Whether your farm has been in your family for generations, or you’re just starting out in agriculture, many of the concerns that you’ll have about your livestock will be similar. Are they healthy? Will ill-health affect your profit margins? What diseases do you need to be most wary of? What are the most infectious illnesses that can affect livestock?

All of the above are incredibly valid questions for any farmer or livestock owner to have, and there are numerous common diseases in cattle and other livestock that can have a significant impact on the profitability of your farm. We hope that, as a vet that has a special interest in maintaining the health of your animals, that we can provide you with some valuable insight into some of the more common diseases livestock can face. In doing so, you’ll be able to recognise the signs and contact either our Northam or Moora clinic, so we can provide you with curative or preventative treatment options as well as a disease management plan that we can put into action together and protect your investment.


What to be on the Lookout For

While the below is by no means an exhaustive list of common diseases in cattle and livestock, it covers a broad spectrum of illnesses that A Country Practice can assist you in preventing and treating.


Some of the diseases you should be aware of include:

  • Bovine Respiratory Disease – This is one of the most common (and costly) conditions that affect cattle across the globe. Usually, it rears its head when a cow is exposed to a variety of pathogens, including both parasitic and fungal factors. Some causes include changes in feed and fluctuation in temperature, but weaning is also known to be a possible cause. Some signs you should look out for include lack of appetite, rapid and shallow breathing, coughing bloody nasal and eye discharge, and excessive salivation. There are, however, treatment options available if the disease is caught early enough.
  • Calf Scours – This fatal disease presents itself in calves when E. coli and Salmonella bacteria infect the deeper intestinal lining. When infected, the calf’s intestines will be rapidly destroyed, causing death. Treatment includes providing the calf with enough water and replacing electrolytes that it’s lost. If your calves are producing watery stools, show disinterest in nursing, or appear to have sunken eyes, you need to seek the assistance of a vet as soon as possible.
  • Clostridial Diseases – This umbrella term covers a host of serious diseases that can infect your livestock, some of which include tetanus, black disease, pulpy kidney, and others. Clostridial diseases, often, are caused when an animal hasn’t received the appropriate vaccinations. Speak to us today about identifying, preventing, and curing of clostridial diseases in your livestock.
  • Foot Rot – This painful and extremely contagious disease can infect all livestock and cause the area between the two toes to become infected and rot away. It’s known to cause extreme lameness and decreased milk production. It comes about when an animal’s skin is unhealthy, has been punctured and is exposed to wet conditions, allowing the skin to become infected.
  • Grass Tetany – When cows and sheep are deficient in Magnesium, especially in grass-dominant pastures, they can succumb to Grass Tetany. Older cows are more likely to contract the disease, and if not caught early enough, it can cause death.
  • Johne’s Disease – Young animals are more susceptible to contracting Johne’s Disease and can become infected by ingesting food or water that’s been contaminated by other infected animals. Most cattle are susceptible to Johne’s Disease when they are calves, but don’t show symptoms for many years, making it difficult to catch. Those infected will show signs of chronic diarrhoea, wasting, a decrease in milk production, and weight loss.


Some of the other common diseases found in cattle and other livestock for which treatment or prevention are available for include:

  • Hypocalcaemia
  • Ketosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Ovine Brucellosis
  • Pestivirus
  • Pink Eye


Reach Out to Us

Some of the other more prevalent diseases you need to monitor your livestock for include Vibriosis and Trichomoniasis. At A Country Practice, we’re able to prevent and treat all of the diseases we’ve mentioned and more. Our experienced staff can administer vaccinations, while also being able to recognise the symptoms of mineral deficiency in livestock.

Contact our clinic today to find out more about the treatment options we have available.