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Posted: 06/12/2023

Watch Out for Common Livestock Diseases this Summer

It can be a challenge for livestock of any species to stay healthy during the hot summer season. While some diseases can strike year-round, many are prevalent during the summer. Some of this influx of infection comes from the high-fly count and their ability to spread bacteria around the herd. We’ve got a full list of what to keep an eye on as the temps rise – and what to use to help prevent illness in these animals.

Small flock of sheep

5 Clinical signs of Disease in Livestock

An operation’s success relies heavily on disease prevention and early detection/treatment. Of course each disease is unique, and some are difficult to spot, but always keep an eye out for common signs of disease in livestock. A fever, loss of appetite or decrease in weight gain, labored or rapid breathing, droopiness and lameness, and diarrhea are all initial symptoms of a greater issue.

What Diseases Do Animals Get in Summer?

Wondering why summer brings on more disease for your livestock? The heat with high humidity (moist air) gives life to pathogens more than dry winter air. Plus, the travel/show schedule can do a number on livestock as stress, extra handling, and new environments can cause health issues. We’ve covered these prevalent summer diseases and other issues in our Learning Center:

Anaplasmosis, spread by ticks, is turning into a larger problem for midwest cattle with an infection that causes fever and anemia. Sheep, goats, buffalo and other animals can get anaplasmosis from ticks, too. Read more about this and other tick-borne diseases here.

Another disease you’ve likely heard of is Blackleg. This clostridial disease impacts young, pasture cattle (and sheep) who ingest bacterial spores while grazing and the majority of these cases happen in the summer. The spores get into the animals’ bloodstream but go dormant until a bruise or muscle damage in the infected tissue causes them to germinate. They create a toxin that almost always kills them in less than 48 hours.

Unfortunately, it’s more common to find a dead animal before recognizing symptoms of blackleg. The toxin produces a gas that leads to swelling under the animal’s skin, and sometimes the animals show lameness on an affected leg, fever, and tachycardia, among other signs. The good news is that preventative vaccines exist to protect your animals from this disease.

Best-Selling Products for Disease Prevention

If you’re looking to prevent the herd from experiencing the symptoms of disease and even death, consider a proactive vaccination schedule. While you’ll never be able to combat 100% of disease-spreading flies or dictate the heat, vaccines prep animals’ immune systems to minimize and prevent illness. For diseases like blackleg with a near 100% mortality rate, vaccination can be a game changer.

These 7- and 8-way products for both cattle and sheep protect against several pathogens, and they all include blackleg vaccines:

Each of these products may be suitable for use on Organic Farms, too. As always, check with your certifier before use.

Skip the Sickness and Shop PBS Animal Health

Get everything you need to prevent illness in your operation this summer. Shop PBS Animal Health livestock vaccines now, and don’t forget to view our Vaccine Comparison Charts for quick and easy reference across products. If you do order vaccines from us, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find our shipping process maintains the cold storage temperature all the way from our warehouse to your doorstep – even in the summer heat!

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