BAHA says livestock are being affected by blackleg also
There’s also another concern for livestock producers: blackleg. The authority says that there has been a steady increase in animals dying from the disease. Blackleg is a highly fatal disease of cattle and sheep affecting mainly young animals. It is caused by the bacteria Clostridium chauvoei (show-voe-ee) which is found naturally in the soil. We asked Dr. Andre DePaz if this is something that the country can do away with permanently.
Dr.Andre DePaz, Veterinarian, Belize Livestock Producers Association: “This is a bacteria, it’s always present in the soil right ? So last year me personally as the BLPA veterinarian I responded to twenty one different cases of farmers throughout the country when they have problems of mortality or morbidity they would call me and I will reach out to the farm and assist and last year I saw twenty cases of Black Leg. These were presumptive diagnosis, I diagnosed these through the clinical signs and this year they have reported to me already and I have through the presumptive diagnosis at least confirmed four Black Leg cases already for this year. So we urge farmers to vaccinate for this since it’s a bacteria, it’s in the soil, the spores are in the soil and it usually affects young animals younger than two years. So if they’re not vaccinated and they graze close to the ground that’s when they’re exposed and this bacteria can live for many months and years in the soil even when they ingest it the contaminated feed or grass when they’re grazing it can stay in the gastrointestinal tract, it can be in the liver, it can be in the spleen for some time without affecting the animal and it just waits for that time to take advantage of the animal especially of the animal is not vaccinated.”
The main symptoms of blackleg include swelling in large muscles that feel like bubble wrap, bleeding from the nose, lameness, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, depression and high fever. The animal usually dies within 12 to 48 hours thus farmers usually find the animals already dead without seeing the signs of illness. The occurrence is very likely after heavy rainfall, disturbance of the soil – usually through ploughing or harrowing and the onset of the dry season.