For many families, the animals they keep often act as their bank, providing them with a source of income for use in emergencies or for special occasions such as weddings and funerals. The loss of an animal through disease is therefore a real blow. If healthcare for people is often not adequate, it is certainly true that in many countries healthcare for livestock may be completely lacking. In this issue we therefore look at ways of improving animal health, through the training of paravets, through mapping the distribution of diseases, through an understanding of some of the many herbal treatments available, and through sharing the skills of drenching and treating animals for parasites. Though the emphasis in the articles is on rural livestock farmers, the techniques could all be used in urban areas where, although livestock officers may be available, many families would be unable to afford their services.