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Montana Animal Biosecurity Information*

Information about Montana's biosecurity measures for preventing transmission of foreign and other animal diseases


Importance of Biosecurity

Biosecurity, the practice of protecting ranch and farm animals from disease, has become a major concern with the worldwide threat of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and other diseases.

Effective biosecurity requires several components including isolation, traffic control, and sanitation that aim to reduce exposure to bacteria, viruses and other organisms that may infect animals with disease.

Montana producers are encouraged to maintain a high sense of awareness for unusual occurrences of animal diseases in their communities. Producers need to initiate an appropriate level of biosecurity on their ranches and farms. A good biosecurity program helps to lower the risk of pathogens being transferred from ranch to ranch.

Informed veterinarians and livestock producers are the first line of defense against foreign and other animal diseases.

General Potential Signs of Foreign Animal Diseases

  • Sudden, unexplained death loss in the herd or flock,
  • Severe illness affecting a high percentage of animals,
  • Blistering around an animal’s mouth, nose, teats or hooves,
  • Unusual ticks or maggots,
  • Staggering, falling or central nervous system disorders.

Control Access to Your Property

  • Post “Disease Control Area” signs.
  • Have only one combined entrance and exit to your farm.
  • Keep property gates locked at all times.
  • Establish a checkpoint for visitors entering your property.
  • Keep a guest book. Make sure all visitors sign in at arrival and sign out at departure.
  • Only allow essential vehicles and visitors to enter the farm.
  • Collect all farm supplies and deliveries along the farm border.
  • Keep accurate records of all deliveries.

Biosecurity Precautions

  • When a new animal moves onto a farm, be sure that the health status and the source of the animal is known.
  • New animals or animals returning to a farm should be separated from the rest of the herd for at least two weeks.
  • Exclude foreign visitors from farms for at least five days after arrival in the United States. Ask foreign visitors to provide information about recent farm and animal contacts.
  • Clothing worn on farms in other countries should be washed and footwear should be disinfected; luggage, camera and other items should be disinfected.
  • All footwear should be disinfected before entering and after leaving an animal housing area.
  • Discourage walking through feed mangers and physical contact of animals by foreign visitors.
  • Keep vehicles, such as milk, feed and livestock trucks, from driving through areas where animals are housed or feed is kept.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling livestock.
  • Ranchers can contract a skin form of anthrax that requires specific antibiotic treatment. See your physician if you develop a sore or lesions after handling vaccine or livestock.
  • Keep dogs out of pastures and away from carcasses during an anthrax outbreak. Although dogs are reportedly resistant to anthrax, they can develop infection from the bacteria and may require treatment.
  • Do not swim in stock tanks or stagnant ponds in pastures where death losses have occurred. Streams are considered safer, as the moving water will dilute organisms. Report animal carcasses in streams or rivers to local authorities.

Provide Disposable Protective Clothing

  • Keep a supply of disposable face masks, clean coveralls and disposable boots for visitors.
  • If you haul your own animals, wash your truck, clean and disinfect boots, and change coveralls before returning to your farm.
  • If it is necessary to be around other farm animals, consider wearing protective clothing such as coveralls, disposable boots and nitrile gloves before you enter the property. Properly dispose of those items before returning to your farm.

Provide Disinfectant for Incoming Visitors

  • Provide visitors with a tub of disinfectant and a brush for scrubbing shoes for use before they enter your property.
  • Vehicles entering and leaving your property should have their tires washed with disinfectant.
  • Use a disinfectant to wipe all dirt and grime from personal items.

Additional Steps

  • Control your cats, dogs and poultry.
  • Terminate rodents and similar creatures that may spread disease.
  • Keep supplies away from garbage and other waste.
  • Evaluate feedstuffs purchased or brought onto the property and fed to animals.
  • Practice security and cleanliness in feed storage to eliminate contamination of feedstuffs.

Additional Information

Confirmed or suspected cases of foreign and other animal diseases that are transmissible should be reported to:

Montana State Veterinarian
406-444-2043

U.S.D.A. APHIS Veterinary Services
406-449-2220 (for Montana)

*Alternative accessible forms of this document will be provided upon request. For further information call 406-444-9431 or TDD 406-444-1421.