With the recent weeks of heavy rains in the territory, Commissioner Dr. Louis Petersen reminds livestock farmers about the increased threat of disease to their animals caused by the wet weather, according to a press release issued Monday by the V.I. Department of Agriculture.
Extended periods of wet weather can be extremely difficult for livestock. Stomach worms and ticks thrive during the rainy season and can cause disease and even death in infected cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
Animals that are confined to wet and muddy pens are at risk for many health problems. Mud can create severe foot problems like foot rot, which can potentially prevent animals from getting to feed and can lead to permanent lameness and bone infections. Wet manure gives off ammonia which can cause pneumonia, especially at the nose level of the animal.
According to Dr. Bethany Bradford, director of veterinary services for VIDOA, livestock owners should provide a dry area for all animals, especially during times of rainy weather. "Animals should be kept out of the mud using concrete flooring or pallets in pens to help minimize exposure to rainy conditions and flooding. Fixing leaky roofs is also recommended, given the potential consequences to the health of livestock animals," Dr. Bradford said.
Pallets can be obtained for free from any store and can be used safely to keep animals out of the mud. White lime is also available from any concrete supplier and can be spread on the mud to neutralize the ammonia odor. Deworming animals is also recommended.
For more information, call the Division of Veterinary Services at 778-0998 ext. 252 and 241.