Throughout Michigan and the U.S., one-day prospect shows, jackpots and other livestock exhibitions are a great way for youth to experience the agriculture industry while learning valuable skills. These shortened exhibition events are held throughout the show season and provide opportunities for youth to work their animals in the ring, learn from others in the industry, make connections and network with industry professionals. While these shortened events provide great opportunities there is also a risk of spreading disease when these animals are comingled. Below are biosecurity recommendations that will help participants learn to mitigate disease spread, identify sick animals, and monitor their own health for signs of zoonotic disease infections.
Before the show
- Monitor your animal’s health. If your animal is sick, do not attend the show. Don’t spread disease to other animals.
- Work with your veterinarian to carry out a routine health care plan specific to the breed you are raising and showing.
- Clean and disinfect your show equipment and trailer before going to the show.
During the show
- Do not share equipment or tools with other exhibitors.
- Be conscious of common areas where animals and people congregate, such as wash racks and water sources. When watering your animals using a community hose, do not allow your animal to drink directly from the hose or dip the community hose in your bucket.
- Monitor your animals for heat stress and any signs of illness.
After the show
- Quarantine recently shown animals by isolating them from other animals at your farm and watch for signs of illness. At minimum do not allow nose-to-nose contact between these sets of animals.
- The length of an isolation/observation period depends on the diseases of greatest concern for your animal; generally, 14-28 days is recommended but check with your veterinarian or species superintendent.
Signs of illness in animals
- Signs of sickness include fever, off-feed, lethargy, nasal discharge, cough, “thumping” or hard time breathing, and diarrhea.
- For swine normal rectal temperature = 101.5° – 102.5° Fahrenheit.
- Temperatures over 105° in exhibited swine are reportable to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources by calling 800-292-3939.
- Notify show organizers if your animal becomes sick after attending a show or exhibition.
Work with your veterinarian for care recommendations if needed.
Cleaning and disinfection
- Clean and disinfect your trailer, equipment and footwear used at the show.
- Remove all manure and used bedding. Rinse with water and clean with detergent (soap) if possible.
- Apply disinfectant, following all label guidelines, and allow to dry completely.
- Commonly used products include DC&R®, Zephiran Chloride®, Tek-Trol, Virkon-S™, One Stroke Environ®, Husky 800™, Synergize®, and accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP), commonly known as Accel® or Rescue™.
- Bleach (such as Clorox®) is also a good disinfection product. This is used at a rate of 1:32 which is ½ cup (4 oz.) to one gallon of water. Do NOT add ammonia to bleach/water mixture.
Take care of yourself!
- Zoonotic diseases are those that can infect both people and animals; one example of a zoonotic disease is influenza (flu). Flu viruses that normally spread among pigs (swine influenza) can infect people. When a swine influenza virus infects a person, it is called a “variant virus.” Human flu viruses can also infect pigs. Flu viruses spread through close contact with infected animals or people and their environments. You cannot get swine variant influenza from eating properly handled and prepared pork or pork products
- If you attended a show and are experiencing respiratory symptoms that need medical care, tell your doctor that you were around pigs. This helps them identify the tests and treatments that will help you feel better.
- Symptoms of swine influenza in people are often identical to those of seasonal influenza infections and can include fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or congested nose, headache, body aches, and fatigue.
- Prevention is key to keeping our animals and ourselves healthy. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water before and after being around animals. Make sure to get your seasonal flu vaccination. And stay away from your animals when you are feeling sick!