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Common and Important Diseases of Cattle

By goGreen | September 2, 2011
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Tick damage and tick-borne diseases

Tick damage

Ticks can cause severe damage to cattle, particularly around the udder and ears. The wounds will often get infected with bacteria and might be attacked by flies

Tick-borne diseases


Redwater is caused by the blue tick. Left is the male with the female on the right.



Gallsickness is caused by the red-legged tick. The figure above shows the male tick.




Diseases that people can get from cattle


Brucellosis can cause abortion in cows and is also highly infectious to people. People get infected by drinking untreated milk from animals which have the disease or by handling them. Signs of disease in people are tiredness, headaches, night sweat, muscle pain and loss of appetite.

Tuberculosis (TB)

Cattle measles




Diet-related problems

Eating plastic bags and wire

This occurs when cattle do not get enough food, or if their diet does not
contain enough phosphorus particularly during the dry season

Feed cattle well, especially in winter

Clear wires and plastic bags from the grazing area

Watch cattle closely when they are grazing

Poisonous plants


Toxic plants can cause serious diseases and deaths in cattle. It is important to know what toxic plants occur in your area, and to prevent your cattle from eating these. Poisoning can especially be a problem when you buy in new animals which are not used to the plants in your area and are more likely to eat toxic plants. Poisoning can also happen when you move cattle to new paddocks where toxic plants occur. A common poisonous plant is gifblaar. The time when poisoning occurs most is at the end of the dry season, when this plant may be the only green food to eat. The plant leads to sudden death in cattle.


Diseases causing lameness and paralysis

Foot problems




Three-day stiffsickness

Lumpy-skin disease (lsd)


Disease prevention


Tick and worm control

Brucellosis and TB testing


Source: http://www.fastonline.org/CD3WD_40/LSTOCK/001/SA_InfoPaks/docs/commondiseases/default.htm

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