Animals in Sweden
Swedish Red and Swedish Holstein are the most common dairy cattle breeds in Sweden. Photo: Bengt Ekberg/SVA
In 2016, Sweden had about 1,5 million cattle, of which 330 000 were dairy cows. The number of dairy cows has decreased over time, while the herd size has increased markedly. The number of meat-producing cows has also decreased somewhat, but the herd size is fairly stable.
Swedish cattle are, in an international comparison, very healthy, and the use of antimicrobials is low. Many diseases that are present in other countries occur only sporadically or are absent. Efficient control and surveillance programs have resulted in freedom from diseases like tuberculosis, brucellosis, and paratuberculosis, as well as freedom from infections like bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVDV), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) virus and bovine leucosis virus (BLV). The prevalence of salmonellosis is also very low.
However, as the herd size has increased markedly in dairy herds the risk for spread of endemic infectious diseases has increased. Mastitis, udder inflammation, remains the most common illness in dairy cows, while diarrhea and respiratory diseases are most common among dairy calves.