Neem In Veterinary Practice

Traditional Use

It is a common practice to apply neem oil alone or along with cedar wood oil externally to cattle, for any type of skin disease of any pathogenicity and even on wounds. Sometimes the animal is also made to drink the oil. It is said that neem oil aids in healing the skin, and thus gives relief to infestation. While grazing in marshy areas, the hooves of cattle often get septic. In this case, the hoof is washed with a decoction of neem and dressed with neem oil; 20–30 ml of neem oil is administered daily.

The above use of neem oil has been found useful by modern veterinarians also, and experiments have been conducted with neem oil or its compound preparations.

For Skin Diseases

Vijayan et al. () prepared Oil Bordeaux from copper sulfate, quick lime and neem oil. It was administered in doses of 4 ml by intramammary infusion for 7 days. Most of the cases of mastitis recovered. Neem oil was also tried in calves, experimentally infected with the protozoa Theileria annulata (). Antimicrobial activity was observed in a veterinary herbal antiseptic cream containing neem (). Neem oil was found effective in healing wounds in calves () and in camels (). In camels the healing process was evaluated by clinical observation, percent healing, histopathological and histochemical examination and biochemical analysis of the biopsy of specimens. The dressing material containing neem enhanced tissue repair. Anil Kumar et al. () studied similar tissue-repairing activity in buffaloes.

Neem preparations have been found effective for various ectoparasitic insects. In demcodectic mange of dogs, caused by a mite, a lotion with neem soap gave very good results (). A compound herbal preparation containing Cedrus deodara, Azadirachta indica, and Embelia ribes was tried against common poultry lice, Mennopon gallinae and Liperus caponis. This preparation caused 100 percent mortality of lice (). Another commercial preparation with the same herbal ingredients controlled canine dermatitis caused by Demodex canis and Sarcoptes spp. Hair appeared after 24–28 days and there were no symptoms of toxicity (). It was also effective in canine demodecosis in dogs with severe cutaneous lesions around the ear, neck and head, skin encrustation and pruritus due to D. canis (). In sarcoptic mange of goat, when the same preparation was sprayed, no mites (Sarcoptes scabiei var. caprae) could be found (). Adverse effects of neem preparations were observed on ticks ().

For non-conventional treatments, Heath et al. () applied azadirachtin to a biting louse (Bovicola ovis) on sheep. Azadirachtin was found quite effective as compared to the other synthetic compounds. The treatment was cost-effective in reducing louse members on the sheep for at least 40–50 days. The lack of persistence as compared with conventional insecticides was the only apparent drawback.

As A Contraceptive

One of the important potential uses of neem oil is its contraceptive effect. It is a spermicidal (), antifertility agent and abortifacient, but could not be used in human populations because of its side effects; however, this oil can be of immense use in sterilizing stray animals by mixing in a bait for common domestic pests, rats, mice, etc. By using neem treatment we can get rid of unwanted mammals without cruelty.


Selections from the book: “Neem: The Divine Tree Azadirachta indica”. Edited by H.S.Puri. Series “Medicinal and aromatic plants – industrial profiles”. 1999.