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Dairy Farming Manual

Volume 5

Husbandry Unit 11.1

page 175

Husbandry Unit 11.1: 

Technical Notes 

Note: Numbers in brackets refer to illustrations in the Extension Materials.

Losses from diseases can be due to any one or a combination of the following.  (1-3)

- Drop in productivity (reduced weight gains, milk yields and reproductive efficiency).  Even after recovery the animal may remain less than optimally productive.
- Expenditure for treatment.
- Death of animal.
- Possibility of transferring disease to other animals.

Prevention and control are, therefore, of extreme importance.  The various measures can be considered under several headings.

page 177

Extension Materials
What can you do to prevent disease? (4-7)

1 You should pay attention to your animals':
- environment
- nutrition.


How can your extension worker help you prevent and control disease? (8-16)

2 He can advise you on:
- vaccination
- parasite control
- diagnosis of disease.

What can you do with animals with chronic disease? (17-19)

3 You must:
- cull and slaughter them
- dispose of carcasses and infected materials.

  page 178

Environment  (5-6)

Provide a comfortable environment for the animals and adopt adequate hygienic precautions and all possible precautions against accidents.

Adopt measures to prevent parasitic infestations. 

(See H.10.6 Parasites)

Nutrition  (7)

Ensure feeding of colostrum to new born calves. 

(See H.8 Calving and H.9 Calf Rearing)

Provide optimal nutritional conditions. 

(See H.4 Feeding and H.5 Feeds)

Provide ample amounts of clean water for drinking.

page 179

4 You must pay attention to the following things:


5 Make sure your animals' environment is:
- comfortable e.g. cool with plenty of dry bedding
- safe e.g. no electrical dangers or slippery floors
- clean e.g. manure kept away from shed and clean water for washing
- well-planned e.g. to prevent parasites. (See H. 10.6 Parasites)
7 Make sure:
- you feed colostrum to your calves
- you feed your animals the right amounts of the right feed
- you give them plenty of clean water for drinking.


  page 180

Vaccination  (9)

Vaccinate animals against diseases prevalent in the area (a vaccination schedule to be prepared by the extension officer in consultation with animal health authorities of the area).

Parasite control  (10)

Deworm/detick animals regularly (a schedule for drenching/dipping/spraying animals to control internal and external parasites to be prepared by the extension officer in consultation with the animal health authorities of the area.  In some areas, control of vectors e.g. snails which are not parasites themselves, is important).

page 181

8 Your extension worker can advise you on the following:
9 Consult your extension worker or vet for the right vaccinations against diseases in your area.
Parasite control
10 Consult your extension worker or vet about:
- medicines and sprays for parasites on and in your animals
- ways of controlling flies, snails etc which carry parasites.


  page 182

Movement of animals  (11-12)

Do not bring into the farm, sick animals or animals from an area where infectious diseases are present.

Do not send healthy animals into an area with infectious diseases.

Do not send animals having infectious diseases from your farm into an area with healthy animals.

page 183

 Movement of animals

11 Always separate sick animals from healthy animals.

12 Never

- bring to your farm animals which are sick or have contact with infectious disease
- send animals from your farm which are sick or have contact with infectious disease.

  page 184

Detection and treatment of diseases   (13-16)

Use appropriate tests to diagnose diseases early e.g. Strip cup; California Mastitis Test; Milk Ring Test; Tuberculin Test.

Observe for abnormalities and seek early advice/treatment (abnormalities in feed intake, behaviour, secretions, excretions, reproduction etc).  Early detection and treatment of diseases would be helpful in ensuring early recovery of affected animal(s) and in the case of infectious diseases, in preventing other animals being affected.

Seek advice/diagnosis if an animal dies suddenly.

page 185

Diagnosis of disease
13 Consult your extension worker or vet about tests to diagnose disease early.
14 Tell your extension worker or vet anything unusual about your animals:
- feeding
- condition
- discharge
- reproduction etc
15 or if one of your animals dies suddenly.
16 If you diagnose disease early, you can:
- treat your animals so they get better quickly
- separate sick animals to protect your healthy animals.


  page 186

Culling and slaughter  (17)

Cull the animals with chronic infections not responding to treatment e.g. Chronic Mastitis, Johne's Disease.  In some situations, legislation may require the slaughter of affected/in contact animals, e.g. in eradication programmes and in programmes to prevent the spread of a new disease.  These will have to be strictly adhered to in the interest of the individual farm enterprise and that of the industry as a whole.

Disposal of infected materials/carcasses  (18-19)

Dispose of infected materials/carcasses, adopting all hygienic precautions.  Burning is a very good method of disposal.  If burial is practised, the topmost part of the body should be more than 1.8 m below ground level and a layer of quick lime on top will be useful.

page 187

Culling and slaughter
17 You must cull animals with chronic disease so that healthy animals do not get sick.
Disposing of carcasses and infected materials
18 You must dispose of anything in contact with the disease by:
- burning or
- burial.
If you bury, make sure the top of the carcass is at least 1.8 m below ground.
Add a layer of quick lime if possible.
Fence the area off.

  page 188

Factors in the prevention and treatment of disease
    1 Environment  (5-6)      and see H.3.2
    2 Nutrition  (7)          and see H.4
    3 Vaccination  (9)
    4 Parasite control  (10)        and see H.10.6
    5 Movement of animals  (11-12)
    6 Diagnosis of disease  (13-16)
    7 Culling and slaughter  (17)
    8 Disposing of carcasses and infected materials  (18-19)

page 189

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