Welcome to class!
Last class, we discussed Animal Feeding.
In today’s class, We will be discussing common diseases that affect animals. Enjoy the class!
Animal disease, an impairment of the normal state of an animal that interrupts or modifies its vital functions.
The concern with diseases that afflict animals’ dates from the earliest human contacts with animals and is reflected in early views of religion and magic. Diseases of animals remain a concern principally because of the economic losses they cause and the possible transmission of the causative agents to humans. The branch of medicine called veterinary medicine deals with the study, prevention, and treatment of diseases not only in domesticated animals but also in wild animals and in animals used in scientific research.
- Foot and mouth disease
The foot-and-mouth disease is a highly communicable disease affecting cloven-footed animals. It is characterized by fever, the formation of vesicles and blisters in the mouth, udder, teats and on the skin between the toes and above the hoofs. Animals recovered from the disease present a characteristically rough coat and deformation of the hoof.
In India, the disease is widespread and assumes a position of importance in the livestock industry. The disease spreads by direct contact or indirectly through infected water, manure, hay and pastures. It is also conveyed by cattle attendants. It is known to spread through recovered animals, field rats, porcupines and birds.
- fever with 104-105o F
- profuse salivation – ropes of stringy saliva hangs from the mouth
- vesicles appear in the mouth and in the interdigital space
- lameness observed
- crossbred cattle are highly susceptible to it
- the external application of antiseptics contributes to the healing of the ulcers and wards off attacks by flies.
- a common and inexpensive dressing for the lesions in the feet is a mixture of coal-tar and copper sulphate in the proportion of 5:1.
- heavy mulch animals and exotic breeds of cattle bred for milk should be protected regularly.
- it is advisable to carry out two vaccinations at an interval of six months followed by an annual vaccination programme.
- isolation and segregation of sick animals. It should be informed immediately to the veterinary doctor
- disinfection of animal sheds with bleaching powder or phenol
- attendants and equipment’s for sick animals should be ideally separate
- the pieces of equipment should be thoroughly sanitized
- proper disposal of left-over feed by the animal
- proper disposal of carcasses
- control of flies
- Rabies (Mad dog disease)
Rabies is a disease of dogs, foxes, wolves, hyaenas and in some places, it is a disease of bats which feed on blood.
The disease is passed to other animals or to people if they are bitten by an animal with rabies. The germs which cause rabies live in the saliva of the sick (rabid) animal. This is a killer disease but not every dog which bites is infected with rabies.
When the rabid animal bites another animal or human, the germs which live in its saliva pass into the body through the wound caused by the bite. The germs travel along the nerves to the brain. The time between the bite and the first appearance of signs that the bitten animal or human has been infected can take from 2 to 10 weeks or more. The time taken depends on the distance of the bite from the brain. If the bite is on the face or head, the bitten animal or human will quickly show signs, but if the bite is on the leg it will take much longer for signs to develop.
General signs of rabies
You should first look for the marks of the bite and discover where and when the animal was bitten. All rabid animals show similar signs in the beginning.
- they change their normal behaviour and behave very strangely.
- They stop eating or drinking.
- A male animal will try to mate (mount) other animals.
- there is no change in the body temperature.
- These signs will continue for 3 to 5 days. Then, before it dies, the animal will develop one or the other of two types of the disease:
- the furious (mad) type of the disease makes the animal aggressive and it will bite anything.
- The quiet (dumb) type when the animal is quiet and does not move.
Rabies in the dog
Dogs show either of the two types of rabies.
- a dog with the dumb or quiet type of the disease cannot move. It looks as if it has a bone stuck in the mouth and saliva drips from the mouth.
- rabies in the dog lasts about 10 days before the animal dies. If the animal does not die after this length of time then it may not be suffering from rabies.
Rabies in sheep, goats and cattle
Rabies is characterised by the animals becoming restless and excited. They may bite themselves and saliva drips from the mouth. The most important sign in cattle is that the animal bellows (calls) very frequently and with a strange sound. The animals will become paralysed and die.
Rabies in the horse and camel
The horse will show the furious (mad) type of the disease. It will kick and bite and show signs similar to colic. The animal will die after paralysis of the back legs.
In the camel, the signs of rabies are similar to those shown by an animal in the rut.
What to do with a biting dog
Remember that not every dog which bites has rabies. If the dog belongs to somebody ask the owner about its normal behaviour. If the dog is showing signs of rabies you must inform your veterinary officer immediately. The dog must be shot and if it has bitten anybody, they must be taken to a hospital immediately for vaccination.
Control of rabies
Dogs in your community can be vaccinated against rabies. You should ask your veterinary service about vaccination against rabies. If there is an outbreak of rabies, the livestock in your community can be vaccinated too.
Treatment (ethnolect practices):
Leaves of Chirchra (Achyranthes Aspera) 100gm and onion 50 gm are ground well and smeared over the bitten place. The extract of these ingredients is administered orally twice in a day.
Epidemiology: sheep-pox is a highly contagious disease. It has a mortality rate of 20 to 50 per cent in animals below the age of 6 months and causes damage to the wool and skin in adults. Of the pock diseases, sheep-pox ranks only second to human small-pox in virulence. The disease is transmissible to in-contact goats but not to other species of animals. It, however, spreads slowly.
Symptoms: The disease is characterized by high fever, and symptoms of pneumonia and acute enteritis. Skin lesions appear particularly in parts free from wool, notably around the eyes, the inner side of the thigh, udder and under the surface of the tail. The internal organs such as trachea, lungs, kidneys and intestines are also affected. The disease results in emaciation and, as already mentioned, frequent deaths of affected animals.
Treatment, prevention and control:
The diseased animal should be treated with palliatives. In the young one’s nursing is more important than medication. The infected litter should be burnt and the bedding changed every day. Affected animals should be kept on a soft diet. The ulcers on the skin should be washed with potassium permanganate lotion and dusted with boric acid; strict hygienic measures should be adopted.
In our next class, we will be talking about Animal Diseases II. We do hope you enjoyed the class?
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