“USDA data tell us that nearly half of all dairies are infected with Salmonella, and in herds over 500 cows, that number jumps to 61 percent,” explains Gary Neubauer, veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health. “Most of those infections are subclinical, resulting in decreased milk production and cattle that are more susceptible to other diseases, especially right after calving.”
Salmonella pathogens also can spread from animal to animal throughout an operation for months without detection. Neubauer recommends taking these steps as part of a Salmonella control plan:
• Maintain clean facilities. Evaluate fresh cow, transition and calving pens. Apply fresh bedding on a consistent schedule and remove all manure from the facilities.
• Sanitation is key. Feeding equipment and loaders should not be used for manure handling. Clean calf-feeding utilities and oral treatment equipment on a regular basis.
• Enforce biosecurity measures. Insist that all visitors, including veterinarians, wear clean boots and clothing. Wash boots regularly and launder work clothes daily. Ideally, work attire should be left at the dairy.
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