Commissioner Carlos Robles reminds livestock farmers about the increased threat of disease to their animals caused by the wet weather. He recommends that all farmers fix leaky roofs and improve drainage in and around animal pens during the rainy season to reduce mud and wet manure, according to a press release issued Monday by the V.I. Department of Agriculture (VIDOA).
Wet and muddy pens and pastures put animals at risk for many health problems. Mud can damage feet and make animals lame and unable to move around or get to their food. Stomach worms thrive in wet manure and on muddy pastures and can cause disease and even death in infected cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
According to Dr. Bethany Bradford, director of veterinary services for DOA, "Wet manure causes the release of ammonia into the air. The ammonia can irritate the animals’ lungs and cause pneumonia. Farmers should make every effort to keep their animals out of the mud and manure by building concrete flooring or providing wood pallets for animals to stand on."
To neutralize the ammonia, Bradford recommends using white lime. White lime is available from any concrete supplier and can be spread directly onto wet areas to control the ammonia.
Farmers should contact the Department of Agriculture Division of Veterinary Services about using deworming medications effectively to reduce worm infestations.