Currently, the lumpy skin disease is ravaging parts of Buikwe district. But do not lose heart, it’s a disease that can be tamed with proper practices.
Lumpy disease is a viral disease of cattle typically characterised by nodules or lumps on the skin. It usually occurs during the rainy seasons when flies are in abundance but the disease can also occur throughout the year. It presents with skin nodules or ulcers on the skin of the animal. Up to 45 % of your herd can get infected and the mortality (death) rate may reach 10 %.
The disease causes loss of body weight because of unwillingness to eat, loss of milk production, lowered or complete loss of fertility in bulls and cows, abortion as well as permanent damage to skin. There is a loss in income because of lower production, milk and meat, abortions, lowered breeding potential, lowers the value of hides.
How do cattle become infected?
Biting flies play the most important role in spreading the disease. Calves can be infected through suckling milk from a cow, which is infected, just as other animals can also get the disease through the saliva of infected animals when they use the same drinking trough. Infected animals can vary from a few to hundreds of skin nodules. The size ranges from 0.5 to 5cm they occur anywhere on the skin, including the nose, udder and vulva in cows, the scrotum in bulls as well as in the mouth.
Legs become swollen and develop sores pneumonia/coughing, which come as a result of infection of the respiratory tract (the windpipe) and lungs nasal discharge with thick, watery to pussy fluid from the nose eye. Diagnosis can be made by the presence of the typical lesions on the skin and in the mouth.
This can be confirmed by a veterinarian by taking samples of the skin to a laboratory where they can identify the virus. You should feel for the nodules on the skin, or you can wet the hair so that you can see the nodules more easily.
Answered by Dr James Muwanga, a veterinary officer