Over 400 sheep affected with the round worm disease died in Mulabagilu taluk in one week.
Veterinarians say that the infection is being caused by the sheep drinking impure water from ponds and lakes which filled up during ample rains in November 2017. The larvae that have entered the sheep's stomachs in this manner have hatched inside their intestines, finally choking them to death.
The sheep rearers are shocked by the magnitude of their losses.
There are 22 veterinary centres in the urban and rural areas of the taluk. The animals are being disinfected there. But the authorities are having a tough time checking the spread of the infection.
When the shepherds take the sheep out for grazing in the meadows, the animals again consume the polluted lake waters and get infected all over again.
The parasitic round worms feed on all the blood and nutrients in the sheep's body ultimately killing it.
The rearers had approached the vets for a vaccine earlier. But the latter had refused to give it to their livestock. Now that sheep are dying by the hundreds and rearers are in hurry to sell off their livestock. The result is that mutton prices have fallen to all time low.
Animal Husbandry department officers said that sheep must not be allowed to drink lake water. "They have to be given the pumpset water used for fields. Round worm tablets are being given freely at vet centres," they informed.