Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
THE Veterinary Department in Matabeleland South Province has vaccinated about 80 000 cattle in the province against anthrax which is usually recorded when there is a drought.
In an interview, Matabeleland South provincial veterinary officer, Dr Enat Mdlongwa, said they had targeted to vaccinate 76 000 cattle.
“We have some farms or dip tanks that we classify as traditional anthrax areas.
We have vaccinated about 80 000 animals against anthrax from these areas.
Anthrax is one of the diseases that in Matabeleland South Province we normally detect during a drought situation and this is because of one scientific reason that animals will be grazing right up to the ground and they will be picking the anthrax spore from the ground,” he said.
“Animals will also be getting their water from very low dam levels during the drought period. For that reason we have vaccinated our animals against anthrax.”
Dr Mdlongwa said the province had recently recorded an increase in cases of dog bites particularly in Beitbridge and Matobo Districts. He said the cause of the increase was yet to be ascertained.
He said they were conducting a vaccination programme for dogs in the two districts for free in a bid to contain cases of rabies. Dr Mdlongwa urged farmers to send their animals for vaccination.
“Maybe farmers are not properly feeding their pets because of drought but there has been an increase in cases of dog bites in Beitbridge and Matobo Districts.
Almost every week we have been getting about two cases of people being bitten by dogs in the two districts. For us the figures are too high and that is why we are carrying out this campaign,” he said.
“We have an ongoing vaccination campaign in the two districts which is for free and farmers are urged to take their dogs for vaccination.
The Rabies Act of 1978 states that a dog has to be vaccinated at three months, nine months, 12 months and then it has to vaccinated every three years so that it does not succumb to the disease.
Farmers are urged to adhere to these regulations in order to protect their dogs against rabies.”
Dr Mdlongwa said in Beitbridge they had a target of vaccinating 3 000 dogs during this exercise while in Matobo they had a target of 2 000.
Speaking on the state of livestock in the province, Dr Mdlongwa said there was a need for farmers to take up cattle ranching as a business.
He said farmers from the province were now forced to sell their animals at a low price because of the prevailing drought.
“We encourage farmers to plan, think ahead and be on top of the situation.
They need to run their cattle ranching as a business.
When drought is imminent farmers need to destock at the right time and then get value for their animals than what is currently happening in the markets where the prices of animals have gone down and everyone wants to offload to avert drought but this is not the opportune time to sell and as a result farmers are losing,” Dr Mdlongwa said.—@DubeMatutu