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Animal disease

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Schmallenberg virus has been reported in cattle, sheep and goats.
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Advice on reducing the risk of infectious disease introduction and limiting the spread of disease during an outbreak.

The Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework was launched in July 2014. It is a 10 year plan of continuing and lasting improvement in standards of health and welfare of all animals kept for food, sport, work and companionship.

The key principles of the strategy are:

  • working in partnership
  • promoting the benefits of animal health and welfare: Prevention is better than cure
  • ensuring a clearer understanding of the costs and benefits of animal health and welfare practice
  • understanding and accepting roles & responsibilities
  • delivery and enforcing animal health and welfare standards effectively.

As these principles suggest, we all have a role to play – animal owners and keepers, vets, enforcement bodies and government.

No matter what disease we are concerned about, the basic approach is the same:

  • keep infection out
  • rapid early identification of infection
  • stop infection spreading
  • stamp infection out and/or develop programmes to manage the problem.

Vigilance and good stockmanship are essential in the fight against any animal disease.  Maintaining good standards of biosecurity and checking animals regularly for signs of disease are important in reducing the risk of infectious disease introduction and limiting the spread of disease during an outbreak.

Many diseases may not show themselves as dramatic events but can have devastating effects on production and welfare. Stock keepers who utilise animal health planning stand a better chance of detecting disease and can investigate these more effectively together with their vet.

Some infectious diseases are very significant not only for the animals and their keeper but the wider economy and community. These diseases are notifiable by law. Animal keepers should ensure they know and can recognise the basic signs that would alert them to the need to report disease. You should consult your own veterinary surgeon if you have any concerns about the health of your animals.