Dr Mutiu Oladele-Bukola of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has advised livestock farmers to always seek the expert advice of veterinary doctors before setting up livestock farms.
Oladele-Bukola, who gave the advice in an interview with Newsmen) in Ibadan, said that the involvement of veterinary doctors would minimise the outbreak of animal diseases in livestock farms, thus boosting production.
He noted that the outbreak of animal diseases could result in poor growth, poor food utilisation, poor yield of products (milk, meat and wool) and even death of the animals.
According to him, animal diseases can be classified into viral, bacterial, protozoan, parasitic organism and malnutrition-related categories.
Oladele-Bukola said that poor hygiene was often associated with high incidence of disease and inadequate ventilation, resulting in overheating and breathing problems, while overcrowding of the animals often caused disease outbreaks.
“The general layout of an animal house, like communal gutters running through adjacent pens, may promote the spread of disease through faecal or urinary contamination.
“The amount of light available in a barn or pen should also be noted,” he said.
According to the veterinarian, diseases are caused by the entry of pathogenic organisms into farm animals via contaminated feeds, water, faeces or close contact with animal carriers.
He said that as part of efforts to prevent diseases, pragmatic plans should be initiated to prevent pathogenic organisms from entering the bodies of farm animals.
“Sick animals should be separated from healthy animals to pens, where they will be treated; this prevents the entire flock from contracting the disease.
“The farmer should post a sign at the entrance instructing visitors to check in at a central location such as the farm house; he should instruct drivers of essential vehicles to drive only where they need to go.
“Always know who is on your farm or ranch at all times; keep a record of all deliveries and visitors.
“If a highly infectious animal disease occurs in your farm, this information will help with follow-up investigation,” he said.
Oladele-Bukola stressed that disease control measures must include routine checkups and treatment of animals by a veterinary doctor.
“In the event of any disease outbreak, the veterinary doctor should be contacted; he should be furnished with relevant information that would enable him to diagnose the disease.
“This includes the history of the outbreak; this is to be supported by other tests like blood tests, post-mortem examinations and external symptoms.
“When the disease is identified, then, the right drug to combat the disease can be administered,” he added