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    Livestock Health is the state of the body in which all the organs and systems are normal and functioning normally. Disease is any deviation from the normal health of the animal.

    Importance of Keeping Livestock Healthy:

    • Healthy animals give high income due to low treatment costs.
    • The productive life span of a healthy animal is longer.
    • High production.
    • Healthy animals can multiply regularly.
    • Healthy animals give high quality products for example eggs.
    • Safety of consumers of livestock products.

    Predisposing Factors to Livestock Diseases

    These are conditions within or around the animal that make it easy for an animal to contract a disease.

    They include:

    Animal factors such as;

    –  species,

    –  breed,

    –  age,

    –  sex

    –  colour of the animal.

    Environmental factors such as;

    – chilling,

    – being rained on,

    –  exposure to hot sun

    –  dampness.

    Management factors such as;

    – poor feeding,

    – housing,

    – handling

    – hygiene,

    – overcrowding .


    Signs of ILL-Health in Livestock

    • Abnormal behaviour for example separation from the rest of the herd and restlessness.
    • Abnormal posture for example limping and lameness.
    • Alimentary canal disfunction such as blood stained faeces and abnormal defecation, diarrhoea and dysentery.
    • Urination: high frequency or too low and having strange colour.
    • Skin: rough with scaly skin, blisters on the skin and hair loss.

    Causes of Diseases

    Pathogenic causes ;

    – viruses,

    – rickettsia,

    – bacteria,

    – protozoa

    – fungi.


    Physical causes;

    – fractures,

    – dislocation,

    – sprains .

    Nutritional disorders for example milk fever.

    Chemical causes for example poisoning by agrochemicals.


    Categories of Diseases

    Notifiable diseases ;

    These are diseases which cause high economic losses.

    Any case should be reported to the Chiefs, D.O.s, veterinary officers or the police.

    Tick-borne diseases – Transmitted by ticks.

    Breeding diseases – Transmitted through mating.

    Nutritional diseases for example milk fever and bloat.

    Parasitic diseases for example ascariosis.


    General Methods of Disease Control

    • Control of vectors by use of acaricides and rotational grazing.
    • Disinfecting the equipment and buildings.
    • Use of preventive drugs.
    • Proper feeding of livestock.
    • Culling of the animals which are carriers/slaughtering the affected animals.
    • Use of artificial insemination to control breeding diseases.
    • Proper selection and breeding of animals.
    • Proper housing and hygiene,
    • Isolating sick animals.


    Appropriate Methods of Handling Livestock

    Animals are handled for the following reasons:

    • When inspecting the animal to ascertain any abnormality or signs of diseases.
    • When administering any form of treatment such as drenching, injection and mastitis control.
    • When spraying or hand dressing the animal with chemicals to control external parasites.
    • When milking the animal.
    • When performing some of the management practices such as dehorning, disbudding, castration, hoof trimming.
    • When carrying out these activities animals should be restrained in a crush.


    Other methods of restraining animals include the use of:

    • halters,
    • ropes,
    • bull ring
    • lead stick.


    See also

    scheme of work





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