Use of traditional animal health care to treat ailments in livestock

Use of traditional animal health care to treat ailments in livestock|Use of traditional animal health care to treat ailments in livestock

Ethnoveterinary medicine (EVM) commonly known as traditional animal health care, incorporates knowledge, skills, methods, practices, and beliefs on animal health care, and is found among community members.

Nfi et al. (2001), indicated that knowledge on medicinal plants has been passed on orally from one generation to the other. However, generational gap between the elderly and young as well as civilization could result in the loss in this knowledge, in the near future.

Traditional animal health care has emerged as a sustainable practice, frequently used as an alternative for pharmaceutical therapy in the treatment of domestic animals in local communities.

Safeguarding this knowledge orally passed on from generation to generation is vital. This brings us to our discussion today, on the significance of Ethnoveterinary medicine or traditional animal health care in domesticated species.

Aladi (1999), illustrated that in Nigeria most livestock have remained in the care of traditional herdsmen, where Ethnoveterinary practices plays a vital role in disease management. Many livestock farmers use indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants to control and manage livestock diseases in Namibia and also countries such as Cameroon, India, Botswana, South Africa, Pakistan, Zimbabwe do practice Ethnoveterinary medicine.

Commonly treated ailments with traditional animal health care

  • Wounds
  • Ecto-parasites and endo-parasites
  • Diarrhea
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Eye inflammation

What materials are used in Ethnoveterinary medicine?

  • Coconut milk may be used to counter Cassava poisoning in small ruminants
  • Opuntia stricta (Prickly pear), leaves are used to treat Anaplasmosis in cattle
  • Diospyros lycioides (Blue-bush) leaves and roots are used to treat diarrhea in cattle
  • Aloe vera is used to treat avian Coccidiosis for example in chickens or turkey

Different preparations used in Ethnoveterinary medicine

  • Tree barks may be crushed and applied directly on wounds
  • Roots from plants may be crushed and soaked in water and added to drinking water for animals to treat diarrhea
  • Leaves may be crushed to obtain sap that is used for various ailments

Significance of Ethnoveterinary medicine

Knowledge about Ethnoveterinary medicine promotes the use of native plant species in their area, which may be developed into medicine in the future if their efficacy is proved and approved.
Working closely with botanical institutes may help with the preservation of these native species, and in so doing biodiversity is preserved.
Traditional animal health care helps local farmers, by providing a cheaper source of remedy for the ill animals.
If knowledge on Ethnoveterinary medicine is passed down from one generation to the next, it enriches the people with the knowledge, that will continue being shared in generations to comes.

Advantages of Ethnoveterinary medicine

  • Easily accessible
  • Easy to prepare and administer
  • Inexpensive
  • Part of the people’s own traditional culture and practices

In summary, well-practiced animal health care may be an alternative to treatments for domesticated animals at a cheaper cost. Local community members ought to preserve the plant species used, for generations to come.


Daniels, P.W., S. Holden, E. Lewin & S. Dadi. 1993. Livestock services for small holders: A critical evaluation of the delivery of animal health and production services to the small-scale farmer in developing world. Proceedings of an International Seminar, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 15-21 November 1992.

McCorkle CM: An introduction to ethnoveterinary research and development. J Ethnobiol 1986; 6:129–149.

Nfi, A. N., Mbanya, J. N., Ndi, C., Kameni, A., Vabi, M., Pingpoh, D., ... & Moussa, C. (2001). Ethnoveterinary medicine in the Northern Provinces of Cameroon. Veterinary Research Communications, 25(1), 71.Discover the Suite of Apps for Livestock Management
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