6 Common Bovine Illnesses and Diseases
Foot and Mouth Disease – Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious disease in livestock that causes lesions similar to blisters on the tongue, nose, mouth and toes of the animals. The disease does not normally kill the livestock but creates painful ulcers after the blisters burst, and can cause high fevers, weakened legs, and even the loss of the ability to walk.
Australia does not have Foot and Mouth Disease or FMD as it is commonly referred to.
While the disease is not life threatening it is highly contagious and severely affects an animal’s productivity. Australia’s stringent meat safety systems, quarantine measures and geographical isolation have assisted in retaining its FMD-free status.
Brucellosis and tuberculosis - Brucellosis and tuberculosis are two highly contagious diseases carried by cattle. Similar in nature, these diseases are spread by infected material during calving. The diseases threaten humans, because the unpasteurised milk of infected cattle can spread the disease.
Dehydration and heat stress
Dehydration and heat stress are common issues livestock face during the hot summer months.
Signs of Livestock dehydration
Treating dehydration requires rehydration of the animal with plenty of water and electrolytes. On average, cattle need anywhere from 3-30 gallons of water per day to stay hydrated. It is safe for a cow to drink 5-10 gallons of water per intake.
Anaemia – Theileria
Anaemia in animals is often caused by bush ticks that attach themselves to the livestock. Normally found in the ears, around the tail, and on the underside of the animal, bush ticks transfer, especially to cattle, a disease known as theileriosis. The disease is common among young calves 8-12 weeks old, but can affect cattle of all ages. The disease creates symptoms of lethargy, loss of appetite, inability to exercise. Cattle with anaemia may have pale/yellow colored gums and abort babies if pregnant.
Bracken poisoning most commonly occurs in the autumn when grass does not grow. Bracken is a plant that contains toxins poisonous to animals who graze. Bracken is considered cancerous and is almost always fatal to infected livestock. When an animal eats a large amount of bracken, disease forms because of depressed bone marrow and lack of production of white blood cells. Death can occur as soon as five days after the first sign of symptoms.
Common Symptoms include:
Mad Cow Disease
Australia does not have 'mad-cows disease' or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) as it is more accurately known.
BSE is a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE); an incurable central nervous system illness that has been detected in a number of species, including livestock and humans. BSE is found in cattle.
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