Livestock Diseases And Parasites Control

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In today’s Animal Husbandry’s class, we will be learning about Livestock Diseases And Parasites Control


Livestock Diseases And Parasites Control

In our last class, we talked about how parasites can be very harmful to livestock.

Remember we said that while humans often complain about parasites like mosquitoes that are harmful to the human body, livestock parasites can cost the lives of animals which is why it is important to control them. 


Let’s look at some of the diseases common to livestock. 

  • Anthrax

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

livestock diseases and parasite control

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.

Symptoms include:

  • 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


  • 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.

The other common diseases common to livestock is Rabies. 


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.


  • 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


In summary, as harmful as parasites can be to livestock, they can be controlled by not opening any carcass of an animal suspected to have died from anthrax, vaccinating them at least a month prior to expected disease occurrence in endemic areas, and by taking the precautions given by a veterinarian. 



What are Parasites?


Reading Assignment

Name five livestock diseases caused by parasites


Weekend Assignment

Explain two ways in which livestock diseases can be controlled.


We hope you enjoyed today’s class. In our next class. We wish you the best in your exams. 

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