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5 Most Common Animal Diseases, Their Symptoms, And Treatment

Veterinarian examining common animal diseases in cat

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the economic loss from animal infections exceeds $17.5 billion annually in the country. Overall, the losses caused by animal diseases, account for over 17% of the expenses incurred in livestock production.

Livestock farming is a major source of income in many countries. But unfortunately, these are all impacted by poor cattle management and the spread of some common diseases in animals.

In this article, we will learn about the five most common animal ailments, their symptoms, and treatments. But, before that, let’s see the major causes of these diseases.

Causes of Common Animal Diseases

Poor sanitation, ineffective management, and introducing new non-vaccinated animals to a herd are three main causes of the spread of livestock illnesses.

In addition, the following defects play an important role in causing various diseases in livestock. 

  • Nutritional defects
  • Physiological defects
  • Morphological defects
  • Pathogenic defects

All that disease management departments have to do is implement the best practices to minimize and handle the above causes of common cattle diseases. 

The 5 Most Common Diseases in Animals

The five most common livestock diseases include anthrax, foot and mouth disease, Bovine Viral Diarrhea, Tetanus, and Bluetongue Disease. Let’s discuss all of these through facts, including their causes, symptoms, and treatment methods

1. Anthrax

Bacillus anthracis is a moderately big, rectangular-shaped bacterium that causes anthrax. It’s a deadly and extremely contagious illness in cattle.

Usually, ruminant death from anthrax is sudden and severe. Animals start showing symptoms within 3 to 7 days of inhaling the bacterial spores. In most cases, animals die two days after the first indications appear.

• Symptoms

The common symptoms of Anthrax Include 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremble
  • staggering
  • Depression
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Seizures

• Treatment 

In the case of anthrax, timely provision of the right medicines is crucial as the disease progresses so quickly. Traditionally, Penicillins have been considered the first line of defense against anthrax since most of the naturally occurring strains are sensitive to them. 

In addition, doxycycline is thought to be a good substitute. However, Veterinarians recommend Penicillin and oxytetracycline when natural anthrax infects large animals.

2. Foot- and Mouth-Disease

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a serious, infectious viral cattle disease with a large economic impact. Affected animals include sheep, cattle, swine, goats, and ruminants.

Most adult animals die from foot and mouth disease.

• Symptoms

These are the common symptoms of Foot and Mouth Disease.

  • Reduced milk production
  • Slobbering and smacking lips
  • Raised temperature.
  • Shivering
  • Sores and blisters on feet
  • Tender and sore feet.

• Treatment 

Although FMD has no particular treatment, supportive care may be permitted in areas where the disease is widespread.

Timely veterinary services that allow for quick diagnosis and the application of control measures, such as the use of vaccinations in some cases, can successfully manage FMD.

3. Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD)

The herd’s respiratory and reproductive problems are frequently brought on by BVD. This animal disease spreads in several ways, such as after delivery or as a result of a complication the fetus had at birth.

BVD is not only a disease in itself but also results in various transitory problems that negatively impact the welfare of animals and the economy.

• Symptoms

Following are the symptoms shown by animals that are victims of bovine viral diarrhea.

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Oral lesions
  • Nasal discharge
  • Abortion in pregnant females
  • decreased milk production
  • Infertility

• Treatment 

Even though there is no known treatment for this BVD, giving your cattle good feed and clean water will help them feel better. However, to stop the disease from spreading, infected calves should be slaughtered and buried deep.

Moreover, to protect animals against BVD, immunization is the best option. Although this method cannot completely prevent BVD, it can minimize the severity of the disease’s symptoms.

4. Tetanus

The bacterium Clostridium tetani, responsible for tetanus, is universally distributed in soil and animal waste. It gets into the animal’s body through cuts and puncture wounds, especially when the wound is filthy.

Tetanus, like some other infectious animal diseases, has the potential to infect any animal that interacts with its causative bacteria. Due to their surroundings and proneness for injury, horses are especially vulnerable to Tetanus. Unfortunately, most affected horses die of the disease.

• Symptoms

In the case of Tetanus, horses can develop extreme sensitivity to touch. In addition, a distinctive “sawhorse” posture might be the result of muscular stiffness in the legs.

Equine patients can also develop severe muscle rigidity that makes it difficult for them to stand up and urinate. Respiratory failure of the animals because of Tetanus is also a possibility.

• Treatment

Antibiotics, often penicillin, tetanus antitoxin injections, and other drugs can effectively treat tetanus. Horses are maintained in calm, dark stables with plenty of thick bedding.

To reduce harm even further, stalls with cushioned walls might be helpful. In serious situations, slinging could be necessary.

The livestock owners can avoid tetanus through vaccination, wound care, and appropriate first aid. Also, there should be no dangerous objects in the stalls, paddocks, or other barn areas.

5. BlueTongue Disease

Insect bites carry the viral, non-contagious illness known as bluetongue.

It affects ruminant animals, mainly sheep species. The tongues of affected animals may swell, which can make breathing difficult.

This animal disease is common in the southern and western states of the US.

The severity of Bluetongue animal diseases varies according to the species’ morbidity, which can reach 100% in sheep, which are particularly sensitive.

Commonly, death rates from this animal disease range from 2 to 30%; however, in some cases, they reached up to 70%.

• Symptoms

The symptoms in the animals suffering from bluetongue disease are as follows.

  • Edema
  • Necrosis of infected tissue
  • Hemorrhage
  • Congestion
  • Lameness
  • Abnormal wool growth
  • Depression

• Treatment 

To suppress secondary bacterial infections, using antibiotics is the only treatment for bluetongue disease in animals. For animals at a high risk of catching bluetongue, vaccinations, the main BTV defense, are available. However, these treatments are not without danger.

It’s important to know that there is no cross-protection between serotypes. For instance, vaccination against BTV-8 will not provide protection against other BTV serotypes. 

Wrapping Up!

From the above discussion, we can conclude that knowing and handling the causes of common animal diseases and adopting strict prevention methods can limit the onset of these diseases. 

For such research-based articles regarding animal infectious diseases, visit VetandTech. Here, you can find various authentic data regarding pet and large animal common diseases. 


• What are the top 5 animal diseases?

The top 5 diseases in animals include anthrax, foot and mouth disease, Bovine Viral Diarrhea, Tetanus, and Bluetongue Disease.

• Which family of animals is more prone to Tetanus?

Equine families, especially horses, are more vulnerable to Tetanus because of their surroundings and proneness for injury.

• What are the major causes of animal disease spread?

The three major causes of animal disease are poor sanitation, ineffective management, and adding non-vaccinated new animals to a herd.

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