The rainy season is ahead of us and insect-borne diseases such as lumpy skin disease, bluetongue, three-day stiff sickness, Rift Valley fever, Wesselsbron disease and African horse sickness might occur if animals had not been immunised in time.
The informal monthly report on livestock disease trends by veterinarians of the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa advises farmers to discuss control measures with their vets.
Tick-borne diseases such as African and Asiatic red water, heart water and anaplasmosis will also cause huge losses if the correct management programmes are not followed.
Moisture and heat are ideal conditions for internal parasite outbreaks. Discuss with your veterinarian which products to use as well as the five-point check to diagnose internal parasite problems in small stock.
Toxic plants cause huge losses in animals and Dr Neil Fourie enlightens farmers on the eight most common poisonings they may encounter in production animals.
According to Kellerman et al. “there are 600-odd toxic plant species in South Africa alone”. The “Big Eight” are among others: cardiac glycosides (heart toxins), ‘gifblaar’, ‘gousiekte’, lantana, ‘geeldikkop’, ‘vermeersiekte’ and cestrum poisoning.
Every region in Southern Africa has problems specific to that area and some of these syndromes are not listed as the big eight. A farmer in the Ladysmith area lost 30 cattle to Cotula nigellifolia (Matricaria nigellifolia – stagger weed, ‘stootsiekte’-bush). This plant causes a nervous syndrome commonly known as ‘stootsiekte’.
According to Namibiam farmers, blindness in small stock caused by Helichrysum argyrosphaerum (wild everlasting, ‘sewejaartjie’) is a big problem during drought periods.
A practice in the Western Cape reported that sprouting Eucalyptus cladocalyx trees (sugar gum, ‘bloekom’) after they have been cut down, often causes prussic acid (blousuur) poisoning.
Then there are poisonings caused by Dipcadi glaucum (slangkop), kweek, cyanobacteria (blougroen alge), Pteridium aquilinum (adelaarsvaring) and many other lesser syndromes. – RPO newsletter