Common Cattle Diseases | Signs and Prevention

In this article, we will explain to you the common cattle diseases and the signs to detect it early and the steps to help curb these diseases.

Common Cattle Diseases

  • Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR): It is also called “red nose disease” because a cow or calf’s nose becomes red and raw. The animal rubs their nose to get rid of annoying and constant mucus discharge. Animals may experience loss of appetite and a fever, too. It’s very infectious, so separate your animal from the herd and call a veterinarian.
  • Footrot: A lame cow with discharge from the hoof may be suffering from foot rot. It’s caused by a common soil-borne bacteria such as streptococci, staphylococci, corynebacterium, and various fungi. These microorganisms love moist, warm environments, such as the interior of the hoof. Treatments from your veterinarian are available to cure foot rot, but it’s easier to manage wet pastures to prevent your livestock from standing in areas potentially contaminated with footrot microorganisms.

Early Signs or Symptoms

  • Eye problems: Cattle with eye problems may keep one eye shut and rub their face against fence posts, trees or rocks. The eye may appear cloudy when the cow opens it, and they may have a running, weeping discharge from one or both eyes. They may also seek shade under a tree and remain away from bright sunlight. Eye discharge may be a sign of an injury to the eye, or more commonly conjunctivitis or pink eye. This highly contagious bacterial disease among beef cattle can result in scarring of the cornea and even blindness if not caught and treated early.
  • Hoof problems: Cattle with hoof ailments will limp or favor one hoof over another. The hoof may appear hot, swollen or cracked. If you can get near enough to handle your animal, or you can get your cow into a chute for inspection, you may be able to examine the hooves. Pus or any type of discharge must be treated immediately.
  • Skin lesions: It’s normal for cows to have an occasional patch of skin showing. It’s the same thing among beef cattle as a scraped knee is among people. But lesions across the back or circular patterns can indicate ringworm, rain rot or another fungal infection that can make your livestock miserable.
  • Some Neurological problems

Other signs of a sick cow include weight loss. Unexplained weight loss may be due to a heavy parasite load or dietary deficiencies.

How to Prevent a Common Cattle Disease?

Foreign objects lodged in the intestinal tract can be deadly, and an unwary cow can cut a fetlock or hoof on debris tossed over a pasture fence. Walking your fence line daily or weekly enables you not only to check its security but avoid catastrophe from unthinking litterbugs.

It’s not enough to manage pasture grass. You’ve also got to keep an eye out for debris. It’s an unfortunate fact of country life that many people don’t think twice about tossing beer bottles, soda cans, and fast-food wrappers out their car windows. These objects can be eaten by curious cattle.

Any disease can spread in the wake of a biosecurity breach, producers are warned to be vigilant against trichomoniasis and BVD specifically, as these have been the major disease concerns over the last several years.

Your cattle should be vaccinated against major diseases, including anthrax and many others. You can obtain a list of recommended vaccinations from your veterinarian or your local Cooperative Extension Office.

Keep accurate and timely records of your vaccination schedule, worming schedule and any health issues among your herd. Many farmers prefer computerized record-keeping systems that enable them to track and monitor herd health, weight and sales prices. 

Regularly check animals for unusual disease symptoms and immediately report them to your local veterinarian or livestock professional. Keep farm vehicles and equipment clean. Manage the movement of visitors on your property.

Let us know what you think about the common cattle diseases and if you know any unique way to help and prevent any one of those diseases then feel free to comment below.

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