The Sunday News
THE outbreak of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) in various districts of Matabeleland region has at least taught me one thing which forms the inspiration of this week’s discussion.
It is very easy to assume that some concepts are basic and understood by many when in fact a lot of people do not understand them. I get a lot of calls and messages from desperate livestock farmers whose animals have been attacked by the LSD.
Common among all of these calls and messages is the wrongful assumption that LSD can be treated with penicillin. My observation is that those that refer farmers to get penicillin to inject animals that have been attacked by LSD do not give adequate information and leave it to farmers to assume that penicillin cures LSD.
The correct position which I wish to share on this platform is that LSD is one of the many livestock diseases that are incurable.
In other words, there is no drug to treat LSD in your cattle. However, it is correct practice to give the affected animals a jab of penicillin-based drugs. Penicillin will help your animal to fight off secondary infections that may come as a result of your animal suffering from LSD.
The secondary infections make it difficult for the body of your animal to fight and win the battle against LSD. Secondary infections will increase chances of your animal dying from LSD as the animal gets burdened to fight off a plethora of infections at the same time.
LSD can not be treated by any drug but it can be prevented through vaccination. This means you have to vaccinate your animals against the disease. Vaccination in simple terms means you are preparing the body of your animal so that it gets to recognise the disease and fight it off when it occurs.
In that state we say your animals are now immune to the disease because their bodies are able to fight off the pathogens that cause the disease and prevent your animals from falling sick. You therefore, do not vaccinate an already sick animal but the health ones. It is pointless to run around looking for an LSD vaccine to give to already sick animals. For the sick animals you then give them the penicillin jab, not to treat LSD but prevent secondary infections! I have said it before in our previous discussions that it is a very sound business decision to vaccinate your animals from all those diseases that are a problem in your area.
It could be Black quarter, Botulism or LSD. While it may appear like the vaccine is expensive, if you crunch the numbers you will see that it’s actually cheaper. A twenty dose vaccine costs US$40 which means vaccinating your 20 animals against LSD will cost you US$40. Further broken down it means one animal costs US$2 to vaccinate. By any standard of rationalisation, this is a worthy investment in preventing loss of a US$600 animal!
The cost per animal decreases with the increase in number of animals. Meaning buying a 100- dose vaccine for those farmers with larger herds, will turn out cheaper as the cost per animal decreases.
Again, as a way of emphasis we do not vaccinate already sick animals but healthy ones and this applies to all diseases that need to be vaccinated against such as Black quarter, Foot and Mouth, Anthrax and others. A penicillin injection is administered not as treatment for such diseases but to prevent secondary infections. Secondary infection refers to other diseases or ailments that may afflict the same sick animal making its fight against the disease and recovery almost impossible.
Uyabonga umntakaMaKhumalo. Feedback [email protected]/cell 0772851275