spread.

According to Derouchey, “if you’re bringing your livestock back from the fair, you need to have a plan in place that you discuss with your veterinarian.”

“Isolation is the primary way to prevent disease transmission to (non-market) animals in your home,” he said. “If you don’t have a separate place to isolate your (market) pigs, separate the market pigs in a separate part of the barn from the other pigs.”

Another way to prevent the spread of the disease is to clean and disinfect equipment that has been taken to markets or used frequently on the farm. DeRouchey said the disease can also be carried on clothes and shoes, so a thorough cleaning and changing of clothing can prevent the disease.

“If you have a sick animal, it’s important not to infect other pigs,” said DeRouchey, who encourages youngsters to become certified in a program known as YQCA, or Youth Quality Animal Care.

For more information on farm animal care, please contact the Department of Animal Science and Industry at Kansas State University.

— K-State Research and Extension News Service