The most common diseases that affect cattle are respiratory disease, bacterial infection and rabies, according to Tractor Supply Company. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, is transmitted through the feed supply, putting people who eat the infected beef at risk of contracting a fatal brain disorder, reports National Geographic.
Diseases that affect cattle can be categorized in terms of the systems they affect and their economic affects, explains The Cattle Site. Diseases in cattle produced for beef and dairy cattle affect the animals' worth. The World Animal Health Organisation requires producers to report incidences of certain highly contagious, possibly devastating diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease and anthrax.