Livestock Health I (Introduction to Livestock Health) - Agriculture Form 2 Notes

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  • 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
  • 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
      - dampne
    • 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 restle
  • 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

  • Quarantine.
  • Vaccination.
  • 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.
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