What is lumpy disease?
Lumpy skin disease is a viral disease of cattle characterised by nodules or lumps on the skin.
It usually occurs during the rainy season when flies are many, but the disease can also occur any other time of the year.
When such a disease attacks cattle, medical help should be sought immediately.
It presents with 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 diseases causes loss of body weight, loss of milk production, lowered or complete loss of fertility in cattle, pre-mature births and permanent damage to skin.
How do cattle become infected?
During the rainy season biting flies spread the disease.
Calves can be infected by drinking milk from a cow which is infected just as other animals can also get infected by sharing drinking troughs.
The affected animals’ skin, as well as the nose, udder and vulva in cows, the scrotum in bulls and the mouth and legs become swollen. They also develop sores, pneumonia, which come as a result of infection of the respiratory tract.
They have a thick discharge from the eyes and nose which contain pus.
How the disease can be diagnosed?
Symptoms like lesions on the skin and mouth may affirm the infection. This can be confirmed by taking samples of the skin to a laboratory to 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.
There is no specific treatment available for lumpy skin disease. Sick animals may be separated from the healthy ones and given treatment like dressing the wounds to prevent other infections.
Antibiotics may be given for skin infections where insecticides have been used and no improvement is seen in the infected cattle.
Vaccination of calves and re-vaccination programmes over a period of two to three years will greatly reduce the spread of the disease.