Animal Disease | Overview, Quick Facts and Resources

Just as we do, livestock animals get sick. And just like us, they deserve the right care and treatment to get better.

Many farmers and veterinarians feel a deep responsibility to protect the wellbeing of the animals in their care. 

Disease is one of the most common threats to this wellbeing; it’s thought that one in five farm animals are lost due to entirely preventable diseases each year, while many more animals needlessly suffer the effects of disease. 

Animal medicines are helping many farmers across the world avoid losing animals every day. These medicines work alongside farmers’ own careful husbandry and the expertise of veterinarians to support the wellbeing of the animals in their care. 

Medicines alleviate the immediate suffering of the animal, boost healthy productivity and ensure fewer animals are lost to disease. They help protect the livelihoods of farmers and the many millions of people around the world who depend upon livestock. 

But there is still more to do. The 20 percent of animals lost to preventable disease is the great challenge for farmers, veterinarians and animal medicine providers. As well as encouraging more vaccination and preventative treatments, we must also be vigilant against new and emerging diseases. This means continually developing new medicines and innovative treatments to stay one step ahead.

Diseases are in a state of constant change, and new, innovative medicines will be needed to counter each new threat to animal wellbeing. 

Quick Facts

  • One out of five farm animals are lost to disease: This reverberates far beyond the animal. It devastates the 1 billion people worldwide that rely on the milk, meat and eggs of livestock.
  • Cost of disease is staggering: Over just 12 years at the start of the millennium, six international incidents of animal disease caused economic losses of US$ 80 billion. This is more than the entire GDP of countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda
  • Disease can be controlled: Preventative tools like vaccinations can stop disease before it even strikes, while treatments like antibiotics can halt a raging outbreak on the farm. The animal health industry continues to invest in new medicines to better prevent and treat animal disease, reducing the impact on animals and the people who depend upon them
  • Medicines must reach the farm to be effective: Medicines are only effective when they reach a suffering animal. Smooth global trade and effective regulatory systems are the only way a medicine can be placed in the hands of those who supply it to the animal