The elements of animal health planning

Farmers can improve welfare, productivity, and animal health. You can do so via careful planning. This is a continuous improvement method. It focuses on encouraging the development of disease control and health building measures. These are ones suitable for the specific farm’s circumstances. It leads to a system that becomes less reliant on veterinary medications without undermining welfare.

A health herd plan needs to consider multiple elements. We are going to discuss some of them here.

Background information

The majority of farm and health plans begin by listing essential details about the farm. Examples include the farm’s address, critical personnel, and contacts like feed suppliers and the vet. Details about your stock are also vital, like ages, breeds, and numbers.

Record keeping and monitoring

To efficiently lower both medicine use and disease, you have to understand what the present levels are. So, you need a disease recording and monitoring system in place. It is only possible for an animal health plan to be completely operational after you put them in place.

The details coming from these systems let you obtain an accurate analysis of the herd or flock status and medicine use. You can then design a plan that takes into consideration the special features of the farm.

It is essential that a local vet gets involved in the planning too. They can ensure you get a great understanding of the local disease situation.

Preventing diseases from entering herds

Farmers need to remain aware of those diseases that exist in the local area. Also, you need to know what the risk factors are when bringing animals onto the farm. You can broadly class risks into those about contact through shared resources with other animals and farms. It is possible to do the same for those concerning the introduction of returning or new animals. Lastly, you can class risks into those about introducing disease through equipment or humans entering a farm.

Another section to this element of animal health is having a closed flock/herd policy. It is one where you don’t bring in any animals, not even temporarily. Show or breeding animals could probably be bought occasionally. Here, you should establish a biosecurity policy for such occasions. It needs to identify isolation and quarantine measures for bought-in and sick stock.

Disease reduction and control plans

The plan needs to consider every identified syndrome or detail. Moreover, it has to establish ways in which the possible risk factors can be eradicated or limited.

Start your plan with those diseases you know about already as the primary issues on the farm due to the monitoring procedure. You can add new conditions and diseases to the plan as motivation and time allow.

Vaccinations in health planning

Your animal health plan needs to list the presently used immunisation procedures and vaccines. Also, you must have the reasons for every vaccine use. The goal is to lower vaccine usage on farms, so you should establish a clear plan of action. Your plan needs to consider the local risk factors. Plus, it must have alternatives to immunological protection.

Promoting natural behaviour and positive health

Some plans have this alternative approach to health. They do it instead of disease avoidance, identification of risk factors, and diagnosis. Planning here can attempt to promote the general wellbeing of the herd. It works by actively enhancing the living conditions in two ways. The first is via breeding to select animals that suit the farm conditions. The second is through the access to species-specific feed, the freedom to express natural behaviour, and housing.


There are specific mutilations deemed acceptable for safety reasons. However, these acts can result in major distress and discomfort. So, you need to do them in full compliance with animal welfare legislation. Furthermore, the health plan needs to specify processes that focus on lowering the negative impacts in relation to suffering and pain. The plan needs to specify who did the operation and how.

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