Animal Health

Droughtmaster cattle along with all other breeds may be affected by numerous diseases and/or genetic disorders.

In most cases, the diseases are preventable or treatable through the use of vaccines or drugs.  


Genetic disorders are not treatable but are preventable once they are identified.  Genetic disorders have been identified in all species, with more than 400 listed in beef cattle.  Bovine geneticists have observed that all breeds have numerous mutations in their genes.   


Through strategic DNA testing and sound management, breeders can successfully manage these issues in a way that is beneficial to the breed and commercial customers. 

Managing Genetic Conditions

Bovine Diseases & Genetic Disorders

In the interests of improving awareness of disease and genetic disorders which may affect Droughtmaster cattle, the following list with links to detailed explanations is provided (in alphabetical order.)


(source: Department of Agriculture & Fisheries)

This is primarily a disease of cattle, causing deformities in the foetus.  Rarely, deformities in lambs have been recorded.  Other species may become infected without apparent signs of disease, including buffalo, camels, horses, goats and dogs.  Read more



(source: Business Queensland Farms - Fisheries - Forestry)

Botulism is a disease caused by the botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.  

Clostridium botulinum spores are common in the soil, and also in the gut of healthy normal cattle and other animals in tropical environments (which includes most of Queensland), where they are not a problem.  Read more

Clostridial disease

(source: Department of Agriculture & Fisheries)

Five diseases that are usually fatal to cattle are included in this group of clostridial diseases - tetanus, malignant oedema, blackleg, enterotoxaemia and black disease.  These diseases are not directly transmissible to humans from cattle.  Read more


Ephemeral Fever (3 Day Sickness)

(source: Business Queensland Farms - Fisheries - Forestry)

Bovine ephemeral fever (BEF) is a disease that affects cattle and occasionally buffaloes and is marked by a short fever, shivering, lameness and muscular stiffness.  Also commonly knows as 3 day sickness, BEF is an arthropod-borne virus (most likely mosquitoes) and widespread in Queensland.  Read more

Bovine Johnes Disease (BJD)

(source: Business Queensland Farms - Fisheries - Forestry)

Johne's disease (JD) is a serious disease of cattle, sheep, goats, alpaca, llama, camels and deer.  

There are several strains of the organism, Read more 

Double Ears

(source: Droughtmaster Technical Notes)

Double ears are a physical condition or aberration in the ear structure of Bos indicus or Bos indicus derived cattle. The fault is manifested by the development or growth of tissue and/or abnormal hair growth on the dorsal or outside of the upper part of the ear. Read more

Leptospirosis (Lepto)

(source: Business Queensland Farms - Fisheries - Forestry)

Leptospirosis is primarily an occupational disease that affects farmers and other people whose occupation brings them into direct contact with animals.  It can also infect some wildlife species, such as rats.  Rats are thought to be a common source of the disease and, historically, cane cutters were infected during manual cutting of cane infested by rats. Read more 

Neospora caninum

(source: Department of Agriculture & Fisheries)

Neospora caninum, a microscopic protozoan parasite, was first described in 1988 and has since been shown to be a major cause of bovine abortion throughout the world.  Read more


(source: Business Queensland Farms - Fisheries - Forestry)

Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) is recognised as an insidious cause of losses in beef and dairy herds in Australia.  BVDV affects all types of cattle, and has probably been present in Australia for as long as cattle.  It has commonly been misdiagnosed as other cattle diseases.  Other ruminant species (i.e. deer, goats) may be infected and rarely show clinical signs of disease.  Read more


(source: Business Queensland Farms - Fisheries - Forestry)

Theileria are protozoan parasites carried by ticks.  When ticks carrying. Theileria feed on cattle, the parasite gets into their bloodstream and enters red blood cells.  In some animals, sufficient red blood cells are destroyed to cause anaemia - a reduction in the red blood cell numbers.  This reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen and makes the animal ill.  Read more 

Tick Fever

(source: Business Queensland Farms - Fisheries - Forestry)

Tick fever or 'red water' is a disease of cattle caused by blood parasites that are transmitted by the cattle tick (Boophilus microplus).  The cost of a tick fever outbreak can be substantial.

Tick fever kills cattle.  In Queensland, on average, about 5% of at-risk animals die during an outbreak.  Pregnant animals may abort.  Read more


(source: Business Queensland Farms - Fisheries - Forestry)

Vibriosis, or Campylobacteriosis, is a venereal disease of cattle caused by a bacterium which lives in the lining of the reproductive tract.  Vibrio can cause problems in both dairy and beef herds.  Read more

Droughtmaster Stud Breeders Society

40 Thorn St


T:07 3281 0056  F: 07 3281 7957


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