As the saying goes ‘Prevention is better than cure’.
During the past month, we have had a tremendous increase in rainfall in the Limpopo bushveld and Purple Rain Game Breeding camps, which is situated in the Madikwe Conservancy. Tick-borne diseases thrive in these wet, hot, moist conditions
The Purple Rain Game Breeding Team would like to share with you, our fellow game breeders, the knowledge and information we have gained over the years within our own Game Breeding Project, in order to ensure a pro-active approach in the prevention of these diseases.
In this next blog post we focus on Miliary fever, more commonly known as ‘Sweating Sickness’ - its symptoms, causes, treatment and pro-active prevention.
Sweating sickness is an acute, febrile, tick-borne toxicosis, characterized mainly by profuse, moist eczema, hyperemia of the skin and visible mucous membranes.
Sweating sickness is:
Found mostly in Southern Africa and affects cattle and game. It is found predominantly in young animals and calves.
Sweating sickness is caused by toxins that develop in certain ticks of the Hyalomma truncatum (Bont-legged tick) species.
Symptoms of this disease include:
Moist skin from profuse sweating,
Loss of hair,
An excessive flow of saliva,
Diarrhoea and abdominal pain (animals groan and walk with arched backs).
The disease may also result in:
Severe inflammation of the skin, airways and intestines,
Inflammation of the mouth and eyes
Examples of above mentioned symptoms can be seen below:
Figure 1: Severe inflammation of the oesophagus (Such an animal would obviously be reluctant to drink).
Figure 2: Severe loss of hair
Figure 3 & 4: High tick load around the eyes
Figure 5: Inflammation of the eyes
Figure 6, 7 and 8: Bont-legged ticks removed by hand
Treatment for this disease will include;
Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.
It is imperative that one removes all bont-legged ticks by hand; paying special attention to the tail switch.
The administration of oral fluids is crucial as young animals suffering from this disease will easily dehydrate and due to this a great deal of fluid escapes through the inflamed skin. These animals are reluctant to suckle due to the inflammation of the mouth.
The Pro-active Prevention:
It is recommended that animals are treated with a flumenthrin dip, which is a pyrethroid insecticide. The flumenthrin dip should be used for 5 days and then removed. Flumenthrin dip is used externally in veterinary medicine against parasitic insects and ticks on game, cattle, sheep, goats, horses and dogs as well as in the treatment of parasitic mites in honeybee colonies.