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    Salt & ash act as homemade remedy to foot and mouth disease

    3 foot mouth disease fmd salivation vesicles 1

    By George Munene

    Foot-and-mouth dis­ease (FMD) is a viral dis­ease en­demic to Kenya that causes the second most eco­nomic losses to pas­tor­al­ists among in­fec­tious live­stock dis­eases. The dis­ease which af­fects ru­min­ants with cloven/di­vided hooves; cattle, sheep, goats and pigs; can however be ameli­or­ated in cattle by use of read­ily avail­able salt and ash.

    Ac­cord­ing to Ful­gence Mwarongo, the Voi Sub-County Vetereni­ary of­ficer, through the use of a sa­line solu­tion and spread­ing of ash at the entry of and on the floor of a cow­shed, farm­ers are find­ing home-based solu­tions to deal­ing with the deadly foot-and-mouth dis­ease. ”FMD is usu­ally char­ac­ter­ized by the oc­cur­rence of blisters in the mouth and hy­per­sal­iv­a­tion—once a farmer ob­serves this they can use a piece of clean cloth soaked in a pail of salt­water to scrubs the wounds in the cow’s mouth—sa­line con­di­tions de­na­ture and kill the FMD virus,” ex­plains Ful­gence. This is re­peated sev­er­ally until the dis­ease re­gresses, usu­ally after six weeks. Dust­ing the cow’s hooves with ash and pour­ing it on the areas the cow steps on also cap­ably com­bats FMD. The farmer should work at isol­at­ing the sick cow from the rest of the herd, dis­in­fect their hands and not use the equip­ment used in treat­ing the dis­ease on healthy an­im­als. FMD will however flare up again if the an­imal is re­in­fec­ted in six months and re­mains un­vac­cin­ated,” he adds.

    Re­lated News: How to con­tain the deadly foot and mouth break-out

    Re­lated News: Nandi farm­ers using ‘Kangara’ to treat foot and mouth dis­ease

    As the sever­ity of the dis­ease in­creases le­sions ap­pear on the tongue, lips, nose, between toes, above the hooves, and on teats. Other symp­toms of the dis­ease are, ap­pet­ite and weight loss coupled with growth re­tard­a­tion and a drop in milk pro­duc­tion caused by mouth blisters which make it dif­fi­cult for the an­imal to feed. Per­en­ni­ally af­fected an­im­als re­duce their milk out­put by up to 80 per­cent.

    The dis­ease has a two to four­teen day in­cub­a­tion period and mor­bid­ity of up to 100 per cent in sus­cept­ible pop­u­la­tions with mor­tal­ity of one to five per cent in adult an­im­als and over 20 per in young calves, lambs and pig­lets. “Cases of foot-and-mouth dis­ease are usu­ally on the rise in the coun­try over the hot and dry months around July as most pas­tor­al­ist farm­ers are forced to con­greg­ate their cows at wa­ter­ing holes where the dis­ease can be eas­ily spread through con­tact with in­fec­ted an­im­als,” says Mwarongo.

    FMD is a men­ace to many farm­ers as it can be eas­ily spread in a vari­ety of other ways: con­tact with con­tam­in­ated pen build­ing ma­ter­ial or an­imal trans­port vehicles, con­tam­in­ated feed, water or an­imal products, con­tam­in­ated cloth­ing or equip­ment and through air cur­rents from in­fec­ted ma­ter­ial.

    Re­lated News: Un­der­stand­ing the Foot and Mouth dis­ease

    “Des­pite re­ports to the con­trary, vac­cines for foot-and-mouth and most other live­stock dis­eases have never run out and are read­ily avail­able to counties for bulk pur­chase. County veter­in­ary of­ficers and farm­ers with au­thor­iz­a­tion from their home county vets can also buy them from us,” says Evans Kitui, the sales and mar­ket­ing head at Kenya Veter­in­ary Vac­cines Pro­duc­tion In­sti­tute. The vac­cine lasts six months at a cost of Sh120 per dose, Sh240 per cow for a year’s vac­cin­a­tion.

    Kenya Veter­in­ary Vac­cines Pro­duc­tion In­sti­tute: 0724651895

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