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close this bookBetter Farming Series 11- Cattle Breeding (FAO - INADES, 1977, 63 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
View the documentCattle breeding means wealth
View the documentA few words to understand the course
close this folderFeeding cattle
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHow cattle feed
close this folderHow to feed cattle
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentImproving pasture
View the documentStoring grass
View the documentMineral supplements
View the documentDaily requirements of cattle in feed units and protein
View the documentWatering cattle
View the documentHow to feed calves
close this folderLooking after cattle
View the documentAnimals must be watched
View the documentHow to watch over animals
View the documentHousing animals
close this folderThe health of the herd
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDiseases
View the documentCattle must be vaccinated
View the documentHow to take care of wounds
View the documentWhat to do about parasites
close this folderHow cattle reproduce
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe reproductive systems
View the documentPregnancy and birth
View the documentAge of breeding animals
View the documentCastrating bulls
View the documentChoosing breeding animals
View the documentHow to know your herd
close this folderWhat cattle produce
View the documentMeat production
View the documentMilk production
close this folderOrganizing sales
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFarmers' groups


There are many diseases which prevent animals from growing and may even kill them.

The animal husbandry services have done a lot of work on diseases.
Nowadays rinderpest and other serious diseases are much less common.
All the same, there are still many diseases to treat.

These diseases can make a farmer lose a great deal of money.

A good way of controlling diseases is vaccination (see Booklet No. 9, page 10). So too is feeding the herd well and housing it well.

A good breeder looks after the health of his herd.

· When an animal is ill, you must go and see the veterinary surgeon.

He will tell you what medicine to give the animal.

· You must keep the animal alone, by itself. Why? Because of the danger of infecting other animals.

There are two kinds of diseases:

· contagious diseases:

These are diseases which can pass from one animal to another. If one animal in a herd is ill, it can give this disease to all the other animals. For example, rinderpest (see page 34) and anthrax (see page 35) are contagious diseases.

· noncontagious diseases:

These are diseases which do not pass from one animal to another. If one animal is ill with such a disease, this disease is no danger to the other animals.

· When an animal has a contagious disease, it must be kept by itself.

Do not leave the animal with the rest of the herd. In this way you avoid contagion for the rest of the herd.

Do not eat the meat of animals that have died from certain contagious diseases such as tuberculosis. This disease can be passed on from animals to people.

Do not mix your herd with herds passing through, especially if they come from far away. Passing herds may bring diseases with them.

Do not mix with your herd an animal you have bought or which comes from somewhere else unless you are sure it has been vaccinated.

To make a country's animal husbandry modern, a veterinary service is necessary, and all farmers should follow the advice of this service.

If an animal dies of a contagious disease, burn the body, or bury it 2 metres deep with quicklime to kill the germs.



The disease begins with a high fever. The animal is tired; its breathing gets faster; it shows lesions on the mucous membranes, first on the genitals, later on the lips, the nose, and around the eyes; pus oozes from the lesions; the animal slobbers.

During the first few days of the disease, the animal is very constipated. Later, it has severe diarrhoea in which blood can be seen and which stinks very badly. After a few more days, the animal dies.

This disease is highly contagious. It can cause the whole herd to die within a few weeks. Contagion comes through drinking water being dirtied by pus or the excrement of sick animals.

There is a vaccine for this disease.


At the beginning, this disease is hard to recognize. The sick animals cough in the morning; They have a slight fever and eat less. l he disease may go on like that for several months. Later, the cough becomes more severe; the animal can even be made to cough by tapping its chest; breathing becomes faster and faster; the animal stops eating and dies. Its lungs are ravaged by the disease.

Pleuropneumonia is not highly contagious; it passes from one animal to another only by means of prolonged contact.

Vaccination against this disease is recommended, and often even obligatory.


This disease often takes a very rapid course. It begins with a high fever, followed by diarrhoea with blood. The animal dies within two days. The blood of the dead animal is thick and black.

Animals that die of this disease must be burned. If a man eats the meat of animals dead of anthrax, he can catch the disease. If the dead animals are buried, the disease stays in the soil, and other animals which graze grass at that spot catch the disease.

There is a vaccine against this disease.

Black- quarter

Animals which have this disease limp; they have swellings on their muscles; they die quickly. Their meat is full of black swellings which have a very bad smell.

Animals dying of this disease must be burned. This will! avoid infecting the pastures.

There is a serum for treating this disease, and a vaccine for protecting healthy animals.

Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)

Trypanosomiasis is a disease that greatly weakens animals, because it attacks their blood. Some animals may die of the disease. The disease is transmitted by a fly which lives in hot and humid regions, especially where there are woods. This fly is called the glossina or tsetse fly.

Some animals are fairly resistant to this disease, others such as zebu cattle, asses and horses are not. Oxen are resistant, zebus are not; animals obtained from crossing the two are more resistant than pure zebus. Some goats are resistant, others are not.

All animals are more resistant when they are well fed and well looked after.

In certain regions, the tsetse fly occurs only in the neighbourhood of stagnant water and during certain months of the year. Local herdsmen should know where to take their herds, to places without flies.

There are remedies for treating this disease.

Other diseases

Many other diseases may attack cattle, such as piroplasmosis (Texas fever), which is transmitted by ticks, tuberculosis, which can be passed on to people, enteritis, contagious abortion, and others.

Only the most important diseases have been mentioned here.