By Kudakwashe Runyowa
Due to the excessive rains that the country has received this season, there is a lot of vegetation in the grazing lands and as a result, ticks are rife.
Most diseases that affect cattle are transmitted by ticks and these are called tick-borne diseases and famers are advised to dip their cattle regularly.
In most areas, the weekly dipping routine in the community dip tanks have been abandoned because of lack of chemicals and hence, a number of farmers are resorting to the use of knap sack sprays for tick control.
The most common diseases affecting cattle is Theileria and is commonly known as January disease. More than 500 cattle have been reported dead in the province by the Veterinary Department in Masvingo and a number are not recorded.
It is also known as bovine anaemia and its signs are associated with lack of appetite, weak and lag behind others, and if forced to move they stagger and gasp for breath and yellow gums.
The most common treatment is the Oxytetracycline family medicine which includes Butachem, Hitet, Limoxin, Alamycin and Teramycin.
Bovine Babesiosis commonly known as Red Water is another common tick-borne disease in cattle. It is mostly noticeable after seven to 14 days after infection.
Its symptoms are fever, anaemia, light to dark brown or red urine, poor appetite, weakness, dry nose, diarrhoea, dull coat and abortion.
As a tick-borne disease, it is the best preventive measure is tick control through spraying and dipping or using tick grease as well as avoiding tick-infested grazing areas during an outbreak
Imizol Satchetsa and Imochem 120 can be used for treatment of affected cattle.
Another disease is Foot Rot which is caused by a bacterium and occurs in all ages of cattle and most incidences are during wet, humid conditions and in some cases it is caused by hard ground or walking on stones.
Foot rot is prevented by minimizing exposure to sharp plant stubbles and hard gravel and minimizing the time animals spend in wet areas. Cattle pens should be well-drained and effected animals should be kept in dry areas until healed.
Kudakwashe G. Runyowa is a Branch Extension Officer at Fivet Masvingo Branch
He is a holder of BSC Hon in Agriculture (Livestock, Wildlife and Fisheries
He can be contacted on 0776047692 or visit him at Fivet Masvingo