Direct contact and disease spread

Two sheep touch noses on a pasture.

No matter the size of your herd or flock, diseases can be spread by animals in contact with each other and with you.   How are diseases spread through direct contact?  For a disease to be spread through direct contact, there must be a disease agent in the environment on an infected animal. Animals become exposed … Read more


Monkey sits on a branch in a leafy area.

A disease you may have heard about in the news recently is Monkeypox. Monkeypox is rare and relatively unknown in the U.S. If you work with non-human primates, you may be more familiar with this disease. There are currently 460 reported cases of Monkeypox in the U.S. as of July 1, 2022. Health officials are … Read more

Keeping your hands clean on your farm

handwashing station attached to the side of the barn

Hand washing is very important when working on a farm or ranch. While it sounds too easy, hand washing is one of the easiest and best ways to protect your animals, yourself, and those on your farm from disease-causing organisms. Stations should be set up around the premises, so employees and visitors can wash their … Read more

Four practices to protect herd health on organic/alternative farms

Man holds black lamb while sheep graze on pasture in the background.

Animals can be exposed to diseases due to various factors and agents. Diseases can be spread from animal to animal, to and from humans, and from the environment. Diseases that can spread between animals and humans are called zoonotic diseases.     Regardless of the source of the disease, there are many ways the disease can … Read more

Vectors and disease spread in humans and animals

The left picture shows a young, tan calf laying down with flies on its face. The right picture shows a tick on the end of a blade of grass.

As we move into summer and the weather gets warmer, we tend to see an increase in vector-borne diseases (VBD). Vectors are insects, rodents, birds, or other animals that can carry disease pathogens. The most common vectors are insects that suck blood, such as mosquitoes and ticks. VBDs occur in both animals and humans. Every … Read more

Bovine Tuberculosis

Herd of black cattle graze on a grassy field.

What is Bovine Tuberculosis (TB)?  While bovine tuberculosis is uncommon in the United States, it is prevalent in many developing countries. A bacterium causes bovine TB. It is important to know the signs, to protect yourself and your herd. Bovine TB can affect various species, but primarily cattle and buffalo. Bovine TB can spread to … Read more

How Disease Spreads

Red calves eat forage at a feed bunk.

Diseases can be spread in a variety of ways – through humans, the environment, and other animals. Knowing how diseases spread can help you take actions to protect your animals.  Routes of disease spread are listed and discussed below.   Aerosol transmission    Aerosol spread happens when droplets are spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. … Read more

Disease prevention plan template for organic/alternative farms

Photo of Step 3 disease prevention plan template

The Livestock Project has put together a user-friendly disease prevention plan template for organic and alternative farms and ranches. This template can be customized to fit your farm and your goals! Disease preventions actions are needed daily to help ensure the health of your livestock and poultry. These same actions can also help prevent zoonotic … Read more