General information

Diseases of cattle


Insufficient intake of zinc with the feed causes disease in all animal species. Especially often sick with a lack of zinc pig. Pigs with a deficiency of zinc develop parakeratosis. The disease they have when feeding pigs feed - starter, dry feed, as well as the content of pigs on rations of corn, vegetable proteins and sources of vitamins.

The endemic foci of zinc deficiency are recorded in the Volga region, Altai and in the north-western regions of Russia.

Etiology. The biological value of zinc for animals as a vital trace element is determined by the fact that it is a structural component of biological membranes, cell receptors, proteins. Included in more than 200 enzyme systems. Such vital hormones as insulin, corticotropin, somatropin, gonadotropin depend on the amount of zinc in the animal's body.

Zinc affects the activity of such enzymes as: enolase, histidase, depeptidase, amylase. High concentration of zinc in the pancreas, pituitary and gonads. Zinc affects the metabolic processes in the body, the absorption of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins. Zinc is vital for the animal to form red blood cells and other blood elements. Zinc affects uric acid metabolism. Zinc is a component of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase, which is involved in the binding and excretion of carbon dioxide (CO2), pancreatic carboxypeptidase and glutamic acid dehydrogenase from animals' blood.

As a result of zinc deficiency in the diet of animals, they develop a disease like parakeratosis. Researchers noted that a high calcium content in the diet of animals increases zinc deficiency.

With zinc deficiency in sick animals, in addition to the underlying animal disease, parakeratosis, with a symptom complex characteristic of the disease, sick animals have anemia, a decrease in catalase occurs, absorption of nutrients from the intestine decreases, which ultimately results in growth retardation and decrease in fatness of the sick animal .

The biological role of zinc is determined by the normal growth and development of puberty, it supports the reproductive function in the animal's body, is responsible for the taste, smell, normal course of wound healing in the animal, regulates the body's immune response, modulates keratogenesis.

Clinical picture. In patients with calves and sheep, during a clinical examination, we note apathy, loss of appetite, edemas on the extremities, and formation of scaly patches on the skin, especially a lot of them in the lower legs, on the head, neck, around the nostrils. Upon careful examination, we note hair loss on the affected areas of the skin (alopecia). In such calves, there is an increase in the joints and periodic lameness. Sick animals get tired quickly.

In adult animals with a lack of zinc infertility occurs.

Have piglets- weaning and gilts we note a lag in growth and development, a decrease in appetite, the appearance of thirst. In piglets, the first signs of zinc deficiency (parakeratosis) during a clinical examination are found by the veterinarian in the eye, ear, nose area, further symptoms characteristic of zinc deficiency begin to appear on the skin of the perineum, back, neck, peritoneum and chest. The disease in piglets begins with the reddening of individual areas of the skin with the further formation in their place of keratin crusts, which sometimes on areas of the body covered with short hair, forms a continuous rough overlay light brown or brown. At the same time, the thickness of such crusts reaches 1-1.5 cm in the areas of skin with a long scalp. Often in sick animals deep cracks appear on the skin, at the bottom of which there is a serous exudate.

Have dogs Zinc deficiency at clinical examination is manifested by the fact that around the mouth, eyes, on the cheeks and ears we establish erythema, alopecia, the presence of crusts, peeling of the skin, at the accession of the secondary infection - suppuration foci. Coat of sick dogs is dry and dull. If the zinc deficiency in dogs is long lasting, then during a clinical examination, the veterinarian registers inflammation of the membranes and cornea of ​​the eye. We note, in the presence of wounds, the deterioration of their healing.

In chickens with a deficiency in the diet of zinc, we note a delay in their growth, poor plumage, and skin lesions.

In the study of blood, the level of zinc drops to 15-20 μg%, with a rate of 450-500 μg%.

Pathological changes. At autopsy, animals suffering from zinc insufficiency usually do not show any characteristic changes, except for skin lesions - it is dense and difficult to cut. At the same time, the cut surface is white, glossy and globular. Histological examination of the upper layer of the skin establish a violation of the process of keratinization: the cells of the epidermis do not keratinize, they preserve the nucleus or their remnants.

Diagnosis on zinc deficiency in animals, the veterinarian puts on clinical signs, available pathological changes, the results of the study of soil, feed, liver and animal blood for zinc content.

Differential diagnosis. When conducting a differential diagnosis, the veterinarian should exclude the presence of the following diseases in a sick animal: trichophytosis, microsporia, dermatophytosis, demodecosis of dogs, scabies in sheep, staphylococcal infection in dogs, streptococcosis in dogs and cats, B5 hypovitaminosis (pellagragu), hypovitaminosis, and and other infectious skin diseases.

Treatment and Prevention It is carried out by adding zinc sulphate to the feeds, while at the same time productive animals not only eliminate the symptoms of zinc deficiency, but also improve feed payment, increase the sexual activity of animals and their fertility. Zinc dose up to 100 mg per 1 kg of dry matter feed. Pigs use a solution of zinc sulfate (2 g per 1 liter of water) and give at the rate of 0.5 ml per 1-2 kg of body weight. Irrigate the mash. Zinc salts can be added to drinking water. With a lack of zinc feed is used, where its content is greatest: yeast, bran and germ of cereal grains, especially a lot of zinc in colostrum.

Parakeratosis piglets

Parakeratosis piglets. Parakeratosis is a disease of piglets and gilts, caused by a violation of zinc metabolism and manifested by stunted growth, dermatitis and nervous agitation.

The disease is more common in large farms.

Etiology. The causes of the occurrence of the disease are not fully elucidated, but the disturbance of zinc metabolism, as well as calcium and phosphorus, is of primary importance. It has been established that excessive calcium intake in the soil leads to a violation of the ratio of calcium and phosphorus in the forage crops growing on it, which, in turn, violates the absorption of zinc. Most often parakeratosis in piglets and gilts is manifested when feeding large quantities of grain feed.

Pathogenesis. Zinc entering the body of animals takes a large part in the formation of enzymes and, in particular, carbonic anhydrase, enhances the action of phosphatase, reduces the activity of protease and catalase, activates peroxidase, normalizes tissue respiration. Zinc is absorbed in the duodenum and accumulates in the liver. Insufficient intake of zinc disrupts the enzymatic regulation of digestion and metabolism, violates the synthesis of proteins, leads to a decrease in the content of zinc in the blood.

Pathological changes. Fallen piglets and pigs have a pellag-like rash and small smearing scabs on the inner surface of the thighs, under the thoracic limbs, behind the ears, on the surface of the abdomen, bristles that have fallen out, dull, hypoplasia of the subcutaneous tissue. Histological studies find disturbances of keratinization in the skin and mucous membranes, which differ from normal by increased production of corneal matter and high-quality horn formation disorders.

Symptoms. Often the disease manifests itself in gilt at the age of 4-6 months and less often in weaners. Animals are stunted, they develop dermatitis, especially in places with thinner skin, stubble falls out, and emaciation occurs. Pigs and gilts constantly itch on partitions, feeders. On the flexor surface of the joints appear skin cracks, filled with exudate, first yellowish, and later dirty-gray. Appetite reduced or absent. The animal is buried in the litter. Some sick piglets appear trembling.

Body temperature in piglets and gilts is in the normal range. The number of red blood cells, leukocytes and hemoglobin in the blood also does not change. The content of total protein in serum decreases.

Diagnosis. Takes into account data on the conditions of maintenance and composition of rations, clinical signs of the disease and pathological changes.

Treatment. A good therapeutic effect occurs when daily giving sick piglets and gilts of zinc carbonate or sulfate. The dose of drugs varies depending on the stage of the disease: in the initial period, the therapeutic effect occurs with a daily dose of 0.2 g per head per day with food, with developed disease, the dose should be 0.5 g, and in severe cases - 0.75 g a day for at least 3 weeks. The accuracy of the dosage of the drug given with the feed depends on careful mixing of the dry powder with the amount of feed that the animals eat without residue.

Prevention. With the manifestation of the disease add 50-100 g of zinc carbonate or sulfate per 1 ton of concentrated feed. It has been established that the cessation of parakeratosis in animals is achieved when 1 kg of feed contains not more than 10 g of calcium and not less than 44–60 mg of zinc.

Causes of

In the aggregate causes of parakeratosis in piglets, the following are distinguished:

  • glut of calcium and vegetable proteins
  • interruptions in the absorption of useful substances into the blood due to a lack of vitamin A,
  • feeding dry food
  • Zinc deficiency (key factor) is a vital trace element indispensable for piglet babies, as it helps them to fully grow and develop.

Important! In the diet of a piglet must certainly be present zinc at least 300 mg, and for gilt you need at least 500 mg. Lack of zinc leads to liver disease in young animals, and over time to the appearance of parakeratosis.

In a healthy piglet's body, zinc supports the most important processes:

  • structuring sustainable immunity,
  • the work of taste and olfactory receptors,
  • consistent sexual development.

This mineral is a component of the enzyme of the respiratory system, a stimulator of its activity. With a shortage of zinc and if this is accompanied by an excess of calcium, the piglet slows down development, develops catarrh of the gastrointestinal tract, parakeratosis of the skin, anemia, there is a problem with the work of the liver.

Sick young growth is developing poorly physically, lagging behind in growth. The skin is covered with dermatitis (stronger in places where the skin is thinner), the bristles come out, the pigs wither and thin. The disease occurs in three forms: chronic, subacute and acute. Different forms of percolation are accompanied by absolutely identical symptoms.

This form acquires the size of an epidemic among young stock at the age of a month or two. Symptoms resemble intestinal disorder: appetite decreases, general lethargy, depression in behavior and reactions, diarrhea. The body of piglets is covered with pink spots, more often they are localized on the stomach, thighs and behind the ears.

As the disease grows, the spots darken, turn maroon with cyanosis. Gradually, the spots are replaced by dermatitis throughout the baby’s body, brown rinds are formed, especially on the legs, which makes the animals limp and have difficulty walking on trembling legs. The disease takes about two weeks, sometimes three.

It proceeds more sluggishly, with developed symptoms. This form torments pigs 2-3x months old for a whole month, or even 40 days.


Its symptoms repeat the symptoms of the acute form of the disease, but its course is more even: there is no temperature, protein drops in the blood, and spots and itching are found in an advanced case. One can suspect that the animal is sick only because of its lethargy and refusal to eat.

The piglet is lethargic and does not eat


Only a veterinarian can make a complex diagnosis indicating zinc deficiency in an individual. The specialist proceeds from the following factors:

  • clinical signs of disease,
  • chemical indicators of food, drinking for the presence of beneficial substances such as phosphorus, calcium and zinc,
  • research results in special pig blood laboratories for the presence of vitamin A, protein and zinc,
  • external signs - red spots or crusts on the skin of individuals.

Experts to start exclude other health problems associated with dermatitis of the skin (eczema, scabies).

Important! A normal indicator of the zinc content in the blood serum of individuals is 100 µg or more. A level below 50 micrograms indicates a zinc deficiency. A figure below 15-20 mcg signals the disease of piglets.

Treatment of parakeratosis in pigs should immediately begin as soon as the vet finds the first signs of the disease.

  1. One of the mandatory treatment points is to replenish the diet of animals with foods high in zinc: yeast, bran, grass seedlings, beans, peas, and root vegetables. Colostrum is useful in this case.
  2. To the feed add 50-100 mg of zinc sulfate per 1 kg of dry food in the diet. Its use inside helps individuals to cope with the disease for 10-15 days. At the same time, not only the symptoms of the disease are reduced, but also the appetite of individuals improves, sexual activity and fertility increase.
  3. Piglets are injected intramuscularly with a 5% solution of zinc sulfate and vitamin A in a ratio of 1 mg of the drug per kg of body weight of the individual. Such therapy helps to eliminate the signs of the disease already on the 5th day, the animal recovers safely.

Products containing zinc

The nature of parakeratosis is bacterial, so antibiotics do a good job with the infection, but only under specific conditions:

  • antibiotics are effective against parakeratosis,
  • the medicine is used in strict dosage for the right amount of time
  • treatment started early
  • antibiotic is absorbed by the skin at the required concentration.

Antibiotics are used both in the form of injections and orally. Drugs such as cephalospirins are permissible only as a last resort, they develop resistance to antibiotics in humans. There are also local varieties of antibiotics that are applied directly to the skin layer.

One of the options for additional treatment can be called soap, which removes the fatty film from the skin, thereby locally destroying the skin bacteria.


It is safe to talk about preventive measures being taken to avoid this ailment, if the number of young pigs receives food balanced by three essential components: zinc, vitamin A and calcium, taking into account the specifics of the area in which individuals grow.

Food with a high content of zinc in the diet of piglets will serve as a reliable prevention of parakeratosis. In order to prevent the deficiency of this mineral, the young need to be given the required amount of colostrum, sprouts of cereals, yeast and bran.

Piglets are fed with a solution of zinc sulphate (2 kg per 1 l of water) and are calculated at the rate of half a ml per 1-2 kg of individual weight. Even the dishes for kneading feed piglets sprayed with this solution. Water in drinking bowls is also enriched with zinc salts.

Reliable prevention is the introduction of zinc sulfate solution intravenously. Dosage - 5 mg / kg animal weight. It is advisable to introduce zinc sulfate into the piglet’s food in a dose of 120 mg / kg of feed product.

It must be remembered that the staphylococcus bacterium colonizing almost all pigs has many faces, since there are many different strains of this infection and no one can promise with certainty that there will be no new species that can start the epidemic.