Warning over Blackleg outbreak

By Liberty Mutamba

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FARMERS in Matabeleland South Province are being urged to be on the lookout for the
blackleg disease which affects cattle in the region every January.
Matabeleland South Provincial Veterinary Service Director, Dr. Enart Mdlongwa, said
blackleg had left farmers counting their losses in recent years and therefore urged them to
vaccinate their livestock ahead of the outbreak.
Farmers in our midst have lost herds of cattle to this disease. The infectious blackleg disease
is caused by bacteria called Clostridium Chauvoei, which is found in our native soil. The
bacteria mainly stratifies limbs and muscles. Heifers are at high risk when it comes to
blackleg.
This disease is easily identified when cattle start to have walking impairments and looking
stressed. We also advise farmers not to stress their livestock like ploughing for a long period
of time and depriving your cattle adequate clean water which strains your animals, said Dr.
Mdlongwa.
On the positive side, he said blackleg was curable and urged farmers to join hands and protect
their livestock.
vaccinate 50 cattle at a go. Farmers
should join hands to purchase this medication, and it is pegged around USD8 in any animal
health shops, which are dotted around. This vaccine protects your animal for the whole year.
When facing challenges, farmers should liaise with their local veterinary services officer,
highlighted Dr. Mdlongwa, while also urging farmers to dip their cattle.

Livestock rearing is the major economic driver in the province, with many households
depending on it.

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