Diseases in Cattle
Foot and mouth disease
- Anthrax is an acute, infectious febrile
disease of virtually all animals and man. It is caused by
- In India, it is well known as the cause
of sudden death of cattle, sheep and goats.
- The disease may occur in a peracute, acute
or sub-acute form. In the first, the animal dies suddenly,
rarely showing any symptoms.
- In acute and sub-acute forms, there may
be high rise in body temperature and signs of intense pain.
Treatment and control
- Due to the acute nature of the disease
resulting in sudden death, treatment is usually not possible
in animals even though anthrax bacilli are clines. Treatment
is of use in cases showing sub-acute form of the disease.
- This disease is widespread amongst
cattle in certain parts of India, particularly in Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Sporadic cases
occur in the northern and eastern states of the country.
- The disease is common in areas with
moderate rainfall and where dry-crop cultivation is common.
- Young animals in the prime of condition
and six months to three years old are affected more than
others. Buffaloes usually suffer from a milder form of the
disease. Outbreaks generally occur with the onset of rains.
True black-quarter is caused by Clostridium chauvoei.
- It affects mostly start and sturdy
animals. Fever with redness of eye. Hot painful swelling
in the affected leg. Crepitating sound on pressing the affected
part of muscle. Death may occur in severe cases in 1 or
- The disease usually occurs in an acute
form, affected animals dying within 24 to 48 hours of the
onset of symptoms.
- There is high fever with a hot, tense,
painful swelling usually in one of the quarters, more often
a hind-quarter, although such swelling may also occur in
other before death, the swelling becomes cold and painless
and crepitates on pressure due to the presence of gas in
Prevention and control
To prevent the spread of infection
and contamination of the soil with spores of the causal
organisms, carcases of animals dead of black-quarter should
be either buried deep and covered over with lime or should
Administration of penicillin in
repeated doses may be effective if injected before muscle
damage has been caused.
Use of black-quarter vaccine protects
animals against the disease for about a year. Animals
should be vaccinated with this about three to one month
before the onset of rains.
Contagious bovine abortion
- This disease of cattle and buffaloes,
usually termed brucellosis, is caused by Brucella abortus,
a small gram-negative coccobacillus, also known as Bang's
- The disease occurs on most breeding
farms in western countries. It is also fairly widely prevalent
- The disease affects animals of all ages
and of both sexes.
- In the initial stages it shows no symptoms
and hardly any evidence of fever. As the infection progresses,
the organisms become localized at sites where they are able
to persist, the most usual of these sites in the female
being the uterus, the udder and the supramammary lymph nodes,
and in the male the genital glands.
Prevention and control
- Introduced into a fresh herd, the
disease may spread rapidly.
- It is, therefore, necessary that
before purchasing animals for a disease-free herd they are
carefully examined for evidence of the infection.
- This disease is characterized by
the inflammation of the udder, resulting in changes in the
udder tissue and its secretion.
- Infectious mastitis results from
infection with one or more of the many organisms associated
with cattle in all countries where dairy industry is well
developed, and the disease is of great economic importance
to the milk producer.
- The disease is also widely prevalent
in milch animals in India.
- Clinically, the disease may be recognized
as acute, sub-acute or chronic, and these forms may depend
on the type of the causal organism concerned. It may be
accompanied by systemic disturbance, with a rise in body
temperature of the affected animal and other febrile symptoms,
but usually it occurs in the form of a localized involvement
of the udder, with a progressive damage to the udder tissue.
- The milk is affected both in quality
and in quantity, and as a result of permanent impairment
of the function of one or more quarters milk production
may cease altogether. Both cows and she-buffaloes suffer
from the disease.
- Success depends on the nature of the aetiological
agent involved, the severity of the disease and the extent
- Complete recovery with freedom from bacterial
infection can be obtained in cases of recent infection and
in those where fibrosis has taken place only to a small
- Such drugs as acriflavine, gramicidin
and tyrothricin have now ceased to be in use, and have given
place to the more effective drugs, such as sulphonamides,
penicillin and streptomycin.
- The infection, although mostly occurring
in cows, sometimes also occurs in buffaloes.
- Under natural conditions the infection
takes place through inoculation by the cutaneous route and
readily spreads from one animal to another through the agency
- The occurrence of the disease is not often
reported since it is localized only to the teats and udder
and occasionally to the hairless parts of the body.
- Pox occurs in buffaloes, but in a considerably
milder form than in cows.
- The food-and-mouth disease is a highly
communicable disease affecting cloven-footed animals. It
is characterized by fever, formation of vesicles and blisters
in the mouth, udder, teats and on the skin between the toes
and above the hoofs.
- Animals recovered from the disease present
a characteristically rough coat and deformation of the hoof.
- In India, the disease is widespread and
assumes a position of importance in livestock industry.
- The disease spreads by direct contact or
indirectly through infected water, manure, hay and pastures.
- It is also conveyed by cattle attendants.
It is known to spread through recovered animals, field rats,
porcupines and birds.
- Foot-and-mouth disease occurs in a relatively
milk form in India and is seldom fatal. It occurs practically
all the year round.
Fever with 104-1050 F
Profuse salivation ropes of stringy
saliva hangs from mouth
Vesicles appear in mouth and in
the inter digital space
- Cross bred cattle are highly susceptible
Quick spread and the occurrence of lesions
in the mouth and feet of affected animals are characteristic
It presents some similarity to rinderpest,
from which it can be readily differentiated by the absence
of diarrhaea and by the presence of the foot lesions.
- It can be cured by severe antibiotic
therapy and topical application of ointments
The external application of antiseptics
contributes to the healing of the ulcers and wards off
attacks by flies.
A common and inexpensive dressing
for the lesions in the feet is a mixture of coal-tar and
copper sulphate in the proportion of 5:1.
Control and prevention
- Heavy milch animals and exotic breeds
of cattle bred for milk should be protected regularly.
- It is advisable to carry out two
vaccinations at an interval of six months followed by an
annual vaccination programme.
- Isolation and segregation of sick
animals. It should be informed immediately to the veterinary
- Disinfection of animal sheds with
bleaching powder or phenol
- Attendants and equipments for sick
animals should be ideally separate
- The equipments should be thoroughly
- Proper disposal of left over feed
by the animal
- Proper disposal of carcasses
- Control of flies
- This acute septicaemic disease of cattle
and buffaloes is widely prevalent in India. It occurs generally
in low-lying areas periodically inundated by rainwater and
in areas where irrigation facilities have developed.
- The causal organism, Pasteurella multocida,
is a small gram-negative cocco-bacillus, commonly called
bipolar organism on account of the intensity with which
is stains at the poles.
- Redness of eye and lancination along with
fever. Severe dyspnoea. Hot painful swelling at head, jowl
region or brisket region. In severe cases sudden death may
occur due to high fever and severe dyspnoea
- The disease generally runs an acute course.
Cattle and buffaloes often develop a highly septicaemic
condition and die within the course of about 24 hours of
- Affected animals show a high rise in body
- The lesions comprise haemorrhagic spots
in the lymph nodes, on the serous membranes and in other
organs, including the inner lining of the heart; spleen
is normal in size.
- The entire gut is highly inflamed and intensely
red with bloody contents.
Treatment and prevention
Early cases of the disease are amenable
to treatment with sulphonamides, notably sulphadimidine
coupled with antibiotics, such as penicillin, but on account
of the short course of the disease and its termination
in sudden death, animals are seldom available in good
time for treatment.
Vaccination with the improved type
of adjuvant vaccine, carried out about a month before
the onset of rains, will protect animals against the attack
of the disease for about one year. In endemic areas such
vaccination should be carried out every year.
- Leptospirosis occurs in animals and man
in almost all parts of the world.
- Serological evidence indicates the prevalence
of leptospires among domesticated animals in different parts
of the country.
- The damage done to animal industry results
from the death of animals in the acute stage of illness,
stillbirth, abortion, stunning, decrease in weight (loss
of meat), reduced milk production and unthriftness.
Causes and pathogenesis
- The causative organisms of leptospirosis
belong to the genus Leptospira.
- In cattle it is an acute, often fatal,
disease characterized by haemorrhage, haemoglobinurai and
- Non-fatal infections are often characterized
by fever, anaemia, abortions, sterility, decreased lactation
- The principal methods used for the diagnosis
of leptospirosis are direct microscopical examination of
tissue preparations and body fluids, bacteriological culture,
animal inoculation and serological tests.
- In cattle treatment with antibiotics
may result in considerable diminution of even temporary
cessation of urinary excretion of leptospires.
- Rinderpest is the most destructive of the
virus diseases of cloven-footed animals, such as cattle,
buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs and wild ruminants. Its control
was a major issue till recently all over the world.
- Organised efforts over half a century have
brought about a total eradication of the disease in the
- The disease still persists in the Asian
- The virus is found notable in the saliva,
discharge from eyes and nostrils, and in the urine and faeces.
- It is present in the circulating blood
during the febrile stage and is later concentrated in different
organs, especially in the spleen, lymph nodes and liver.
Outside the animal body, the virus is rapidly destroyed
by direct sunlight and disinfectants. Cold preserves the
- The virus is usually spread by contaminated
feed and water.
- Rise in temperature upto 104 107
0 F. Lacrimation and redness of eye.
- Foul odour from mouth. Discrete necrotic
foci develop in the buccal mucosa, inside lip, and on the
tongue. Bloody mucoid diarrhoea is noticed
Symptomatic treatment with penicillin,
streptomycin, sulphadimidine and intestinal antiseptics
has no action on the virus, but may help in the recovery
of less severe cases of rinderpest, as these control secondary
complications caused by bacteria.
Vibrionic abortion of cattle
- This is a widely prevalent form of
abortion in some countries and the causal organism is Vibrio
- The disease resembles Br. Abortus
infection but is less severe in form. It is generally transmitted
during natural service or artificial insemination with semen
from infected bulls.
Diagnosis is made by the examination
of uterine exudate and stomach contents of the foetus.
The disease is usually self-limiting, infected animals
developing active immunity after one abortion.
However, hygienic measures should
be adopted to prevent spread of infection.
- Milk fever, also known as parturient hypocalcaemia
and parturient paresis, is a disease which has assumed considerable
importance with the development of heavy milking cows.
- Decrease in the levels of ionized calcium
in tissue fluids is basically the cause of the disease.
- In all adult cows there is a fall in serum-calcium
level with the onset of lactation at calving.
- The disease usually occurs in 5 to 10 year
old cows, and is chiefly caused by a sudden decrease in
blood-calcium level, generally within 48 hours after calving.
In classical cases, hypocalcaemia
is the cause of clinical symptoms. Hypophosphataemia and
variations in the concentration of serum-magnesium may
play some subsidiary role.
The clinical symptoms develop usually
in one to three days after calving. They are characterized
by loss of appetite, constipation and restlessness, but
there is no rise in temperature.