Itis very simple, The immune system keeps the animal healthy.
Allanimals and people have immune systems.
Thejob of the immune system is to fight germs that invade the animal andcould cause it to get sick.
Theimmune system is like the animal’s own army, ready at all times tofight invaders that put the animal’s life at risk.
Theimmune system is found everywhere in the animal’s body. It is madeup of millions of little cells that are too small for people to seewith their eyes.
Whengerms enter the animal’s body, these immune cells come from allover to attack the germs.
Ifthe cells win the battle, the animal stays healthy. If they lose thebattle, the animal may get sick and need treatment. The cells areproduced in the bone marrow and then spread around the body in theblood.
The immune system can recognize diseases if it has fought these diseases before.
With some diseases, like contagious abortion (CA), this recognition lasts the animal’s whole life. With other diseases, however, the immune system can recognize the disease when it is present often but stops being able to recognize it when the animal hasn’t had it for a long time. Common diseases of this kind are those that ticks cause.
Thisis one reason why animals often get sick in early summer when thereare a lot of ticks after there have been so few in winter. Once theanimal’s immune system is used to the ticks again, then the animalcan often fight the tick diseases.
Livestock owners who come from areas where the disease heart water occurs must be very careful about buying animals from other areas, because if they come from areas that do not have heart water, the animals immune systems will not recognize the disease and cannot protect them and they will get sick and may even die.
It is also important to know that, like an army, the immune system is divided into different sections, each one of which has its own germs to fight.
For example, one section fights red water but it cannot fight heart water. Only the heart water section of the immune system can fight heart water.
Thismeans that just because the immune system can recognise one diseasedoes not mean it can recognise all diseases.
Oneway of getting an animal to have contact with a weakened form of thedisease without killing the animal is vaccination. Some vaccinationsmust be given every year while others need only be given once in ananimal’s life.
Another way for the animal to develop its immune system is through the infant animal being born with some of its mother’s immune cells.
Infant livestock also develop stronger immune systems if they suckle their mothers very soon after birth to drink the first milk called colostrum, which is filled with the mother’s immune cells (antibodies).
Animals that do not spend too much of their energy on getting warm or staying cool are more able to recover from disease.
It is therefore wise to provide sick animals with shade and shelter from wind and rain to keep the animal warm and comfortable.