Common Infectious Diseases of Carabao

1. Hoof and Mouth Disease (HMD)

Causes: Virus. Types identified in the Philippines A, O, C

Mode of Transmission: Direct and indirect contact with naturally infected animals, carriers, implements and other infected materials. Blister fluid, saliva and other bodily discharges highly infective.

Symptoms: Fever. Vesicles and erosion in between hooves, coronary band (junction between skin and hoof), teats and udder, oral mucosa and tongue. Raw ulcerations follow rupture of vesicles; stringy or foamy salivation, smacking of the lips, difficulty in feed ingestion; staggering gait and lameness. Abortion in pregnant animals.

Prevention/Control: Immediate notification of the authorities. Designation of quarantine areas and restricted movement of animals; disinfecting area with virucidal agents (commercial disinfectant or lye, caustic soda). Animals should be kept on dry ground and lesions treated with mild antiseptics or alum. Mass immunization and effective restriction in movement of animals and carriers is necessary.

2. Hemorrhagic septicemia

Causes: Actual : Bacteria (Pasteurella multocida)

Predisposing: Climatic stress, fatigue, transport, nutritional and parasitic stresses, etc.

Mode of Transmission: Ingestion or inhalation of infective agent. May be normally present in the nasopharyngeal area but predisposition causes flare-up of infection.

Symptoms: High fever, loss of appetite.

Respiratory distress; salivation, nasal discharge, swelling of throat and brisket, congestion of mucous membrane, diarrhea becoming bloody later.


  • Prophylactic vaccination
  • Removal of predisposition when possible.
  • Early treatment with parental antibiotics and sulfa drugs.

3. Anthrax

Causes: Bacteria (Bacillus anthracis)

Mode of Transmission:

  • Direct ingestion of infected material, biting flies.
  • Indirect through contact with materials and other carriers.

Symptoms: Sudden onset of fever depression and loss of appetite. Swelling of chest, head, belly and legs, bloody diarrhea. Death common even in early stages. Colic, abortion in pregnant animals, blood stained discharges, convulsions

Prevention and Control: Vaccination in areas where anthrax is endemic. Dead animal should be cremated or buried deeply under a layer of lime. Antibiotic treatments is effective only in early and less acute cases.

4. Blackleg

Causes: Bacteria (Clostridium chauvoei)

Mode of Transmission: Infection initiated by trauma of the body and oral mucosa

Symptoms: Sudden deaths in acute cases. Less acute: depression, fever, rapid respiration and suspended rumination. Typically, hot painful swelling in thigh and leg muscles. Cracking sensation on palpation of swellings due to gas in tissues. Lameness in affected limb.

Prevention and Control: Vaccination. Cremation of carcasses. Early isolation and treatment with massive doses of antibiotics.

5. Brucellosis

Causes: Bacteria (Brucella abortus). Predisposing: Climatic stress, fatigue, transport, nutritional and parasitic stresses, etc.

Mode of Transmission: Ingestion of contaminated feed and water. Aborted fetus, fetal membranes, placenta, urine and uterine discharge are main sources of infection. Infected carabulls may transfer disease through natural/artificial breeding.

Symptoms: Infertility. Abortion, retained placenta, persistent vaginal discharge. In males, swollen and painful testicles with subsequent infertility/sterility. Respiratory distress; salivation, nasal discharge, swelling of throat and brisket, congestion of mucous membrane, diarrhea becoming bloody later.

Prevention and Control: Blood tests and removal of infected animals. Antibiotic medication, impractical. Vaccination may be tried. Infective materials discarded properly; contract with carrier avoided. Removal of predisposition when possible. Early treatment with parental antibiotics and sulfa drugs.

6. Actinomycosis

Causes: Actual: Fungus (Actinomyces spp.) Predisposing: Injuries in the oral mucosa

Mode of Transmission: Causal organism common in environment. Carriers such as flies may transmit organisms to other animals through open wounds.

Symptoms: Immovable form swelling involving bony structure of the jaw and face. May extend to involved soft tissues with exudation of sticky yellow pus. Closed swelling become larger without exudation (tumorous). May involve udder and skin.

Prevention and Control: Treatment requires veterinary assistance. Veterinarian should be consulted.

7. Foot rot

Causes: Actual: Bacteria (Spherophorus necrophorus) Pre-disposing: wounds in the hoof, wet and muddy ground.

Mode of Transmission: Organism normally common in wet ground rich in organic matter and humus. Requires injuries and open lesions of hoof to infect.

Symptoms: Sudden lameness when acute. Typical to see foul smelling ulcers. Interdiginal cleft swollen and painful, may worsen to cause fever and other systemic signs.
Prevention and Control

Hooves should be treated early with antiseptic (5% copper sulfate (5-10% formalin; tincture of iodine, etc.). animal should be kept on high dry ground.

8. Bacterial scours in caracalves

Causes: Actual: Multiple bacterial agents. Predisposing: dietetic and environmental stressors (chilling, wet muddy yard, insanitary quarters).

Mode of Transmission: Multiple: direct infection from infected or contaminated udders; navel infection in calf, genital or intrauterine infection of dam; contaminated environment.

Symptoms: Occurs as early as 24 hours after birth. Pasty yellowish white feces later becoming more liquid with fermented or pungent odor. Calf weak with sunken eyeball, unsteady gait, and rough coat. Mortality due to dehydration very high.

Prevention and Control: Proper nursing in clean dry environment necessary. Colostrum important to calf. Early cases respond to antibiotic

9. Calf pneumonia

Causes: Actual: Multiple bacterial agents

Mode of Transmission: As in the bacterial scours

Symptoms: Fever, inability to suckle, nasal discharge, coughing and respiratory distress. Gradual emaciation. May terminate as scours pneumonia combination. Death common.

Prevention and Control: As in bacterial scours. Treatment requires parentenal antibiotic of sulfa injections.

10. Leptospirosis

Causes: Leptospira spp.

Mode of Transmission: Direct – organisms passed out in urine.

Symptoms: Depression, fever, dark red urine, yellowing of mucosa (jaundice) abortion in many pregnant animals. Requires laboratory test for confirmation.

Prevention and Control: Regular blood test. Vaccination. Isolate and treat cases with antibiotics. Environmental sanitation and disinfection.

11. Tetanus

Causes: Actual: Bacteria (Clostridium tetani)

Mode of Transmission: Direct infection due to introduction of organism in wounds. Not contagious to other animals.

Symptoms: Early stages characterized by rigidly and stiffness of muscles; stilty gait. Late stages with titanic convulsions, prolapse of 3rd eyelid, stiff tail, head and neck thrown back, hyperexcitability. Bloat and other nervous signs.

Prevention and Control: Treat wound with antiseptics until completely healed, use clean difficult to treat. Give prophylactic ATS or tetanus toxoid injections. Late stages difficult to treat.

12. Ephemeral

Causes: Virus

Mode of Transmission: Through bites of bloodsucking insects.

Symptoms: Stiffness of gait, lameness, fever.

Prevention and Control: Supportive treatment like administration of antibiotic and vitamins. Control biting insects.

13. Parasitic gastroenteritis

Causes: Various species of parasitic nematodes in the digestive tract. Caracalves and yearlings most susceptible.

Mode of Transmission: Commonly through direct infection with parasitic larval stages through herbages; less commonly through skin penetration and intrauterine infection.

Symptoms: Poor body condition, anemia, diarrhea, potbelly and weakness.

Prevention and Control:

  • Regular deworming with effective anthelmintics (tetramisole, parbendazole, thibendazole, pyrantel, etc.) Pasture rotation and improved feeding practices.

14. Parasitic pneumonia

Causes: Dictyocaulus spp. (adult stages in the bronchioles of lungs)

Mode of Transmission: Infection with the parasite in the larval stage through herbage.

Symptoms: As in parasitic gastroenteritis for general signs. Specific symptoms include persistent husky coughing, respiratory distress.

Prevention and Control: Regular deworming with tetramisole. General prevention as in parasitic gastroenteritis.

15. Liverflike infection

Causes: Fasciola gigantica and F. hepatica. Requires intermediate host (Lymnea auricularia)

Mode of Transmission: Direct infection through ingestion of parasitic stage (metacercaria) attached in gasses. Presence of this stage related to availability of snail host. Common in low-lying water logged areas, rivers, streams and stagnant pools.

Symptoms: Symptoms similar to parasitic gastroenteritis.

Prevention and Control: Regular deworing with flukecides, control of snails hosts; pasture improvements, keep animals away from known infected sources of herbage. Deworming at proper intervals (3-4 times a year) only practical approach.

Consult veterinarian for proper drug, dosage and intervals.

16. Coccidiosis

Causes: Protozoa (Eimeria spp.) Generally not a primary condition but exists with other enteric diseases.

Mode of Transmission: Direct infection by ingestion of infective stage (oocyst). Thrives in moist damp and unsanitary areas.

Symptoms: Common only in caracalves and yearlings. Diarrhea later becoming bloody and profuse; dehydration and anemia.

Prevention and Control: Clean environment and general sanitation. Treat with sulfa drugs only.

17. Pediiculosis (lice infestation)

Causes: Common sucking louse (Haematopinus spp.)

Mode of Transmission: Direct contact with other infested animals. Egg to mature stage occur on the animal.

Symptoms: Itchiness characterized by scratching and later poor thriving.

Prevention and Control: Regular spraying with effective insecticides (Neguvon, Ciodrin, Asuntol, Malathion etc.)

18. Mange

Causes: Sarcoptic, psoroptic or chorioptic mites

Mode of Transmission: Direct and indirect contact with infected animals.

Symptoms: Marked itchiness and irriration with animals constantly rubbing or licking affected areas. Maybe patchy or generalized. Skin becomes hairless, thickened or scabby.

Prevention and Control: Deworm calves at 30 days and again a month later. Use Piperazine preparation.

19. Ascariasis

Causes: Neoascarist vitulorum

Mode of Transmission: From infected dam to young ones prenatally and through milk, also ingestion of infective eggs.

Symptoms: Progressive deterioration of body condition; inappetence, dullness and may suffer from colic with or without diarrhea.

Prevention and Control: Deworm calves at 30 days and again a month later. Use Piperazine preparation.

20. Surra

Causes: Trypanosoma evansi
Mode of Transmission: Through bites of bloodsucking insects.
Symptoms: Fever and progressive loss of body weight. Survival rate for mature and healthy animals is high.
Prevention and Control: Administer Ganaseg 3 – 5 mg/kg/body weight in a 10% solution intramuscularly.

For more information, contact:

Livestock Division
Department of Agriculture
Regional Field Unit No. VII
M. Velez St., Cebu City

The publication of this guide was made possible through the Livestock Division of DA-RFU-VII. May this serve our clientele at its best. – Eduardo B. Lecciones, Jr., Regional Executive Director,photo from


  1. By Zhazel


  2. By Cheng


    • By lgu vet, talisay city agri ofc, neg. occ.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.