More than 300 cattle in Gutu have succumbed to a tick borne disease known as theiloriosis or January disease, the Masvingo provincial veterinary office has said.
Theileriosis refers to diseases caused by theileria, which are very small parasites called protozoa. Different species of theileria cause different diseases in animals, but the two of most concern are corridor disease and turning sickness.
Provincial veterinary officer, Enerst Dzimwasha, revealed that the disease has taken a huge toll on villagers’ cattle in the rural Gutu and so far a total over 300 cattle have been reported to have died in a short space of time.
“We have received reports from Gutu that Theileriosis has killed about 300 cattle in Chatsworth and in some other parts of Gutu. We think the number is bigger than the recorded deaths as some of the death cases are not being reported by farmers to the veterinary department.
“The disease is transmitted by ticks and symptoms of the disease include, depression, weakness and difficulty in breathing for the animal. The affected animal dies within a few days,” said Dzimwasha.
TellZim News learnt that the government is failing to provide dipping chemicals to the veterinary department and Dzimwasha has called on farmers not to wait for the government but to sacrifice and buy their own chemicals to dip their cattle.
Dzimwashe pointed out that the province has about 700 dip tanks and is facing a serious shortage of dipping chemicals in the province.
“It is difficult for the department to control and limit the spread of the disease since there is no longer regular dipping of cattle in the province due to the shortage of the chemicals. During the rainy season cattle are supposed to be dipped regularly so as to break the cycle of ticks,” said Dzimwasha.
It has been learnt that farmers pay a dipping fee of $2 per animal per year but the government is failing to provide the dipping chemical which farmers are paying for.