Livestock owners have been warned to take preventitive measures against diseases that may break out following the recent heavy rains.
Flooding has severely affected agriculture in the province’s Mopani and Vhembe districts.
“The department has been advised that some animal diseases, notably Rift Valley fever and other human infections, should now be expected,” said provincial agriculture spokesperson Kenny Mathivha yesterday.
“We urge farmers to take their animals for inoculation and regular dipping until the situation becomes normal.”
Mathivha also urged farmers to contact their nearest extension advisors for assistance.
National Emergent Red Meat Producers’ Organisation chairperson Madambi Muvhulawa said some cattle already had heartwater and foot rot infections.
Heartwater, a non-contagious tick-borne disease, affects livestock and some wild animals. Foot rot is a bacterial disease that attacks sheep, goats and cattle’s hooves and cripples the affected animal.
“Some cattle are already suffering from internal parasites, with worms living in the stomach and intestines,” said Muvhulawa, who farms cattle near Louis Trichardt. He urged the department to restore abandoned dipping sites to help farmers who now travel long distances to dip livestock.