Livestock farmers across the country can now look forward to vaccinating their cattle against Lumpy Skin disease. The National Centre for Animal Health of the Livestock Department has completed distributing the Lumpy Skin Disease vaccine in all 20 districts. The viral disease, which livestock officials describe as an epidemic, has affected livestock farmers throughout the country. The disease has killed more than 1,500 cattle, mithun, yak, and zo-zom so far.
Thimphu which recorded the highest death of livestock from the viral disease will begin vaccinating from tomorrow.
According to data from the National Centre for Animal Health, Thimphu reported 264 deaths. The district has received 260 vials of the Lumpy Skin disease vaccine, each containing 50 doses.
The Laytshog Lopen of the Central Monastic Body graced the distribution of the vaccine and gifted holy water, ointment and pill for the welfare of the animals.
“We had many problems due to lumpy skin disease. At first, it was just nodules and wounds on the skin; we did not know what they were as many of us are illiterate. Milk production had decreased by the time we knew about the disease outbreak. As a result, the young calves could not be fed properly. Today, we received the vaccine and it is going to be distributed soon. I am sure that it will definitely help us,” said Kencho, Geney Gup, Thimphu.
The vaccine, however, will be administered only to the unaffected animals. The livestock officials said vaccinating the already infected animals could worsen the disease condition.
The officials also said that animals might show side effects including a decrease in milk production and loss of appetite along with a rise in body temperature after getting vaccinated.
“If somehow some animals show side effects of the vaccine, they might be sick for a week, but it is nothing to be worried about. However, if the animal is sick for more than three weeks, it should be taken to the veterinary hospital in the respective gewogs or districts. The vet will treat the animal according to the symptoms,” said Sonam Penjor, Assistant District Chief Livestock Officer, Thimphu.
Officials from the National Center for Animal Health said that once opened, the vials have to be used within six hours or else they will lose effectiveness.
The country reported more than 15,600 live cases of cattle, mithun, yak, and zo-zom infected by the Lumpy Skin disease.
The National Center for Animal Health data shows that Tsirang has the highest number of live cases of lumpy skin infection at close to 2,000.
There are more than 250,000 cattle, 30,000 yaks, 7,000 zo-zom, 300 buffaloes, and 300 mithuns eligible for immunisation in the country.