Cattle disease outbreak feared

cattleBULAWAYO - There are fears that cattle deaths might increase in some parts of Matabeleland South due to cases of heart water, a septicemic infectious disease, an official has revealed. (Pictured: Cattle in Matebeleland South are at risk of contracting heart water.)

The Provincial Veterinary Officer for Matabeleland South, Dr Msongelwa Mangena, said there were several cases of heart water in parts of Matabeleland South. “We have done our investigations and tests and realised that cattle are dying due to this disease. We took a sample and discovered that a total of about 40 beasts had died due to this disease,” said Mangena.

He said heart water was prevalent in the region because of the increase in infected ticks. “Heart water affects cattle, sheep and goats and occurs mainly in the Southern Lowveld areas, which covers Beitbridge, Mwenezi, Gwanda, Kezi and Plumtree. Heart water occurs all year but predominantly during the rainy season due to the increased population of ticks,” he said.

Dr Mangena said the disease was dangerous as it was prevalent mostly in young animals as old as six months to three years. “Mostly affected animals are usually young stock. This on it’s on is catastrophic to farmers because it means if they lose young animals they will remain with old and less energetic for their draught power. The disease is caused by protozoan parasites transmitted through the bite of an infected tick,” he said.

The most noticeable signs of heart water are loss of appetite, depression and laboured breathing.

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