Cattle in Kampong Chhnang and Kratie have been dying from disease over the past two weeks and livestock officials have now confirmed that the deaths were caused by both foot-and-mouth disease and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV).

BVDV is more commonly known in Cambodia by its Khmer name, which translates to “watery disease”.

Ket Saroeun, the head of the Kratie provincial Veterinary Office, told The Post on March 3 that after reports of a series of cattle deaths were received from the people living in Sambor district’s Kampong Cham commune, he urged the village veterinary agency to investigate and assist with saving the remaining cattle.

“After testing was done by our veterinary agency it was determined that the cattle had died of foot-and-mouth disease and [BVDV],” he said.

According to Saroeun, foot-and-mouth disease and [BVDV] may cause cattle to die when no treatment is provided or the cattle are malnourished. He said the best way to prevent either illness was vaccination.

Saroeun said he conducted his investigation not only by testing samples from the dead cattle but also by interviewing the cattle’s owners and by observing the cattle’s symptoms which included ulcers on their toenails and sores in their mouths for some – indicating foot-and-mouth disease – and bloating and a stiff neck for others, a tell-tale symptom of BVDV.

Saroeun said these diseases are common in cattle that are not vaccinated and are then allowed to forage for food on their own.

He said that on February 26, eight cows had died near a pond at a cashew plantation in Kampong Cham commune’s Yeav village. The carcasses of those animals also had black toenails and sores in their mouths and some had abnormal bloating.

Yoeun Pinea, 30, a farmer in Yeav village, confirmed that two bulls also fell ill and died. He said in mid-2019 he had vaccinated the bulls against these diseases and that he let them graze with the villagers’ herds because he was busy working on construction.

“I didn’t think that they could get infected by foot-and-mouth disease from the villagers’ herd because I had already had them vaccinated,” he said.

According to the data obtained from the Kratie provincial livestock office, about 60,000 of the nearly 100,000 cattle in the province get free vaccinations against both of these diseases every year but neither of the vaccines provides permanent protection from the diseases and the animals must be revaccinated every six months to one year.

Kampong Chhnang province also had a series of cattle deaths two weeks ago, but after the village veterinary agency advised that all cattle be kept indoors in barns for a period of time to stop new infections, the problem had abated and there are currently no reports from residents there on this issue, according to Kreung Sam Ath, the head of Kampong Chhnang provincial Veterinary office on March 3.

Sam Ath said that on February 17 in Bra Snoeb and Banteay Preal communes of Rolea Ba’ier district, a total of 13 cattle fell ill and died in quick succession.

“Inspection of those animals revealed that their deaths were caused by foot-and-mouth disease and [BVDV], because in addition to the blisters in the mouth and toenails they also had symptoms of bloating and stiff necks,” he confirmed.

According to Sam Ath, throughout Kampong Chhnang there are 200,000 cattle total but only 70,000 of them are vaccinated per year because vaccine supplies for either disease are limited.