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Animal Diseases to Know Before You Show

By Heidi Carroll 
2018 Animal Care Wednesday Webinars
Husbandry Practices in the Spotlight
January 3, 2018 kicked off the 2018 Animal Care Wednesday Webinar series. Keeping animals healthy is always the first priority of every animal caregiver, young and old. Dr. Dustin Oedekoven, State Veterinarian in South Dakota, provided listeners with a great list of the common diseases to be aware of and watch for in animals for show or exhibition. Additionally, Dr. Oedekoven shared a few of the diseases that are more common in commercial settings or have been in the headlines.
Risk Awareness
Animals can be exposed to various pathogens (disease causing bugs like bacteria or viruses) on their home farm, while they travel, or at a show. Many times it isn’t until an animal is stressed, such as a going to a fair that it begins to show signs of an illness. Changes to an animal’s daily routine, different water, and comingling with other animals all increase its risk to develop a disease. Regardless of the species, it is important to be familiar with the most common diseases encountered and then learn the clinical signs to watch for in the animal.
Dr. Oedekoven stated, “Implement a strong vaccination program for animals that will be shown or exhibited. Since rabies is a disease of concern for people, consider including a rabies vaccine because these animals have regular, close contact with people.”
Common Diseases
It is important to be aware of common diseases. Know the diseases or conditions that require show animals to remain at home. Some of the common diseases are zoonotic diseases and can be transmitted to people, so using proper biosecurity practices of cleaning and sanitizing are critical. After all, no exhibitor likes to bring an animal to a fair or show and then be sent home because it is showing signs of a disease that results in rejection.
View the lists below to familiarize yourself with some of the common diseases impacting show animals as well as some additional diseases and conditions to be aware of for each animal.
Common Diseases & Pathogens
Cattle (beef or dairy)
  • Respiratory disease (BRD)
  • Digestive diseases
  • Warts
  • Ringworm
  • Rabies
  • Swine influenza virus (SIV)
  • Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv)
  • Porcine reproductive and reproductive syndrome virus (PRRSv)
  • Porcine circovirus (PCV)
  • Erysipelas (Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae)
  • Ringworm
  • Respiratory disease (Pasteurella spp.)
  • Ovine progressive pneumonia (OPP)
  • Ram epididymitis (Brucella ovis)
  • Scrapie
  1. Respiratory diseases
  2. Scrapie
  • Strangles (Streptococcus equi)
  • Equine herpesvirus (EHV)
  • Equine influenza virus (EIV)
  • Pigeon fever (Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis)
  • Rabies
  • Salmonella pullorum
  • Avian influenza
  • Parasites (coccidiosis)
  • Mycoplasmosis
  • Pasteurella multocida (snuffles/rhinitis, pneumonia, wry neck)
  • Staphylococcosis (Staphylococcus aureus)
  • Ringworm
Additional Diseases & Conditions
Cattle (beef or dairy)
  • Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium pseudotuberculosis)
  • Trichomoniasis (Tritrichomonas foetus)
  • Bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis)
  • Reproductive, respiratory, and enteric diseases
  • Senecavirus A (SVA)
  • Pseudorabies virus (PRV)
  • Swine brucellosis (Brucella suis)
  • Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium pseudotuberculosis)
  • Q-Fever
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Campylobacter
  • Internal parasites
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