Dipping will be enforced this rainy season as the Veterinary Service Department mobilises farmers to intensify dipping cattle to fight January disease and other tick-borne diseases.
The department will be enforcing the Cattle Cleansing Regulations of 1993, which make dipping of cattle mandatory with those standing aside facing prosecution as they are risking not only their own cattle but those of their neighbours and community as infected ticks move to nearby cattle, even if those are dipped.
Recently the Government declared a national war against January disease following an upsurge in cases and deaths.
In a notice the department told all farmers that dipping of cattle is mandatory by law and wants cattle dipped at least once a week to control ticks and tick-borne diseases.
“The rains are now upon us. Most parts of the country are receiving good rains to support cropping and pastures. The good rains however, bring with them an increased activity of ticks and resulting tick-borne diseases such as the notorious January disease. In the past, the country has lost thousands of cattle due to January disease and other tick-borne diseases.
“Cattle dipping remains the single most effective control measure against all ticks and tick-borne disease. By operation of the law, anyone who does not dip their cattle, or whose cattle are tick infested, can be prosecuted,” said the department.
The department also said dipping should be repeated when the animals are rained on within 24 hours of dipping. Cattle should be inspected for ticks two to three days after dipping especially inside the ears, under the tail, on the udder and the tail brush.
Farmers are advised to apply tick grease on these tick feeding sites between dipping sessions.
Farmers are urged to inspect their cattle twice a day, in the mornings and evenings for any signs of illness such as depression, weakness, off feed and lagging behind and report immediately to the nearest veterinary office when they suspect the cattle might be ill.
Early reporting improves treatment success rates and prevention is better than cure as treatment outcomes are not always successful.
Acting Deputy Director of Veterinary Field Services Dr Reverend Spargo said dipping is the major critical component of protecting livestock from tick borne diseases adding that vaccination and tick grease are only complementary measures.
He emphasised dipping intervals of 5-5-4 in areas where January disease is prevalent.
Dipping is a critical measure in eliminating tick borne disease. The rainy season has always been associated with increased tick activity and an upsurge of tick-borne disease. This has been a problem resulting in almost 500 000 cattle succumbing to the disease since 2017. We encourage farmers to dip cattle regularly,’’ he said.
Dr Spargo stressed that farmers must get permits when moving livestock from one place to another.
While dipping works with tick-borne diseases, there are other diseases. Vaccines against a range of cattle diseases were now available and farmers should buy from reputable sources so farmers should vaccinate against vector-borne and soil borne diseases to prevent major outbreaks during the rainy season.
Vector-borne diseases include diseases like lumpy skin disease and three-day stiff-sickness which are prevalent in the rainy season due to abundance of the biting flies or insects. The soil-borne diseases such as anthrax and blackleg are also prevalent this time of the year. The Herald