goats disease

Livestock production: How fast do livestock recover after disease treatment?

Question: How fast do livestock recover after treatment for disease?

  • Disease is a process that becomes more severe over time.
  • Sometimes, it takes a few minutes (as in cases of poisoning) or days/weeks (as for a wireworm infestation).
  • The same applies to recovery after successful treatment.

The longer a disease/condition took to develop, the longer it usually takes before the animal is healthy again – provided that treatment was successful, and done in time.

If the animal doesn’t recover after being treated, it could be that treatment was too late or wasn’t effective. This is called the outcome of disease identification and treatment.

Under field conditions, where few diagnostic tools are available to identify diseases, the outcome of the treatment is a very important observation, that also helps to confirm the cause of disease.

If the outcome is negative, even though the disease was treated in time and the medicine had been handled correctly (had not expired, was stored in a cool place, was applied correctly and at the right dosage) the animal handler can be sure that disease identification was wrong. The help of a veterinary professional is now required.


  • Taking care of a sick animal is a much-neglected aspect of health care.
  • Sick animals need shade (summer) or protection from cold winds (winter).
  • The animal handler needs to provide clean water and palatable food, such as lucerne while the animal is recovering.
  • If lucerne isn’t available, the handler needs to find and cut good grass or leaves for the animal.
  • Make sure that the animal is lying upright (in other words not on its side) and that children and dogs don’t bother it.
  • Observe and examine the animal twice a day, as would be the norm when looking after a sick animal.
  • Record observations and contact a veterinary professional for assistance if the animal doesn’t improve.

Also read:
Use your eyes to assess cattle condition
Primary health care for livestock (1)

  • This article was written by Dr. Danie Odendaal and first appeared in Farming SA.

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