Alternative remedies used to mitigate cattle blackleg disease in Zimbabwe

Abstract

Dambudzo G. Mahachi

Cattle productivity has been minimized by the occurrence of diseases such as blackleg. This study was conducted to determine and document how resource-challenged farmers of Umzingwane district of Zimbabwe use alternative remedies to manage cattle blackleg cases. Random sampling was used to select 90 beef cattle farmers who were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Results of the study revealed that cattle owners (86%) reported blackleg disease to be the most important disease followed by ehrlichiosis (23%) and lumpy skin disease (5%). Almost 71% of the respondents reported having experienced cases of blackleg in their herd in the past three years. Few farmers (22%) used conventional vaccines, whereas the majority (78%) used alternative remedies to manage the disease, which included; hot water (80%), hot iron (78%), Potassium permanganate (10%), Ihlwili (60%), Ricinis communis (5%), Pterocarpus angolensis (7%), Sclerocarya birrea (8%), Diospyros mespiliformis (3%), Gardenia spatulifolia (2%). Some of these remedies (P. angolensis, S. birrea, D. mespiliforms, G. spatulifolia) were believed to prevent the occurrence of the diseases, while hot water and hot iron were used for treatment of infected animals. The study revealed that most resource-challenged farmers in Umzingwane district of Zimbabwe used alternative remedies to manage blackleg infections in cattle.

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