Veterinary experts at Kratie’s provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are trying to save villagers’ cattle following outbreaks of the pasteurellosis and blackleg diseases which have killed more than 20 animals in Chitr Borei district’s Dar commune.
Phorn Phot, a veterinarian in Dar commune’s Anhchanh village, told The Post on Sunday that pasteurellosis and blackleg were detected in the area during the middle of March but, thanks to a vaccination campaign, the spread of the diseases had been halted.
However, last week the diseases re-emerged, killing more than 20 cattle in three villages – Anhchanh, Dar and Stung Svay – in Dar commune.
“Pasteurellosis and blackleg diseases reappeared due to the villagers’ failure to provide proper care for their cattle and because they let the animals roam free in the fields and forest land,” Phot said.
Yuok Sat, who lost two of his cows to blackleg disease four to five days ago, acknowledged that he had not provided adequate care for his cattle because he had 32 cows and there were only a few members of his family.
He said villagers were accustomed to allowing cattle to freely eat grass in the fields and forests and drink dirty water from local streams. They didn’t give it much consideration, Sat said, and cattle owners had neglected to vaccinate their livestock.
“Five of my cows, out of 32, were infected with the blackleg disease. I don’t know where they got the disease from but, before they became infected, they grazed freely and ate grass in the fields and forest and drank water from local streams like other cattle.
“A few days ago, two of them died but the other three have received treatment from the vets and now they are getting better,” he said.
Anhchanh village chief Ngieng Khin said his cows had also caught the diseases but had been cured thanks to vaccination shots and other medical treatment given to them about a week ago.
He said his neighbour had lost three cows after they experienced swelling of the stomach and throat. The veterinarian said the cattle were severely infected with pasteurellosis and could not be saved.
“After seeing the symptoms in my neighbour’s cattle, at first I thought it was caused by a chemical poison because the cows ate grass and drank contaminated water from the stream, but the vet said these were the symptoms of the final phase of pasteurellosis,” Khin said.
Regarding the polluted stream, Dar commune chief Seng Heng told The Post on Sunday that he had asked the Chitr Borei district governor to restore the stream and pump water out of a local dam, so villagers can use the water.
“Tomorrow, we will start to remove the sewage and black mud from the stream. After that, we will open the dam, so the water can fill up the stream and local people can use it.
“We hope this will remove people’s suspicions that the water is poisonous and is the reason their cattle have become infected,” Heng said.
He said provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries veterinarians had also intervened to treat and vaccinate the cattle and prevent the diseases from spreading.
Ket Saroeun, the head of the veterinary office at the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post that cattle are susceptible to infectious diseases – such as taenia (a type of tapeworm), picornavirus, blackleg and pasteurellosis – when they eat grass that has recently been sprayed with insecticide or drink contaminated water.
“We protect the cattle by giving them vaccinations, keeping them in a clean environment and feeding them safe food.
“When cattle are already infected, vaccinations are not effective. But we can still provide medical treatment if they are not badly infected,” he said.