Lower Gweru (New Ziana) – An unkwon deadly disease is killing cattle in Mankunzane area in the Midlands province, and farmers have called on the veterinary department to move in quickly and stop it from wiping out their draught power ahead of the 2019/2020 agricultural season.
The disease, which broke out last week, has so far killed more than 10 cattle, and more cattle have symptoms of the mysterious disease as they stagger and collapse a few minutes or hours after being infected.
Sikombingo Ward 6 councillor Proud Tshuma, who lost a cattle and has three other sick ones, raised the alarm with the veterinary department on behalf of the community.
“The disease started last week and is killing cattle, especially weaners. We don’t know the name of the disease. What we know is that the cattle just loses balance, staggers and after some few minutes or hours it dies,” he said.
He said farmers in the area had been taken aback as they had vaccinated their cattle for black leg disease between February and May this year.
“As of today (September 2), we have lost 10 cattle. We made a report to the veterinary department attendant here, who in turn told us that he will report to his superiors in Gweru. We are now scared. We fear that we might lose our draught power since the agricultural season is around the corner,” said Tshuma.
“This is the first time to have such a disease in our area. We are, however, encouraging farmers to use Terramycin vaccinates.”
A veterinary services department official, Munyaradzi Chigiji said he was not aware that there was an outbreak of the disease in Lower Gweru, and referred enquiries to the extension officer, Julius Mavairo who suspected that the cattle could have been attacked by the black leg disease.
“It could be black leg disease because some of the farmers did not bring their cattle for vaccination,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tshuma said theft of livestock was also rampant in Mankunzane area, and suspected the thieves were from nearby small scale farms in Vungu.