Traditional and modern veterinary care for the dromedary

Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Paul Mundy and Evelyn Mathias, 2001

The one-humped camel, or dromedary, is one of the world’s hardiest domesticated animals. A vital source of transport, meat, milk and income for pastoralists in the Sahel, East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, the camel can carry heavy loads for days in some of the world’s most hostile conditions. But even camels fall ill.

A Field Manual of Camel Diseases is the first practical guide to camel diseases designed for use in low technology environments. The manual details some 80 major camel diseases and conditions, ranging from abortions to wry neck syndrome. For each disease, the authors give the disease signs, its causes, and simple prevention and treatment methods. Both scientific and tried and tested traditional treatments are presented, thus enabling the veterinarian or livestock practitioner to make the most appropriate choice in the prevailing circumstances. A section on procedures explains how to examine a camel, take samples for laboratory analysis and apply various types of medicines.

  • Written in straightforward language, avoiding scientific terminology wherever possible.
  • Technical vocabulary is explained in a comprehensive glossary.
  • Organised by the symptom or sign of the disease and the part of the body most affected to help rapid identification.
  • Local and scientific names of diseases and plants are given, enabling enhanced communication and understanding between pastoralist and veterinarian.
  • A list of common medicines and their dosages acts as an aide-memoire.
  • Illustrated throughout by artists familiar with camels to show clearly the diseases and how to treat them.


Front matter

  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents
  • Contributors
  • Introduction

Managing and treating camels

  • Traditional management systems
  • How to keep camels healthy
  • Common diseases
  • How to examine a camel
  • Diagnosing and treating diseases
  • Parts of a camel
  • Estimating a camel’s weight and age
  • Equipment and medicines
  • Using the right amount of medicine
  • Administering medicines
  • Restraining
  • Sedation and anaesthesia
  • Surgery
  • How to collect samples for testing
  • Checking for diseases in the laboratory
  • Using medicines and pesticides
  • Traditional medicines
  • Branding
  • Selecting camels
  • Diseases that people can catch from camels

Skin problems

  • Mange
  • Contagious skin necrosis
  • Ringworm
  • Pox
  • Orf
  • Ticks
  • Dermatophilosis
  • Bites and stings
  • Wounds and burns
  • Skin abscesses
  • Abscesses on the lymph nodes
  • Saddle sores
  • Chest-pad abscess
  • Dermoids

Problems of the head and neck

  • Eye problems
  • Ear infection
  • Torn nostrils
  • Blisters in the mouth
  • Injured dulaa
  • Teeth problems
  • Broken jaw
  • Wry neck
  • Goitre

Problems of the legs, feet and tail

  • Broken bones
  • Arthritis
  • Stringhalt
  • Myopathy
  • Chest sprain
  • Foot problems
  • Tail gangrene

Problems of the nose and lungs

  • Coughs, colds and pneumonia
  • Leeches
  • Nasal bots
  • Lungworms
  • Hydatid disease

Problems of the stomach and intestines

  • Internal parasites (worms)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Haemorrhagic enteritis
  • Constipation
  • Blocked intestines
  • Swallowed objects
  • Bloat
  • Indigestion

Infectious diseases

  • Trypanosomiasis
  • Haemorrhagic septicaemia
  • Swollen glands, khanid
  • Haemorrhagic disease
  • Anthrax
  • Blackquarter
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies
  • Rift Valley fever

Non-infectious diseases

  • Red urine
  • Sunstroke
  • Plant poisoning
  • Snake bite
  • Allergy
  • Pica
  • Downer
  • Dry coat
  • Dipetalonemiasis
  • Oedema


  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Difficult birth
  • Retained afterbirth
  • Prolapse of the womb
  • Poor mothering and fostering
  • Mastitis
  • Female sterility
  • Abortion
  • Rutting
  • Breeding-bull problems
  • Castration


  • Care of newborn calves
  • Navel ill
  • Calf diarrhoea
  • Colibaccilosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Saam


  • Medicinal plants
  • Common medicines
  • Units of measurement
  • Participant profiles
  • Resource organizations
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index


  • “I wanted to thank you for… such a valuable book. I have already [used] it quite a bit to help with questions posed to me thru”
    — Becky R. Izen, Webmaster,
  • Care for your camels
    Did you know that the camel is the most efficient domesticated animal for converting fodder into work, transport, milk and meat?

    Veterinary services are rare in camel-herding areas (which include the Sahel and East Africa), warn the authors of this practical guide to caring for the single-humped camel, the dromedary. The manual is not intended to replace such services, but to ease communication and cooperation between the pastoralist, the vet and other specialists, in part by preventive care and early diagnosis. Ninety ailments are described, according to symptom and the affected part of the body, in a clear and concise style, making much use of common, local and scientific terms.

    The basis of the book is an intensive ‘Write-In’ session of twenty practitioners from Africa, and West and South Asia who came together at a writing workshop in 1997, to pool and produce texts and drawings. Their knowledge will radiate far with this splendid guide.
    Spore 95,

Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Paul Mundy and Evelyn Mathias. 2001. A field manual of camel diseases: Traditional and modern veterinary care for the dromedary. Published by ITDG Publishing and the League for Pastoral Peoples. 246 x 177 mm, 254 pages. ISBN: 185339503X.

Price: GB pounds 12.95 or US$ 22.50 + postage.


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