Farm Animals Diseases And Agents

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In today’s Animal Husbandry’s class, we will be learning about Farm Animals Diseases and Agents. 

Farm Animals Diseases and Agents

Like humans, farm animals are also threatened by diseases. While we guard against these diseases, farm animals can also be helped from getting endangered by diseases and their agents. 

Let’s take a look at some of the farm diseases and how they can be handled. 



Anthrax, a highly infectious and fatal disease of cattle, is caused by a relatively large spore-forming rectangular shaped bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax causes acute death in ruminants.

The bacteria produce extremely potent toxins which are responsible for the ill effects, causing a high mortality rate. Signs of the illness usually appear 3 to 7 days after the spores are swallowed or inhaled. Once signs begin in animals, they usually die within two days.

Hoofed animals, such as deer, cattle, goats, and sheep, are the main animals affected by this disease. They usually get the disease by swallowing anthrax spores while grazing on pasture contaminated (made impure) with anthrax spores. Inhaling (breathing in) the spores, which are odorless, colorless, and tasteless, may also cause infection in animals and people.


  • Sudden death (often within 2 or 3 hours of being apparently normal) is by far the most common sign;
  • Very occasionally some animals may show trembling, a high temperature
  • Difficulty breathing, collapse and convulsions before death. This usually occurs over a period of 24 hours;
  • After death blood, may not clot, resulting in a small amount of bloody discharge from the nose, mouth and other openings

Treatment and control

  • Due to the acute nature of the disease resulting in sudden death, treatment is usually not possible in animals even though Anthrax bacilli are clines. Treatment is of use in cases showing sub-acute form of the disease.
  • In most cases, early treatment can cure anthrax. The cutaneous (skin) form of anthrax can be treated with common antibiotics.

Preventive measures:

  • Regular annual vaccination of animals in endemic areas will prevent the disease from occurring.
  • Vaccination may be carried out at least a month prior to expected disease occurrence in endemic areas.
  • Never open a carcass of an animal suspected to have died from anthrax.

Black Quarter (black-leg)

black quarter

It is an acute infectious and highly fatal, bacterial disease of cattle. Buffaloes, sheep and goats are also affected. Young cattle between 6-24 months of age, in good body condition are mostly affected. It is a soil-borne infection which generally occurs during the rainy season. In India, the disease is sporadic (1-2 animals) in nature.


  • Fever (106-108°F), Loss of appetite, Depression and dullness
  • Suspended rumination
  • Rapid pulse and heart rates
  • Difficult breathing (dyspnoea)
  • Lameness in affected leg
  • Crepitation swelling over hip, back & shoulder
  • Swelling is hot & painful in early stages whereas cold and painless in winter.
  • Recumbency (prostration) followed by death within 12-48 hrs.


  • Early treatment can be possible to completely cure the animal.
  • Consult with the veterinarian immediately.

Farm Animals Diseases And Agents – Foot And Mouth Disease

farm animals diseases and agents

The foot-and-mouth disease is a highly communicable disease affecting cloven-footed animals. It is characterized by fever, 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.

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 mouth
  • vesicles appear in mouth and in the inter digital space
  • lameness observed
  • cross bred 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 sulfate in the proportion of 5:1.


  • Heavy milch 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
  • proper disposal of carcasses
  • control of flies

Rabies (Mad Dog Disease)

farm animals diseases and agents

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 behavior and behave very strangely.
  • They stop eating or drinking.
  • Male animals 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 characterized 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 strange sounds. The animals will become paralyzed 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 behavior. 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.

In summary, 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.



What do you understand about Farm Animals Diseases And Agents?


Reading Assignment

Give Five Types Of Farm Animals Diseases. 


Weekend Assignment

Explain the treatment for any two Farm Animals Diseases


We hope you enjoyed today’s class. In our next class, we will be learning about Diseases Causing Agents, Mode of Transmission. Remember to drop your thoughts and questions in the comment box.

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