The Scottish government announced on Thursday that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, had been discovered on a farm in Aberdeenshire.
Precautionary movement restrictions have been put in place at the unnamed farm, the government said.
Investigations are now underway to identify the origin of the disease.
"I have activated the Scottish government's response plan to protect our valuable farming industry, including establishing a precautionary movement ban being placed on the farm," Fergus Ewing, Scotland's farming minister, said in a statement.
The government's chief veterinary officer, Sheila Voas, tweeted that she was "sad to have confirmed" the case of BSE, but said a "good surveillance system is proved to work well."
"Disappointing news, but not unexpected to have occasional sporadic cases, and no effect on food safety," she wrote.
She added that the farmer and their household had "been advised, are co-operating fully & importantly being supported to deal with [the] situation."
Simon Doherty, president of the British Veterinary Association, tweeted his support to the Scottish government.
BSE was first detected in Britain in the late 1980s, spreading from there to other parts of Europe and ravaging cattle herds until the early 2000s. It has been linked to the brain-wasting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.