Biosecurity and Veterinarians

Veterinary practitioners are the first responders to a suspected disease incident on the farm. Early recognition and response is critical to human and animal health, food safety and the environment. Practising veterinarians play a large role in the planning and implementation of disease prevention and biosecurity programs on the farm including:

The practice of routine on-farm biosecurity

Veterinarians who visit farms pose a risk of spreading disease organisms from one farm to another. By stringently practicing every day infection control or biosecurity measures, this risk can be mitigated to an acceptable level. These common, everyday measures include:

  • Personal hygiene.
  • Wearing of clean protective outerwear and footwear.
  • Routine sanitation of equipment and instruments.
  • Routine sanitation of vehicles.
  • Proper storage and disposal of used consumable items.
  • Proper storage, cleaning and disinfection of reusable items.
  • Safe handling of collected laboratory specimens.
  • Planning and staging of farm visits, i.e. attending to sick animals after all healthy ones have been seen.
  • Observing self quarantine if highly contagious diseases are suspected.

Review of clients' biosecurity plans

  • Review biosecurity plans to be sure they focus on the Basic Principles of Biosecurity.
  • Client education is an integral part of the practising veterinarian's role. Producers rely on their veterinarian as a primary source of information.
  • Help clients develop a biosecurity plan that addresses management of access, animal health and operations.

Monitoring of animals

  • Maintain current knowledge of the foreign animal diseases most likely to enter Canada.
  • Be aware of clinical/necropsy findings which should alert suspicion. Routinely include foreign animal diseases in differential diagnoses.

Report suspected foreign animal diseases

  • Immediately report suspected foreign animal disease to the nearest District Veterinarian.
  • Once a firm suspicion is established, remain on the suspect premises. Stay on site until relieved by the District Veterinarian and encourage others not to leave the premises.
  • During an outbreak, continue to refer suspicious calls.
  • Inform the owner of your suspicions of a foreign animal disease without specifying the disease.

Practitioner's role in the diagnosis of foreign animal diseases.

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