THE Veterinary Services Department has advised farmers to vaccinate their livestock on time to avoid losses related to disease outbreak linked to heavy rains

Bulawayo Bureau

THE Veterinary Services Department has advised farmers to vaccinate their livestock on time to avoid losses related to disease outbreak linked to heavy rains, which are pounding most parts of the country.

The development comes as farmers in the Midlands province are worried after 55 cattle died in the past week alone due to different diseases.

While good rains are good for pastures and water, veterinary experts say this breeds more insect-related diseases such as Lumpy skin Disease (LSD), Ephemeral Fever and Footrot.

Midlands provincial veterinary officer, Dr Martin Sibanda, said the fears were that a lot of cattle could have been affected and died of these diseases as villagers were not always reporting cases.

“Please note that these are reported cases. The real figures could be higher than that.  And these are weekly figures. Over 55 cattle died in the past week to different diseases affecting their cattle mainly due to the heavy rains that have been pounding the province and the country at large,” he said.

Dr Sibanda said 98 ephemeral fever cases were recorded but zero deaths while Footrot had 167 cases reported and zero deaths. 

Lumpy Skin saw 150 cases recorded and zero deaths with Heart water recording cases and zero deaths. Sweating sickness cases recorded three cases and one death while 57 cattle died from 131 recorded cases of Theileriosis.

Dr Sibanda said the diseases were spread across the eight districts, which are Gweru, Shurugwi, Mvuma, Kwekwe, Zvishavane, Mberengwa, Gokwe North and South. He said affected animals may be given antibiotics to protect them from secondary bacterial infection.

Dr Sibanda urged farmers to vaccinate their animals against the disease during the dry season so that come rain season they are already protected.

“Even now, they can go to their nearest veterinary shops for treatments. As a department, we only assist farmers with vaccinations when there is an outbreak of anthrax and foot and mouth. 

Other diseases, farmers have to look for the treatment,” he said.

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