Biosecurity and disease

Holstein cow

Biosecurity literally means 'safe life'. If you work or come into contact with farm animals, biosecurity means taking steps to make sure that good hygiene practices are in place. This will help prevent the spread of animal disease.

Good biosecurity is a vital part of keeping new disease away from animals. It also helps to improve farm efficiency, protect neighbouring farms and the countryside.

The message is simple:

  • Disease may not always be apparent, especially in the early stages
  • Be clean, particularly if handling animals or moving between different premises
  • A good biosecurity routine is always essential - not just when there is a major disease outbreak

The list of diseases that the dairy herd are prone to is almost endless.

Some diseases are, however, more significant than others although different diseases may be important for different reasons.

Some have zoonotic implications - this means they can be transferred to humans - some have serious consequences in terms of animal welfare and others can result in a significant compromise in productivity and profitability.

In this section you will find information on how to keep your herd safe by using a Cattle Purchasing Checklist. There are also pages listing various diseases, their clinical signs, how they are transmitted and what treatments are available.