With the blazing summer sun comes fairs and shows all over the state and country! We are fortunate to still have many county fairs and 4-H shows in our area. Today, I went to write health papers on a beautiful young Jersey heifer. She was halter broken, bathed, clipped, and washed. She was all ready to go to the fair. There was only 1 problem....she had ringworm, which is a fungal disease that can be contagious to people. It is really contagious for very young, very old, or immune suppressed people! Because of this I as a responsible veterinarian had to tell this hard working young farmer that she could not take her heifer to the fair. It was a hard thing to do because she had worked so hard on preparing her, but she said she understood and didn't want anyone to get sick because they chose to touch her animal.
I was very proud of her ability to understand how much of a role she, as a responsible 4-Her and farmer, plays in public health! She will continue to treat this animal with anti-fungal medication and she will continue to disinfect her grooming equipment in hopes that her heifer will clear the ringworm and be able to be shown at a later time.
I encourage all of you young people out there to get your animals examined before taking them to shows, especially if you have concerns regarding their health. Only 1% of the U.S. now is directly involved with animal agriculture so we MUST continue to have events like county fairs to educate the public about agriculture. We certainly don't want them to have a negative experience because of our livestock because that gives agriculture a negative image.
Please be responsible with which animals you choose to put on display! These days with social media these pictures and stories go all over the world so do your part to help put agriculture in a positive light!!!