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Significant diseases in beef cattle

Beef cattle normally have the same diseases as dairy cattle. Many pest and disease-causing agents affect the cattle industry across the world.

Cattle disease can be found in many different forms from respiratory and neurological disorders that are common in both developing and under-developed countries.

Foot and mouth disease for example is a prevalent disease and is now all but eliminated from developed countries like the UK, North America, Central America, Australia and New Zealand. The rest of the world still faces these diseases.

In this post, we've shared a list of cattle diseases to be aware of so you can spot the clinical signs, quickly treat affected animals and keep your herd at optimum health.

8 Cattle Diseases & Symptoms

There are many diseases that affect cattle and young calves. Sometimes you might experience a problem with individual animals or it might impact the entire herd. The most important factors are that you know what to look for when checking your animals and choose the appropriate treatment.


1. Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex (BRDC)

This disease is also occasionally known as “shipping fever.” It is a common term used for pneumonia. This disease is normally seen in transported or stressed calves. Many agents are responsible for this syndrome.

Some stress factors like dehorning, transportation, weaning and some weather changes make cattle susceptible to these disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Stress cannot be eliminated, but it can be reduced by careful handling and sanitary conditions. The best precaution to avoid BRDC is to vaccinate the animal routinely. Vaccination must be done in the early stages of life.


2. Clostridial Disease

This disease is commonly known as “blackleg.” Blackleg is a common name of a clostridial bacterial infection. Almost 60 different types of clostridial bacteria are present, but all of them are not disease-causing agents.

This disease is commonly found among young cattle less than two years old. In this disease, gangrene is formed in the muscle. This disease normally develops in those calves that have not received the correct amount of proper colostrum. This syndrome can also be found in older cattle, but it is very rare and can develop due to vaccination with contaminated needles.


3. Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRCV)

This disease is related to stress infection and may be fatal. This disorder may lead to a mild or severe respiratory disorder. This is such a type of disease that can also reduce resistance to other diseases. Cattle HAVE A cough, high temperature, runny nose and eyes.


4. Haemophilus Somnus

This is a very common disorder in cattle and is caused by bacteria. This syndrome leads to respiratory, neurological and respiratory diseases. It can be considered the primary agent for a respiratory disorder and is also responsible for other infections due to making cattle susceptible to other disease-causing agents.

Common symptoms are high fever, cough, nasal discharge and high laboured breathing. Cattle may die from this disease. Sometimes animals do not show any symptoms of this disease and may be dying.


5. Pasteurella Haemolytic and Pasteurella Multocida

These are the most common bacteria and are highly infectious. These organisms are major causes of pneumonia. These are the most common and widely found organisms in cattle that have died due to respiratory disorders.

These bacteria multiply very quickly in the presence of stress conditions, changing weather (poor weather) and in the presence of other disease-causing agents. Symptoms include depression, lethargy, high temperature and appetite loss. They are very dangerous organisms and death can occur suddenly with very few signs. In cases where animals survive, their lungs are badly damaged.


6. Bloat

This is also one of the very common diseases among cattle. This disease is commonly caused by the extra consumption of leguminous plants that have rapidly fermented. These plants produce a high amount of gas as a by-product and animals cannot discharge this gas,   ultimately they die due to high pressure on their internal organs. This disease badly affects reproductive organs and sometimes causes infertility or abortions. This disease can be avoided by careful pasture management.


7. Foot and Mouth Disease

This disease is also known as hoof???? and mouth disease and in some other countries, it is also named aftosa. It is a highly contagious viral disease. The formation of fluid-filled blisters characterises this disease on the tongue, lips and other parts of the mouth.

These blisters can be formed everywhere on the mouth, and where the skin is thinner. To identify this disease, laboratory analysis must be done because such symptoms can also be found in other diseases. This disease is also considered as the most economically devastating in the world.


8. Rabies

This disease is common in animals and humans but is rarely seen in the UK. Both can be affected by these diseases equally. It affects all warm-blooded animals. Rabies causing agents directly affect the central nervous system and in most cases, it causes death.

The animal can be vaccinated by a certified veterinarian in early life. Rabies vaccination is easily available in the market and it must be used according to the instruction of the veterinarian.



Cattle are an important animal in our society. It is important both for dairy and beef purposes. It also faces many diseases and shows symptoms to us. Perfect care must be needed, and an expert must be there every time on the farm to look after these animals.