When it comes to preparing for animal disease outbreaks, it’s important that you and your employees know that to look for.

An easy way to identify the signs of a possible disease outbreak is to memorize the acronym BUDDIES. Each letter stands for a symptom that, if spotted, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately, says Julie Smith, University of Vermont extension dairy specialist.

  • Blisters or vesicles around the mouth, nose, teats or hooves.
  • Unusual ticks, maggots or other things on the skin of an animal that are normally not seen.
  • Dead or down animals — more than usual.
  • Diarrhea, more than usual, especially in older growing or more mature animals.
  • Illness or abortion – more than usual.
  • Eating abnormally, especially feed refusal.
  • Staggering or spasms, a sign of possible neurological disease.

The faster an animal is identified, the better the situation will be, she says.