Cows hit by FMD produce less milk

 The foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that broke out among cattle last September in the State has caused post-traumatic effects on many animals, which are still suffering from the infection.

The inspection committee of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (AHVS) found 55,580 head of cattle infected with FMD, of which nearly 14,441 died.

The cattle that survived have been cured of FMD, but are suffering from fever and salivation, which have made the animals dull, resulting in lowered milk production.An official from the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) said FMD had not only affected the dairy farmers, but also the cattle in KMF to a large extent.

 He said FMD had affected the thyroid glands in the animals, which regulates their milk production.

 These animals are susceptible to other infections and had to be kept under continuous medication, he said.

The official added that as the animals had low immunity levels, milk production and quality of the milk had gone down and many cows were having problems conceiving.A dairy farmer said the cows that were yielding 10-12 litres of milk a day were now yielding only 7-8 litres per day.

The committee under the AHVS found that high yielding cross-bred milch animals were highly susceptible to FMD. However, an official from AHVS said that the non-descriptive cattle, the homegrown ones, had been least affected by FMD. 

The official said that the outbreak of FMD had come as an alert for both the farmers as well as the department, which could now streamline the vaccination procedures among cattle. He said the large-scale outbreak was also due to the negligence of many dairy farmers who either denied or delayed the vaccination of their cattle.

The investigation carried out by the Institute of Animal Health Diagnostic Centre has confirmed that it was ‘O’ type of virus strain, a highly virulent one which had caused the large-scale infection and death of cattle population.

The committee has recommended an efficient system to report the outbreak, and to have separate veterinarians and para veterinarians for handling outbreaks and vaccinations. The committee also pointed out the lack of veterinarians in the department and has expressed the urgent need to increase manpower in both technical and non-technical sections to monitor disease-control programmes.

Mandya, Kolar, Ramanagara and Chikkaballapur districts have lost the maximum number of cattle due to the disease.

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