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Understanding and Managing Bovine Ephemeral Fever in Cattle

Understanding and Managing Bovine Ephemeral Fever in Cattle

FREEASKDOCTOR.COM Understanding and Managing Bovine Ephemeral Fever in Cattle – Bovine ephemeral fever, also known as three-day sickness or three-day stiff sickness, is a viral disease that affects cattle and buffalo. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and prevention methods for this disease, as well as provide tips on managing it to ensure the health and productivity of your livestock.

Causes of Bovine Ephemeral Fever

Bovine ephemeral fever is caused by the Bovine ephemeral fever virus (BEFV), which belongs to the family Rhabdoviridae. The virus is transmitted by blood-sucking insects, primarily:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Biting midges
  • Sandflies

The disease is most common in tropical and subtropical regions where these insects are abundant, and it usually occurs during the warm, wet seasons when insect populations are high.

Symptoms of the Disease

The symptoms of bovine ephemeral fever can vary greatly, but they generally include:

  • Fever (up to 106°F or 41°C)
  • Lameness and stiffness
  • Swelling in the joints, muscles, and face
  • Decreased appetite
  • Milk production drop
  • Nasal discharge and excessive salivation

In some cases, the disease can also cause more severe symptoms such as:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Incoordination
  • Paralysis of the hindquarters

Most cattle recover within three days, hence the name “three-day sickness.” However, some animals may experience long-lasting effects, especially in severe cases.

Diagnosis and Treatment


Diagnosis of bovine ephemeral fever is typically based on the clinical signs and the history of the herd. Laboratory testing, such as virus isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), or serological tests, can be used to confirm the diagnosis.


There is no specific antiviral treatment for bovine ephemeral fever. Instead, the treatment focuses on symptomatic and supportive care, which may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Analgesics to relieve pain
  • Fluid therapy for dehydrated animals

Prevention and Control Measures

Preventing bovine ephemeral fever is crucial for maintaining the health and productivity of your cattle. Key prevention and control measures include:

  • Vaccination: In some regions, vaccines are available to protect cattle against BEFV. Consult your veterinarian about the use of vaccines in your area.
  • Vector control: Reduce insect populations by eliminating breeding sites (e.g., standing water) and using insecticides.
  • Animal management: House cattle indoors during peak insect activity, and use insect repellent ear tags or insecticide-impregnated nets to protect them from insect bites.
  • Quarantine: Isolate new animals for at least two weeks before introducing them to the herd.

Managing Affected Cattle

When managing cattle affected by bovine ephemeral fever, consider the following tips:

  • Monitor: Observe your cattle closely for any signs of the disease, and separate affected animals from the rest of the herd to minimize the spread of the virus.
  • Rest: Provide a comfortable and dry resting area for affected cattle, as this can aid in their recovery.
  • Nutrition: Offer easily digestible and palatable feeds to encourage affected cattle to eat and maintain their body condition.
  • Hydration: Ensure that affected cattle have access to clean, fresh water at all times.
  • Assistance: In cases of severe lameness or paralysis, help affected cattle to stand and move, as this can prevent muscle and joint damage.

Understanding and managing bovine ephemeral fever in cattle is essential for maintaining the health and productivity of your herd. Implementing preventive measures, such as vaccination and vector control, and providing proper care for affected animals can minimize the impact of this disease on your livestock. Always consult with your veterinarian for the best course of action regarding the specific needs of your herd.

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