SHIPPING FEVER 1280 720 Kingsley Emmanuel Bentum

Photo Credit: @2020 All rights observed by Orissa

Shipping Fever also known as Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex is a bacterial disease of cattle usually associated with stress involved in movement. The disease affects the upper respiratory system and is presented with signs such as laboured or rapid breathing, nasal discharges, coughing, anorexia and depression. 

Stress factors associated with movement of animals such as long journeys with little or no rest, starvation, overheating due to poor ventilation in trucks, dust and harsh weather conditions weaken the immune systems of the cattle, and predispose the animals to this disease. Shipping fever is caused by the bacterium Mannheimia haemolytica. It is often complicated by other bacteria; Pasteurella multocida and Histophilus somni.  Already sick or weak animals  and recently weaned calves have a higher chance of contracting the disease due to their compromised and fragile immune systems. While Shipping Fever is usually not fatal, it affects productivity greatly as several animals come down with the infection within a short time.

Elimination of all possible stressors  is the first step for recovery in cattle. Provision of adequate water, open space with fresh air and food are few examples to take note of. Some antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian depending on the implicating bacterium. Vitamin and mineral supplements may be added to the therapy as animals may be weak and would not have enough energy to move about.

Preventive measures for Shipping Fever should include providing resting periods for animals being transported especially during long journeys. The rest period should include provision of food and water for animals. Trucks transporting animals should not be overloaded and must be roomy enough to allow them to breathe and move. It is not advisable to keep sick and healthy animals in the same truck. Calves should be weaned at least 2-3 weeks before transportation. At various animal markets, shelters should be created to protect them from the harsh environmental conditions.

Vaccines for Shipping Fever are available and should be given at least 2–3 weeks prior to transportation.  Vaccination can be repeated when animals are introduced into feedlot.



Today’s article is a very useful tool in guiding your decision making during buying new animals both for breeding and production purposes. Veterinarians generally use this technique also, to guess the approximate age of an animal where data or acquisition history of the animal may be deficient. In the absence of any defect or accidents, dentition of ruminants has proven and remained one of the popular and easy means to determine their age.

An adult sheep or goat has a total of 32 teeth. There are four pairs of incisors and twelve molars on the lower jaw whilst twelve molars and a dental pad are found on the upper jaw. Lambs and kids have temporary/milk teeth (incisors) which will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth.

The incisors therefore play a major role in enabling us to approximate the age of a sheep or goat (I I I I I I I I). When your ruminant is about a year old, the middle pair of incisors get replaced by a pair of permanent incisors (I I I I I  I I I).  After another year (2 years old), they have an additional pair of incisors replaced by permanent teeth (I l I  I I  I l  I). By their fourth year, all four incisors would have been replaced by permanent teeth (I I I I I I I I).

As they animals age (beyond 5 years), the teeth begin to space out, and then break or fall out. A sheep whose teeth are all fallen out (approximately 10 years old) is called a ‘’gummer”/” gummy’’.

Picture credit:Royal Veterinary CollegeAttribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International


ACTINOBACILLOSIS (Wooden Tongue) 1280 720 Kingsley Emmanuel Bentum

Actinobacillosis is a disease caused by the bacterium, Actinobacillus spp. There are over 20 known species of Actinobacillus however, five of them are known to cause disease in animals. Each of the Actinobacillus spp exhibits different signs in various species of animals. Our focus today will be on Actinobacillus lignieresii, which causes Wooden Tongue mainly in cattle. The disease can also be seen in sheep, horses, pigs and dogs. The causal organism Actinobacillus spp, is a commensal which resides in the upper digestive tract of animals. Infection occurs usually after an injury to the inner lining of the buccal cavity (mouth). During grazing, ruminants sometimes get cuts from sharp grasses or objects. This allows the bacterium to have access to the tissues of the buccal cavity, leading to the disease. The disease can spread from the tissues surrounding the mouth to other regions.  Signs of the disease usually seen include:

  1. Sudden swelling around the lower jaw, face, and sometimes the neck and chest regions with pus discharge
  2. Swollen and hardened tongue which is painful to touch. This is usually observed in cattle
  3. Sores on the tongue
  4. Excessive drooling with protruding tongue

Actinobacillosis can be diagnosed by culture, ELISA or PCR. In severe cases, surgical therapy is considered. Topical and broad-spectrum systemic antibiotics have proven effective in the treatment of wooden tongue. Consult your veterinarian once you see similar signs for assistance.