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close this bookBetter Farming Series 11- Cattle Breeding (FAO - INADES, 1977, 63 p.)
close this folderLooking after cattle
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

What to do about parasites

Parasites are little animals that live on the skin or in the bodies of other animals.

· Parasites that live on the skin

Chief among the parasites that live on the skin of cattle are the ticks.

Ticks stick to the skin of the animals and suck blood.

If an animal has many ticks, it can lose up to half a litre of blood a day. After a time it may become very weak.

Ticks wound animals.

Often you can see an animal's ears damaged by ticks.

Often you can see animals walking with difficulty or with wounds on the udder. In that case the cows are difficult to milk, and they will not let their calves suck.

Ticks may also bring serious diseases.

They spread fevers, typhus, brucellosis and piroplasmosis.

Ticks can be killed with a pesticide such as toxophene.

Ticks can also be killed with paraffin oil. - Soak a piece of cloth in paraffin oil and rub the places on the body where there are ticks.

The veterinary services can tell you what pesticides to use, and can help you to apply the treatment.

This must be done over and over again.

· Parasites that live in the body

Generally parasites live in the digestive tract. Many are worms: tapeworms, roundworms, pinworms. Sometimes they live in the muscles or the lungs, as for instance strongyles.

They injure the digestive tract and the animals cannot digest properly. Animals that have worms lose weight and sometimes die.

To kill these parasites, the animals are given medicine such as phenothiazine. There are traditional medicines that can also be used.

A good way to control parasites is to let pastures rest.


The eggs of the parasites fall on the pasture with the animals' excrement. They grow in the grass, and then they can attach themselves to the skin of the animals, or the animals may eat them together with grass (ticks, worms).

If you let the pasture rest long enough, the parasites cannot feed on the skin or in the bodies of the animals. So they die.

To control parasites, rest your pasture. Do not put the animals always on the same pasture.