Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

Diseases of Sheep and Goats in Zimbabwe: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Control Measures.

Sheep and goats are important livestock for many farmers in Zimbabwe, providing meat, milk, and wool. However, like any animal, they are susceptible to a range of diseases. It is important for farmers to be aware of these diseases so they can take measures to prevent them and to seek treatment if their animals become sick.

Below is a table outlining some of the major diseases of sheep and goats found in Zimbabwe, their causal organisms, major vectors, symptoms, treatment, and control measures:

Disease Casual OrganismMajor VectorsSymptomsTreatmentControl
Heart Water Temperature rise, depression, loss of appetiteDouble dose tetracycline if caught earlyTick Control
Bont tick feverIncrease in pulse and respiration, prostration, convulsion, and death
Pulpy Kidney/Clostridium perfringensClostridium perfringensSudden rapid death, red urine, blood in feces, jaundice, gangrenous mastitis in lactating femalesVaccination
Lamb DysenteryMay be red urine, blood in feces, jaundice
Blue TongueSeveral species of virusMidgesHigh temperature, eye and nasal discharge, tongue and lips become inflamed and ulcerated, hooves become affected, abortion in pregnant femalesAntibiotics to treat secondary infectionControl midges, move animals to high ground in rainy season, vaccinate
BotulismClostridium botulinumDepraved appetite, paralysis of muscles, especially legs and jawVaccination on farms where Botulism is known to be present
TetanusClostridium tetaniMuscle stiffness followed by spasm, locking of the jaw, most dieAntibiotics, tranquilizers, and tetanus toxoid vaccineVaccinate in areas where tetanus is known
Gas gangreneClostridium chauvoeiSevere lameness with gas crepitation under the skin, sudden deathVaccination in prevalent areas
AnthraxBacillis anthracisSpores in soil and environmentSudden death, temp increase, muscle tremors, convulsions, deathVaccination
Lumpy Wool (Senkobo/Dermatophilosis)Dermatophilis congolensis (fungus)Environment, possibly bont tick (amblyomma variegatum)Lesions on the skin, hard thickened crusts, wool, and hide damage, lambs and young animals may dieBroad-spectrum antibiotics, healing oils on wounds, copper sulfate, and zinc spraysTick control, culling severe cases, ensuring sheep/goats do not get shearing wounds

As seen in the table, tick control is an important measure for preventing the spread of diseases such as heart water and bont tick fever. Vaccination is also an effective measure for preventing many of these diseases, including Pulpy Kidney, Blue Tongue, Botulism, Tetanus, Gas gangrene, and Anthrax.

It is important for farmers to monitor their animals for signs of illness and seek veterinary care if necessary. They can also take measures to prevent the spread of diseases, such as ensuring good hygiene and sanitation practices and controlling vectors such as ticks and midges.

In summary, sheep and goats in Zimbabwe are susceptible to a range of diseases that can have serious consequences for both animal health and the livelihoods of farmers.

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