By Dalila Ical: An advisory issued by the Belize Agriculture and Health Authority (BAHA) “strongly recommends” cattle producers to vaccinate their animals for Rabies and Blackleg as the industry faces a “disease crisis” nationwide.
Farmers are asked to immediately vaccinate their cattle against Rabies if they have not been vaccinated in the last year and against Blackleg if they have not done so in the last six months.
Both diseases are described as fatal to cattle but preventable through vaccination. Animals infected with Rabies “usually show nervous signs and aggressive behaviour. Most animals will show excessive salivation as swallowing becomes impossible,” the advisory informs. Farmers are also advised to avoid contact with infected and to immediately call BAHA Officers.
As for Blackleg BAHA explains that it is “caused by the spore forming, rod shaped, gas producing bacteria Clostridium chauvoei” and animals are usually found dead without having shown any signs of illness.
Symptoms in cattle include lameness, loss of appetite, rapid breathing and the animal is usually depressed and high fever. Symptoms get worse and the infected animal dies within 12 to 48 hours. The recommended vaccine is the 7-way type available at most farm supply stores.
Additional information can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture, BAHA offices, the Belize Livestock Producers Association and Registered Veterinarians across the country.
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