Since spring is here, I thought I'd pass on what I consider valuable information for people living on farms, homesteads, and ranches. This time of year there are a lot of new births, and birthing fluids, afterbirth, and fecal matter is something that should be handled correctly for the safety of caretakers and animals alike. For some, this may be new information as I have recently been learning more about it. Who has heard of the term "zoonosis"? Basically it’s a disease that is transmitted from an animal, to humans (for example, rabies).
At first when I read an article on zoonotic diseases, I kind of freaked out about this crazy story of a guy getting bovine chlamydia pneumonia (I know, wow.) from a new born calf he put in the floor of his pickup to warm up and dry off (something us ranchers do a lot). THEN I learned that 61% of all the pathogens humans contact are zoonotic. So I've taken a deep breath and started to not freak out so much. However, I do think this is something to be mindful of (because I don't plan on living in a bubble).
Following is a list of ways we can live that will reduce our chances of getting zoonosis:
1) ALWAYS WEAR LATEX GLOVES when birthing an animal to keep out of contact with birthing fluids (this includes dealing with still-wet calves, kids, or whatever critter you have)
2) WASH YOUR HANDS very often, even if you're going back out soon to work more
3) CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES when you come in (don't go sit on the couch in the pants you just vaccinated a calf in)
4) WASH YOUR COATS AND COVERALLS more often, think of all the animal matter that is on them!
5) TELL YOUR DOCTOR that you are involved in livestock, most diseases start with cold-flu symptoms and a doctor may cast it off as that, but tell them what you do and to contact your vet and test for possible zoonotic diseases before they become life threatening.
Here is a link to some common zoonotic diseases in cattle:
If you have healthy livestock and be mindful of zoonosis, you should have a happy disease free life!
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