Top 10 Most Common Livestock and Cattle Diseases in Kenya and How to Prevent Them

Top 10 Most Common Livestock and Cattle Diseases in Kenya and How to Prevent Them

Livestock farming plays a crucial role in Kenya’s agricultural sector, providing food, income, and livelihoods for millions of people across the country. However, the health and productivity of livestock are constantly threatened by a myriad of diseases. In Kenya, where the livestock industry is a cornerstone of the economy, the impact of these diseases can be particularly devastating, leading to significant economic losses and jeopardizing food security. In this article we will discuss 10 common livestock/cattle diseases in Kenya.

  1. East Coast Fever

East Coast Fever is a tick-borne disease that affects cattle in Kenya. It is caused by the protozoan parasite Theileria parva. The disease is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected ticks, commonly known as Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, which are prevalent in certain regions along the East Coast of Africa.

When cattle are infected with East Coast Fever, they may experience symptoms such as high fever, loss of appetite, weakness, and enlargement of lymph nodes. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.

Symptoms of East Coast Fever

  • High fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes

Prevention of East Coast Fever is crucial for cattle farmers. The following measures can help protect your herds from this deadly disease:

Prevention measures

  1. Implement effective tick control measures, such as acaricide application, regular inspection, and treatment of cattle to reduce tick infestation.
  2. Vaccinate your cattle with the East Coast Fever vaccine to provide them with immunity against the disease.
  3. Practice good pasture management, such as rotational grazing and bush clearing, to minimize tick habitats.
  4. Isolate and quarantine introduced cattle to prevent the spread of East Coast Fever to the rest of the herd.

If your cattle show symptoms of East Coast Fever, early treatment is essential. Promptly consult a veterinarian for the appropriate treatment options available. By being vigilant and implementing preventive measures, you can protect your cattle from East Coast Fever and ensure their overall health and well-being.

  1. Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP)

Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is a highly contagious respiratory disease that poses a significant threat to cattle in Kenya. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Mycoplasma mycoides, which primarily affects the lungs and pleura of infected animals.

CBPP leads to severe respiratory distress in cattle, characterized by a deep, dry cough, difficulty breathing, and nasal discharge. Affected animals may also exhibit a high fever and show signs of weakness and weight loss. It is crucial for livestock farmers to recognize these symptoms early on to prevent the disease from spreading to the entire herd.

The transmission of CBPP occurs through inhalation of respiratory droplets from infected animals, making it highly contagious. Close contact between infected and susceptible cattle poses a significant risk for transmission. Proper biosecurity measures, such as isolating and quarantining affected animals, can help prevent the further spread of the disease.

Read: Rodent Infestations in Kenya: Signs, Risks, and Proven Eradication Methods

Vaccination Strategies

One effective way to protect cattle from CBPP is through vaccination. Several CBPP vaccines are available that provide immunity against the disease.

The vaccination process involves administering a live, attenuated vaccine to healthy cattle. This helps stimulate their immune system and prepares them to fight against the CBPP bacterium.

It is essential to follow the recommended vaccination schedule and guidelines provided by veterinary professionals. This ensures that cattle have optimal protection against CBPP.

Vaccinating young calves and newly introduced animals should be a priority to safeguard the entire herd from potential outbreaks.

Regular revaccination may be necessary to maintain strong immunity and protect cattle from future infections.

  1. Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a viral infection that poses a significant threat to livestock, particularly cloven-hoofed animals like cattle. This highly contagious disease can spread rapidly through herds, causing economic losses and affecting the overall health of livestock populations.

FMD is characterized by the development of painful blisters on the mouth, tongue, and hooves of infected animals. It not only impacts the welfare of the infected livestock but also leads to a decline in milk and meat production, hindering the profitability of farmers.

Also read: 7 Signs You Need Professional Fumigation Services


Signs of Foot and Mouth Disease

  • Excessive salivation
  • Lameness and reluctance to walk
  • Blisters and sores on the mouth, tongue, and hooves
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss

Early detection is crucial for effective disease management and prevention. Farmers should closely monitor their livestock for these key signs and consult a veterinarian if they suspect FMD in their herd.

Prevention measures

Implementing biosecurity measures is vital to prevent the introduction and spread of Foot and Mouth Disease in livestock. These measures can include:

  • Strict control of animal movements and quarantine protocols
  • Regular vaccination to protect animals against the disease
  • Proper sanitation and hygiene practices to minimize FMD transmission
  • Identification and isolation of infected animals

By adhering to these prevention techniques, farmers can minimize the risk of FMD and safeguard the health and well-being of their livestock.

  1. Brucellosis

Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease that affects various species, including cattle. This bacterial infection can be transmitted from animals to humans, posing a significant health risk. It is essential for farmers to understand the symptoms, testing methods, and control strategies to protect both livestock and humans from this disease.


Symptoms of Brucellosis

  • Fever and chills: Infected animals may experience recurring episodes of fever and chills.
  • Joint and muscle pain: Brucellosis can cause joint and muscle pain, leading to lameness in affected animals.
  • Swollen lymph nodes: Animals may develop swollen lymph nodes as a result of the infection.
  • Reduced fertility and abortion: Brucellosis can lead to reproductive problems, such as reduced fertility and spontaneous abortion in cattle.

Testing Methods

Early detection is key to controlling the spread of brucellosis. Testing methods commonly used to diagnose the disease include:

  1. Serological tests: Blood tests are conducted to detect the presence of Brucella antibodies in infected animals.
  2. Bacteriological cultures: Culturing samples from infected animals helps identify the bacteria responsible for the infection.
  3. PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests: This molecular technique is highly sensitive and can detect Brucella DNA in samples.

Prevention and control measures play a crucial role in managing brucellosis.

  • Administering vaccines to susceptible animals helps reduce the risk of brucellosis.
  • Implementing strict biosecurity protocols on farms reduces the chances of disease transmission.
  • Isolating and removing infected animals from the herd can prevent further spread of the disease.
  • Safe disposal of materials contaminated with Brucella bacteria minimizes the risk of infection.


  1. Mastitis

Mastitis is a common udder infection that affects dairy cows. It is a condition that can significantly impact milk production and the overall health and well-being of the cows. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and appropriate milking hygiene practices is essential for preventing and managing mastitis in your herd.

Causes of Mastitis

Mastitis in cows can have various causes, including bacterial infections, poor milking hygiene, rough handling of the udder, inadequate cleaning of equipment, and contaminated bedding. Cows with compromised immune systems or those experiencing high stress levels are also more susceptible to developing mastitis.

Symptoms of Mastitis

Identifying the early signs of mastitis is crucial for prompt intervention and treatment. Common symptoms include swelling and redness of the udder, heat and pain in the affected quarters, changes in milk consistency, and the presence of clots or flakes in the milk. Cows with mastitis may also exhibit signs of discomfort and have reduced appetite.

How To Choose The Right Pest Control Company in Kenya


Milking Hygiene Practices for Mastitis Prevention

Effective milking hygiene practices play a vital role in preventing mastitis. Here are some important steps to follow:

  • Ensure proper cleaning and sterilization of milking equipment before each milking session.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry the udder before attaching the milking machine.
  • Use clean, dry towels or disposable wipes to clean the udder and teats.
  • Apply a teat dip or post-milking teat disinfectant to protect against bacterial infections.
  • Regularly monitor and maintain clean and comfortable bedding for the cows.
  • Implement a strict culling policy for cows with recurring mastitis.

  1. Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD)

It is a viral infection that impacts young calves, leading to symptoms like diarrhea, dehydration, and reduced weight. Prevention strategies include effective livestock management practices, maintaining hygiene standards, and administering vaccinations to calves.

  1. Bluetongue

It is a viral disease primarily affecting domestic and wild ruminants, including cattle. It’s transmitted by certain species of biting midges, particularly Culicoides spp.

Cause and Transmission

  • Bluetongue is caused by the Bluetongue virus (BTV), which belongs to the Orbivirus genus.
  • Transmission occurs through the bite of infected Culicoides midges, commonly known as biting midges or gnats.
  • The virus doesn’t directly spread from animal to animal but rather through the vector, the Culicoides midge.


  • Clinical signs in cattle can vary widely, ranging from mild or subclinical cases to severe forms of the disease.
  • Common symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, swelling of the head and neck, lameness, and oral lesions.
  • The characteristic sign of Bluetongue, from which the disease gets its name, is the blue-purple discoloration of the tongue, though this symptom isn’t always present.

Prevention and Control

  • Vaccination is a key strategy for preventing Bluetongue in cattle. Vaccines are available and are often administered as part of herd health management programs.
  • Vector control measures, such as reducing breeding sites for Culicoides midges and using insecticides, can help reduce transmission.
  • Movement restrictions and quarantine measures may be implemented during outbreaks to prevent the spread of the virus to unaffected areas.


  1. Anthrax

In Kenya, farmers face many challenges, including Anthrax outbreaks in cattle. This dangerous disease comes from a germ called Bacillus anthracis. It’s very deadly and can hurt many animals if we do not stop it. In Kenya, animals are very important for business and daily life. This makes keeping animals healthy very important.

The places where animals graze in Kenya can make anthrax germs grow. These germs can sleep in the ground for many years. When it’s dry or suddenly rains, these sleeping germs can wake up. This is dangerous for cows eating grass in these places. If cows get sick, it can also make people sick who touch or eat these sick animals.

To stop anthrax, Kenya is doing many smart things. They check the ground and test animals to find where anthrax might be. If they find anthrax, they move quickly to stop it from spreading. They put sick animals by themselves, and make sure to clean up very well to get rid of anthrax germs.

Giving animals shots is the best way to stop them from getting anthrax. In Kenya, they give shots to animals in places where anthrax happened before. They also teach people how to take care of their animals so they don’t get sick. This helps keep both animals and people safe from anthrax.


Get the best Cattle/livestock products at Kihysoco


  1. Rift Valley Fever

Rift Valley Fever is very scary disease. It hurts not just animals but people too. The disease can spread from animals to humans. That’s why stopping it in cattle is very important. Experts are trying hard to stop this virus.

Knowing how Rift Valley Fever spreads is key to stopping it. In places where people rely on cattle, stopping this disease is crucial. It helps avoid money troubles and keeps communities stable. Vaccines play a big role in this fight. They protect animals and stop the disease from spreading.

Teaching people how to avoid getting sick from the disease is also super important. They learn how mosquitoes spread the virus. And they find out how to keep mosquitoes away. Things like getting rid of standing water and using bug spray help a lot.

There’s a plan called One Health that helps, too. It brings people from different jobs together to fight the disease. Doctors, vets, and others work as a team. This teamwork helps protect everyone in Kenya from the disease.

Why kihysoco is the Best Online Agrovet Shop in Kenya 2024


  1. Lumpy Skin Disease

Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is now a big problem for cattle health in Kenya. It harms the skin and meat of cattle, causing losses for farmers and others in the industry.

Lumpy Skin Disease Symptoms

Symptoms include fever, feeling down, making less milk, and bumps on the skin.

Severe cases can lead to more infections, mastitis, or even death. Finding and treating LSD early is key.

Preventative Measures and Vaccination Strategies

To fight this disease, vaccination against LSD in Kenya is very important. It helps the cattle stay healthy and lowers the chance of an outbreak.

Keeping animals apart, controlling bugs, and checking animal movement also help stop LSD from spreading. Farmers in Kenya are using these methods to protect their cattle.


Understanding and effectively managing livestock diseases is crucial for ensuring the health and productivity of cattle in Kenya. The country faces several common diseases that can have devastating effects on both individual animals and the livestock industry as a whole.

With the implementation of comprehensive vaccination programs, strict biosecurity measures, and proactive surveillance, the impact of these diseases can be mitigated. Additionally, collaboration between government agencies, veterinarians, and farmers is essential for early detection and rapid response to outbreaks.

For professional pest control or disease control services in livestock in Kenya, visit Kihysoco or contact us on +254 705 031 180or email us on





0 Comments Write a comment

Leave a comment