Table of Contents

See also the “Biosecurity” chapter.


1. Overview

Animal health includes the use of measures like vaccinations, dosing and dips to safeguard farming enterprises. These precautions amount to less than 7% of the farmer’s total expenditure. To avoid essential preventative treatment and spending is to act unwisely. Animal diseases and parasites are bad news for the economy, to say nothing of human and animal health.

All animal health products should be used strictly according to label instructions. Even then, results may vary according to the disease and the stage of the disease at which treatment is applied. The earlier that treatment is administered (during the course of the disease) the better will be the results.

No vaccine can give 100% protection, but the involvement of a veterinarian plus the correct use of registered products with demonstrated effectiveness and safety could only be to the benefit of animals and producers alike.


2. International business environment

View the following websites:


3. Local business environment

The “Sales statistics” option at gives a breakdown of the animal health market in South Africa.


4. For the newcomer


Vaccination is a process where you inject a biological product into an animal. It is a process whereby one exposes an animal to a codified or weakened disease-causing organism. The more antibodies the animal has to fight that particular disease, the less likely it is to become infected. In many cases, an animal should be vaccinated yearly to ensure immunity against specific diseases.

The age at which a young animal is first vaccinated plays an important role in its response to vaccination. This is because the young animal is still getting a measure of immunisation from the mother’s early milk or colostrum. This is passive immunity, but it interferes with the vaccine if given too early.

  • Follow the correct route of application.
  • The cold chain must never be broken (transport to and storage of the vaccine on the farm).
  • Handling of vaccine is one of the major problems of vaccination failure. You have to keep your vaccines at a temperature of 4-8ºC, make sure that you have your sterile needles; you have your sterile cylinders, to avoid transmitting diseases from one animal to another.
  • The effectiveness of vaccines depends on the management of the specific farmer, so if a farmer has qualities of being a good manager and using sustained vaccination programmes those vaccines will be effective.

For further information please contact: Jacob Modumo telephone: 012 522 1518 e-mail: jacob [at] Another contact is Animal Health for Developing Farmers at ARC-OVR (see heading 6). Call 012 529 9158.