Bluetongue Disease in Sheep and Goats

Bluetongue Disease in Sheep and Goats:

About this disease

  • This is acute infectious but not contagious disease of sheep characterized by fever, inflammation and ulceration of buccal mucosa and tongue.
  • This disease mostly affects sheep and goat and cattle are very rarely affected.
  • Blue tongue is endemic in India.
  • It is basically a disease of sheep and young sheep within the age group of one year are more prone to infection.
  • Suckling lambs are relatively resistant due to their acquired passive immunity through colostrum.
  • The disease occurs mainly during the rainy season particularly in the months of October, November and December.

What Causes Bluetongue  Disease?

  • It is caused by Arthropod-borne orbi virus in the family of Reoviridae.
  • Biting insect of the genus of the Culicoides transmits the virus during the rainy season while blood sucking.
  • Mosquitoes and other ectoparasites like sheep ked, Melophagus ovinusmay transmit the disease mechanically.
  • The disease is more prevalent in late summer and early autumn which makes conducive environment for the multiplication of the vectors.
  • Transmission through semen and placental route is possible.
  • The virus is resistant to decomposition, desiccation and against antiseptic agents.

What are the symptoms of BT ?

  • Fever
  • Depressed attitude and off feed.
  • Reddening and swelling of nose and oral mucosa,
  • Profuse nasal and oral discharge,
  • Inflammation and ulceration of lips, gums,  buccal mucosa and tongue,
  • Cyanotic (bluish) appearance of tongue,
  • Tilting of neck towards one side (wry neck)
  • Lameness, reddening and swelling of coronary band of the limbs.
  • Congestion of conjunctival mucous membranes and matting of eyelids,
  • Foul smelling diarrhoea.
  • Dyspnoea, snoring and Pneumonia may be observed.
  • Death due to respiratory failure.

First aid for Bluetongue  Disease in Sheep and Goats:-

  • Separation of sick animals should be made.
  • Affected animals should be kept away from solar exposure.
  • Adequate rest to the affected animal.
  • Affected animals should be fed with porridge made of rice, ragi and kambu.
  • Apply glycerin or animal fat on the ulcers.
  • Immediate consultation should be made to the nearest qualified veterinary doctor for treatment.
  • Animals should not be allowed for grazing.
  • Ulcers in the mouth can be treated with saline water or dissolve 1g of

Potassium permanganate in 1 liter of water and wash the mouth 2 to 3 times a day with this solution.

  • Contact your nearest Veterinary Assistant Surgeons for further advice regarding the antibiotic administration or symptomatic treatment to be given to the affected sheep.
  • Contact nearest Veterinary Assistant Surgeons for ring vaccination in the event of outbreak of disease.

General prevention and control measures

  • Proper Vaccination of animals with regular intervals.
  • Vaccination schedule:

First  vaccination at

Next vaccination at

Month of vaccination


3 months of age

Once in a year



  • Attempt should be made to control the vector (culicoides) population with fly repellants.
  • Use of ectoparasiticides injections should be suggested in the areas more prone to vector population.
  • Grazing of the animals should be avoided in areas where there is lot of vectors.
  • Cattle may act as carrier. Viraemic stage remains in them for more than 5 weeks. So movements of cattle should be restricted.
  • Importation of animals from the areas prevailing the disease should be avoided.
  • Strict regulation is to be followed to prevent entry of diseased animals from endemic zones.
  • The spread of the disease can be controlled by the use of insect repellents, external application of fly repellents and spraying of butox (1ml in 1 liter of water) in the breeding places of the insects.
  • The sheep can be housed in insect proof sheds.
  • Cloud of smoke with dried leaves / wood during 6 – 8 P.M. might help to keep off Culicoides from sheep sheds.

Courtesy By Tamil Nadu Agricultural University @

bluetongue disease in sheep
bluetongue in sheep
bluetounge in goat
bluetounge in goat


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