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Thread: Public Health, Veterinary Medicine & book references

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016

    Public Health, Veterinary Medicine & book references

    After recently being asked what veterinary books I thought important for a survival library, I've been thinking about a collapse of the economy and what the subsequent society may look like. I've written a short piece about the possible outcome and public health implications, from the perspective of a veterinarian, and included a list of helpful books. I hope all or some of it can be of use to many.
    I struggled to find an appropriate section under which to post. Moderators, please feel free to move this discussion if desired or appropriate.

    Reverting back to Animal Agriculture

    In a world where infrastructure is poor and movement of food items is limited, many will be forced to live off the land and raise livestock. Gasoline will become a scarce commodity and horses may once again become a primary method of transportation. With this return to agriculture, we will be faced with many challenges our ancestors lived with, but ones that have long been forgotten to most of us. At the present time, less than 2% of Americans are involved in agriculture and it will be difficult to transition to a self-sufficient lifestyle for most. The following is a discussion about the perceived problems we will face in a post-collapse situation.

    Easily imaginable is the increase in traumatic injury as a direct result of handling livestock and farm implements. A simple kick of a horse’s back leg or the rush of an angry cow can easily put your best outdoorsman out of commission for months. You should designate a group of animal caretakers who will become skilled at working with large animals and practice safe handling measures. Several books below address animal handling and behavior and are good references to have.

    Contact between animals and humans will increase at a time when sanitation and cleanliness are likely to be poor. We will see a dramatic rise in the incidence of zoonotic diseases, those diseases which are transmitted between animals and man. Infectious zoonotic diseases can impact not only livestock production but also those who work with livestock. Food borne illness will become a major problem as refrigeration becomes difficult to obtain and hunger/starvation overrides the necessity of thoroughly cooking meats.

    A few zoonotic diseases of concern:

    Parasitic Diseases

    Larva migrans- Describes disease caused by migration of immature worms (larvae) through different parts of the body. The cutaneous form is caused by larvae penetrating and migrating in the skin, resulting in raised, reddened tracts in the skin. Commonly caused by hookworms, which are carried by most domestic animals. Hence the reason for not walking barefoot in pig pens. Visceral and ocular larva migrans occur in the internal organs and eye, respectively, and are usually caused by ingesting roundworm larvae. To protect yourself, always wear shoes around animals and wash your hands thoroughly after handling animals or animal waste.
    Cryptosporidiosis- Protozoal disease that is highly infectious & a common cause of diarrhea in calves, esp. dairy calves, though it can affect all mammals. It is usually a disease of very young animals, newborn to 3 weeks of age. It can be found in contaminated water sources as well. In humans it can result in profuse watery diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps & poor appetite. It can live up to 2-6 months in a damp environment, resulting in continued infection of both animal and man. It only takes a very small amount of the organism to make a person sick. If a calf develops diarrhea, you should quarantine it if possible. Always wash your hands and, if possible, wear gloves around the calf. Avoid drinking from contaminated (downstream) water sources.
    Trichinellosis- Adult worms produce eggs which hatch into larvae that enter the blood stream and form cysts in muscles and organs. The cysts appear as small white, lemon-shaped capsules in the meat of wild animals and livestock (usually pigs). Humans become infected when they eat undercooked meat that contains cysts. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, headaches & fever as the larvae migrate through the intestines into muscle and tissue. To prevent disease, all meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F (70C). Freezing meat also kills the trichinella worm.

    Bacterial diseases

    Brucellosis—A disease of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs & dogs that may cause late term abortions, infertility and inflamed testicles in affected animals. Humans can be exposed by contacting the placenta or fetus, drinking milk or when slaughtering an animal for meat (esp. pigs). If humans are not treated immediately after exposure, they may succumb to severe, debilitating and chronic disease characterized by intermittent bouts of fever, headaches and general weakness. This disease is also called “undulant fever”. Never perform reproductive work on an animal without gloves on, always wash hands thoroughly after handling reproductive tissues and only drink milk that has been pasteurized or boiled.
    We have eradicated brucellosis from cattle in the United States, but it still remains in wild populations of bison, buffalo and elk in certain parts of the country. Domestic animals can become infected from these wild animals, and with a breakdown in monitoring and control of foreign animal diseases brucellosis will likely begin to spread across the country. The disease is uncommon but still a threat in the other listed domestic species.
    Leptospirosis—Leptospirosis is one of the most important zoonoses worldwide. Dogs, pigs, cattle, rats & wildlife serve as a source of infection with this disease. The organism is passed in the urine, and animals or humans become infected by drinking contaminated water or by contact with the urine of infected animals. Large outbreaks can be seen after floods. Animals may show signs of fever, jaundice, red urine, late pregnancy abortions or may show no signs at all. In many human cases, the symptoms are mild or go unrecognized. Humans typically exhibit a sudden onset of fever, headaches, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, nausea/vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases lead to liver or kidney failure which could be life threatening. To prevent exposure, warn animal health workers to wear protective clothing to avoid direct contact with tissues and urine, avoid drinking, bathing & swimming in areas where leptospirosis is known to occur and practice good rodent control. Those working in contaminated environments, esp. where flooding has occurred, should also take precautions.
    Tuberculosis—This chronic bacterial disease typically affects cattle. It can spread to humans by inhalation of aerosols from a coughing cow or ingestion of unpasteurized milk. Bovine tuberculosis has been eradicated from most of the US states, though a few infected herds remain, and there is a potential for a comeback of the disease in the event of a breakdown of regulatory agencies. Infected cattle can show no signs of illness until late in the course of disease, leading to infection of many cattle and people before it is detected. Many chronically affected animals show emaciation, weakness, inappetance and moist coughing. In humans, the bacteria usually attack the lungs and cause fever, cough, chest pain and lymph node enlargement inside the chest cavity. Some humans show no signs of illness after infection but may develop disease years later. Most current human cases of tuberculosis in developed countries occur as a result of exposure to another person with the disease. As a safety precaution, try to avoid being near a person or cow that seems ill and is coughing. You should also pasteurize or boil milk before drinking it.

    Other notable zoonotic diseases

    Rabies—A very severe, fatal, viral disease that causes neurologic (brain) problems in humans and animals alike. Raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats are wildlife that carry the disease and can pass it to humans or animals by biting them. Affected animals exhibit strange behavior such as unusual friendliness, fear or aggression. Many animals that are active only at night will be seen in the daylight. Some animals become paralyzed, drool or have a change in the sound of their voice. Any animal showing these signs because of rabies infection will die within 7-10 days. People are usually exposed from the bite of an infected animal or by contacting an open wound with saliva from an animal with rabies. In humans, signs of rabies develop 1-3 months after exposure. Early symptoms include fever, headache, itching at the site of the bite, confusion and abnormal behavior. They also become over-sensitive to light and sound, have difficulty swallowing and a fear of water. Death occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms. There is no treatment or cure for the disease.
    Worldwide, more than 55,000 people die every year from rabies and the most common cause of exposure is from uncontrolled rabies in dogs. In more developed countries, though, good vaccination programs have been put in place and wildlife exposure is the most common cause of human and animal rabies. With the collapse of our society, however, immunity to rabies in our domestic animals will wane after several years and we will begin to see rabies in dogs again. Always be alert and cautious around animals exhibiting strange behavior, signs of nervous system problems or salivating excessively. If you believe you have been exposed, the most important thing to do is to wash the bite or contaminated area with soap, then seek medical attention to receive a series of anti-rabies injections. To prevent rabies in your community, a vaccination campaign for dogs should be held if possible. Loose or wild dogs should be rounded up and impounded or euthanized to prevent future human exposure.
    Plague—the cause of the infamous Black Death in Medieval times. It is carried by wild rodents such as prairie dogs, chipmunks, wood rats and ground squirrels, particularly in the Western US. Animals and humans can contract the plague by the bite of an infected flea which came from an infected rodent. Cats are also highly susceptible to plague and can be a source of infection. If your cat develops swollen lymph nodes under the chin and you are in a plague-endemic area, use extreme caution when handling the cat. The disease can also be transmitted between humans by a cough or a sneeze. Humans can develop three forms of the plague: bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic. Without prompt treatment, the disease can lead to serious illness or death. To protect yourself from disease, protect yourself from flea bites. Use good rodent control and tuck pants into socks when working or playing outside and avoid areas where large groups of rodents die suddenly.
    Tickborne illnesses- There are multiple diseases that are carried by ticks around the world. A few of these diseases are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia. Use effective tick prevention when outdoors, if available, and vigilant checks for ticks when outdoor work is done. Most tick-borne diseases require the tick to feed a minimum of 12-24 hours in order for disease transmission to occur. Early detection of ticks is important.
    Resource for tick borne diseases:

    The zoonotic diseases discussed above are, I believe, the ones of greatest concern in the near future. They have the potential to affect many people in a community, cause severe illness, chronic illness, or may be commonly encountered. There are many other diseases which can be transmitted between animals and humans, though. Just a few of them are influenza, West Nile virus, hantavirus, Orf, toxoplasmosis & ringworm. Diseases transmitted through milk include the already mentioned tuberculosis and brucellosis but also Q-fever, Salmonella, E. coli, Chlamydia and Listeria. If you already have milking animals and are able to, you should contact your veterinarian to perform diagnostic tests to prevent the transmission of milk-borne diseases. In addition, pasteurization standards are easily found, but as a general rule if you heat milk to 161F and maintain that heat for 15 seconds it is considered to be pasteurized. Food should always be handled safely and cooked thoroughly to prevent contamination and food-borne illnesses such as Salmonella, Campylobacter & E. coli.
    Resources for zoonotic diseases:

    Another likely threat post-collapse is packs of domestic dogs. Our canine companions are devoted to us as long as we provide for them, but most will revert back to survival instincts when food is no longer available. Many pets will be kicked out to fend for themselves, owners believing it to be the in best interest of their pet. Dogs will again learn to hunt together in packs. I read once that this phenomenon took place during and post-WW II in Europe and people feared for their lives.

    Finally, when deciding to keep livestock you should consider several factors. To begin with, the species of livestock you keep will depend on the geography of your area. Cattle and sheep are best suited to pasture land, while goats prefer wooded areas. Pigs and rabbits can be raised almost anywhere, as long as there are resources nearby with which to feed them. Ducks, too, are quite adaptable and require a pond with a small shelter from predators. The type of animal you raise should also be dictated by the amount of time it will take you to consume their products. For instance, if refrigeration is not available, meat and milk will spoil quickly (except during winter months). Butchering a cow will obviously yield much more meat than a goat or a rabbit. A large community would benefit from a lot of meat but for most, raising smaller livestock makes more sense. Another consideration is the time it takes for your livestock to reproduce. The length of pregnancy for a cow is 9 months, goats require 5 months and the gestation period for pigs is even shorter, at a little less than 4 months. Rabbits are pregnant for only 30 days and it takes a similar amount of time for chicks to hatch. Number of offspring is also important—cows typically give birth to a single calf, goats & sheep to two or three, while pigs and rabbits are litter bearing species, commonly delivering 8-12 live young each pregnancy. Finally, several livestock species are considered “dual-purpose”, producing more than one kind of usable product. Cattle are typically used for either meat or milk, sheep produce both meat and wool, goats can be used for meat and milk, ducks and chickens give both meat and eggs, while pigs and rabbits produce only meat for consumption. Of course, the skins of most animals can be processed to make usable leather.

    The decision to raise livestock as a food source is a wise one. Below you will find a list of books to aid you in this venture.

    Animal Husbandry books

    As a general rule, well cared for animals are healthy animals. The following books are excellent resources for the beginning farmer and have a lot to offer to seasoned homesteaders as well.
    1. Publications by Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM) include the Raising Healthy Animals Series.
    Nine concise books cover individual aspects of raising healthy farm animals and include goats, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, rabbits, honey bees, horses & fish. Each book is a wealth of information, especially concerning the feeding, care and maintenance of the animal in less than optimal conditions (i.e. third world country).
    Also of interest on the CVM bookstore website are the following books: Slaughter and the Preservation of Meat and Zoonoses (disease that can be spread between animals and humans). CVM also publishes the book Where There Is No Animal Doctor. Their website links to how to purchase the books, but most can be found on Amazon.
    2. Handbook of Livestock Management by Richard A. Battaglia
    A more in-depth book on the care of beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, horses, sheep, goats & poultry. With ample drawings, the book explains proper handling techniques and management practices such as vaccinations, shearing of sheep, trimming hooves, etc. It also includes clear descriptions of basic veterinary procedures not to be found elsewhere—pregnancy palpation of cattle, basics of assisted delivery of calves, dehorning, hoof trimming and castration, just to name a few. I am not familiar with newer versions of the book, but the 3rd edition contains adequate information for the lay person. You need this book if you are going to raise animals.
    3. Small-scale Pig Raising by Dirk van Loon
    We have found this book to be helpful in our small hog-raising operation. It covers housing techniques, swine nutrition and reproduction among others. We have the 1978 version, found easily for a few bucks on eBay, and worth the money.

    Veterinary Books

    These books are written to the veterinary professional and are not particularly layperson friendly. However, if one desires to focus solely on veterinary medicine after collapse these books will come in handy. A good veterinary medical dictionary can be used alongside them in many instances. I have listed the most useful books first.

    1. Where There Is No Animal Doctor by Quesenberry & Birmingham
    This book is a must-have for any survival medicine library. It could very easily be a sister book to Where There Is No Doctor and is written to the layperson. The book begins with the basics of health & disease and how to perform a physical exam and also addresses animal restraint & handling, nutrition, and covers most diseases that will be encountered on a regular basis, organized by body system. It gives detailed instructions on how to treat diseases mentioned and, importantly, includes a section on public health diseases. Castration of large animals is illustrated but no additional surgeries are discussed. A veterinary formulary is also included.
    2. The Merck Veterinary Manual
    A reference book that covers almost any veterinary disease you can think of, in most domestic animals. It is somewhat difficult to navigate and even harder, at times, to understand. The manual includes pathophysiology, clinical signs & lesions, diagnosis and treatment for each disease. It uses veterinary terminology extensively and can be overwhelming. It does, however, include some valuable reference tables, particularly vital signs such as temperature, heart rate & respiratory rate in various domestic animals. If you can pick up an older edition for a small fee it is worth having around. 8th edition or newer is desired.
    3. Veterinary Medicine: A textbook of the diseases of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and goats by Radostits & Gay.
    A very large textbook covering, in depth, the diseases of farm animals, along with treatment and control information. I list the book as “important” because it includes the major farm animals of interest in one text. It is an internal medicine textbook and does not cover common large animal maladies such as calving/birthing problems, nutrition or surgeries. The 10th edition is hard to find and 11th ed. is expensive.
    There is a link to download the entire 10th edition textbook (quite remarkable!):
    4. Saunders Handbook of Veterinary Drugs by Papich.
    A good, solid reference for using veterinary drugs. This book provides concise info about each drug—brief pharmacology & mechanism of action, indications & uses, precautionary info, instructions for use, formulations, withdraw/regulatory information when using drugs in food animals, stability & storage, etc. in a readable format. Very good reference to have.
    5. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook by Plumb.
    This is the go-to drug reference book in the veterinary world. It has exhaustive information on all the topics listed above under previous drug handbook, and the details are often overwhelming. Older editions should be adequate for the drugs likely to be available post-collapse.
    6. Sheep and Goat Medicine by Pugh & Baird
    Good reference book for the species it covers. Covers basic management & herd health information, which is especially important in small ruminants. Good explanation of diseases, treatment and control.
    7. Clinical Veterinary Advisor: The Horse by D. Wilson
    The Clinical Vet Advisor books are helpful because they cover not only diseases but they also include sections on procedures & techniques, laboratory findings, differential diagnoses lists and a drug formulary. There is also a Dog & Cat book available.
    8. Farm Animal Medicine & Surgery for Small Animal Veterinarians by Duncanson
    This book is written by our friends in the UK and there are some terminology differences. It appears to be a well-rounded little book, covering the most important details on diseases in cattle, sheep, goats, camelids (llama & alpaca), pigs and poultry. Surgical instructions are brief and leave to be desired with no illustrations included. It is, however, a cheaper alternative to the aforementioned surgery book, and can be used along with a decent anatomy book as a reference for surgeries.
    9. Farm Animal Surgery by Fubini & Ducharme
    This very thorough text covers any surgery you can imagine on farm animals, from digit amputation to replacement of a left displaced abomasum. A detailed description of each surgery is given, with discussion on pre- and post- operative considerations and different surgical techniques. This book will give you good direction on how to perform a caesarian section, replace a prolapsed uterus or rectum, and provide surgical considerations on wound repair of food animals but is otherwise more in-depth than desired unless you are a veterinary surgeon.
    10. Anatomy of Domestic Animals by Pasquini, Spurgeon & Pasquini
    Hand-drawn illustrations accompany a brief description of the anatomy of domestic animals in this book. It has your classic layer-by-layer approach to anatomy, organized by system and species. A good anatomy reference book for the dog, horse & cow with the occasional reference to pigs & sheep. It contains a good amount of discussion about anatomical parts, their function and clinical relevance, as well as species differences. Pasquini is a veterinary professor who has written multiple books and the ones I have encountered are very useful.
    11. Textbook of Veterinary Anatomy by Dyce, Sack & Wensing
    Textbook that is rich in description of veterinary anatomy and how it applies clinically (what you can expect to see in the animal). There are many illustrations and a few color plates. A good book to have to deepen your understanding of veterinary anatomy. My experience is only with the 3rd edition, but have heard the 4th edition includes color illustrations which is an improvement.
    Note on Anatomy books: There are many other texts available out there. These are the ones I am familiar with, so they are listed here. I’m sure one could find a decent text for cheaper than the ones listed above.

    Comments & questions welcome, as always.

    Last edited by AnimalDoc; 08-16-16 at 21:21. Reason: Edit book review

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    E. Coast
    EAK! A raw milk denier! lol!

    > 8. Farm Animal Surgery by Fubini & Ducharme
    The book was recommended to us in school as the best food animal surgical reference available. It is somewhat pricey, though. I don’t personally have a copy yet but will have one soon. Can review better at a later date.

    try the cheapest edition I see in $70. Pay attention to ISBNs as edition version often matters.

    Great write up! Appendix or chapter for the next edition?

    Last edited by tangent; 08-15-16 at 06:33.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Quote Originally Posted by tangent View Post
    EAK! A raw milk denier! lol!
    Not so fast, my friend! I've drunk raw goats' milk for the past umpteen years with no problems.
    It can pose a public health risk, though, esp. if the milking process isn't clean, milk handling is less than optimal and stressed or immunocompromised individuals are ingesting it. So, it's more or less a "use at your own risk" recommendation. There were some very serious diseases transmitted through milk to many a traveler on the plains back in the chuckwagon days. Think back to the TB quarantine hospitals (shudder).

    Thanks for tip on purchasing the book.
    Yes, if it's deemed "book worthy" by all means it will be included. Glad to finally contribute to the group.


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