Sukulwenkosi Dube- Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
THE Veterinary Department in Matabeleland South Province has called on farmers to either vaccinate or dip their animals so that they do not contract tick borne diseases which are prevalent during the rainy season.
Matabeleland South provincial veterinary officer, Dr Enat Mdlongwa, said tick borne diseases had so far killed about 25 cattle in Fairview Village in Figtree in the past two weeks.
He said the most common method of controlling the diseases was by dipping while some farmers vaccinated the cattle.
“During this time of the year we record cases of tick borne diseases which result in the loss of a lot of cattle. We normally ask people to properly dip their cattle every week as this is the most common method while some famers choose to vaccinate their cattle.
“The challenge that we have is that people don’t bring all their cattle for dipping while some miss dipping sessions and as a result their animals become infected. We recently recorded about 25 deaths in Fairview area in Bulilima District,” he said.
Dr Mdlongwa said his department had also initiated a vaccination programme against rabies which has been rolled out in various districts in the province.
He urged farmers to respond to this vaccination programme in order to protect their animals.
In an interview, Bulilima East legislator, Cde Mathias Siqhoza Ndlovu, said farmers in Fairview area in Figtree Ward were also affected by jackals attacking their livestock. He said farmers were now living in fear of a rabies outbreak in their area.
Cde Ndlovu said while vaccinations were available, most small scale and communal farmers could not afford them.
He said a bottle of vaccine for 10 cattle costs $19. He said if a person ate a rabies infected animal they were supposed to be given three doses with each dose valued at $60.
“We are grateful for this rabies vaccination programme that is being rolled out as it has been long awaited. We recently recorded a case of rabies and one beast was confirmed to have died from the disease after it was attacked by a jackal.
“A few farmers vaccinated their animals after the incident but most communal and small scale farmers failed as they could not afford the price of vaccines as it’s beyond their reach. It’s very important for cattle in this area to be vaccinated against rabies as jackals are problematic in this area thereby posing a threat to cattle,” said Cde Ndlovu.