Rising cattle deaths puzzle experts

They wonder whether it's foot and mouth disease or anthrax
Last Updated 20 October 2013, 19:11 IST

The foot-and-mouth disease among cattle in the State is proving to be a headache for scientists of the central team as well as specialist veterinarians.

It is suspected that the cattle may have been afflicted with the anthrax disease, spread by the bacillus anthracis bacteria, and hence, it is becoming difficult to control its spread.
After a visit to the disease-affected districts, the experts held discussions in this regard with medical officers of the department of animal husbandry and veterinary science.

Autopsies of the bodies of the dead animals as well as testing of the soil in the cattle sheds is being conducted to ascertain the disease that the cattle are suffering from. Soil samples have been take to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) at Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand.

Dr B Patnaik, project director of food and mouth disease at IVRI, and specialist veterinarian from the State Dr Ananth have visited several parts of the State, and the rising deaths have only surprised them, prompting them to opt for soil test, an official of the State department of animal husbandry and veterinary science, told Deccan Herald. Usually, casualties are rare in case of the foot and mouth disease, says Ananth.

The fact that cattle are recovering after they are given injection, but dying seven days later has foxed experts. They are not able to identify whether fodder is the cause or the soil.

Officials said food-and-mouth disease was difficult to control and it takes three months for the disease to subside. Another cause for concern is that most of the casualties are calves.

Soil test

The soil samples are subjected to a number of tests. Grass is then grown on the soil and it is fed to the cattle. Any change in the health condition of the cattle is monitored. Results of all the tests will help in ascertaining the cause of the disease and whether it is foot and mouth disease or anthrax.

(Published 20 October 2013, 19:11 IST)

Follow us on