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What is at stake? -The Union of Veterinary Practitoners issues a 60 Day strike notice

 

The Union of Veterinary Practitioners Kenya (UVPK) issued a 60 Days strike notice upon which lapsing will see all veterinary professionals and vet assistants down their tools. Seven days have since been past and still no action to reconcile has been taken by the government. Just what is at stake if the imminent strike occurs? This post seeks to highlight and inform of the possible effects and perhaps importantly caution you to prepare.

Veterinary practitioners in Kenya offer a wide range of services and are perhaps the most unappreciated lot of people in the recent time. The veterinary profession is multi-tiered just as most of health care fields. Veterinarians in Kenya do specialize in disciplines like surgery, emergency and critical care, dermatology, internal medicine, radiology among others. Specialties are recognized by the Kenya Veterinary Board and veterinarians licensed to practice in large animal and small animal surgery. Veterinarians are assisted by veterinary paraprofessionals who also are as important in animal health management.

Certainly, veterinary professionals are pretty amazing in that they safeguard the health and welfare of animals, from personal pets to livestock, zoo animals or even injured wild animals. Not only that, veterinarians are the gatekeepers protecting humans from zoonosis. They deal with among others, live threatening viruses as the first line of defense for animal and human health. Understandably, these noble workers cannot disposed and thus their cries must be heard for the good of the public.

Why are the Veterinary Workers Dissatisfied?

In a letter by the UVPK dated January 10, 2023, veterinary practitioners the shortage of veterinary doctors and veterinary Para professions assigned in surveillance and clearances points as well as reference laboratories, alleging that the available workers are overworked without fair compensation. “The state department of health has a shortfall of about 1000 veterinary practitioners while counties have and estimated shortfall of 20,000 veterinary surgeons and veterinary paraprofessionals.” Read part of the letter. Union in the letter claims poor pay despite the work being extraneous and considering the risks involved. Further UVPK expresses dissatisfaction in how the Salaries and Remuneration Commission has been dealing with the Union members. Dr. Miheso Mulembani, the secretary general to UVPK, says in the letter that the government through SRC has been programmed to deny veterinary practitioners their right to fair compensation.

UVPK in the letter further called out the failure to post of veterinary interns for post graduate training. “Veterinary and animal health Graduates are languishing in villages without posting by the State department of Livestock. This is uncalled for at a time when there is extreme shortage of practitioners.” reads the letter. These and the failure of some county governments to sign CBAs with the Union are the reasons why the veterinary practitioners may withdraw their services.

 

Why is it important that these cries are addressed?

Dr. David Kibaria, a veterinary surgeon notes that, “a government that neglects veterinary services and doctors may be viewed as not being serious about its development agenda, public health, food security, and the well-being of its population.” So, how bad will it be if the strike proceeds?

  1. There will be no treatment of animals which in turn will lead to economic losses due to death of animals. The livestock industry greatly contributes towards the country’s GDP. Therefore, the lack of veterinary care will not only mean diseases and death of animals, but also reduced productivity, denying farmers their source of income.
  2. Imagine a scenario where there is no meat inspection. The result is either ta decrease in meat supply or the population consumes uninspected meat posing a grave danger to our health. This country is not short of incidences where the public has consumed uninspected meat leading to deaths and illnesses. “Veterinary services and doctors play a crucial role in preventing and controlling the spread of diseases, which can have a significant impact on both animal and human health. Neglecting veterinary service providers can lead to and increase in the spread of zoonotic diseases.” Notes Dr. Kibaria.
  3. Veterinary practitioners are responsible for the issuance of sanitary documents such as those used in animal movement. A strike would mean that you will not get a movement permit and thus will not be able to move your animals for sale. The overall effect will be the closure of sale yards.
  4. The veterinary service providers are responsible in for the surveillance, diagnosis and treatment of diseases with the potential of infecting humans. Recent disease reporting has shown outbreaks of anthrax and rabies disease. These and extremely fatal infections. Withdrawal of services by veterinarians will leave the outbreaks unmitigated and thus posing an even greater risk to the public.
  5. A strike by the veterinary professionals will see a shutdown of control posts such as the border and airports. This will in turn humper international trade in livestock and livestock products. Similarly, importation or even exportation of veterinary drugs will be hindered, which will see to it a shortage of drugs necessary for the treatment of animals. It is hard to imagine a poultry farmer, with a thousand chicks lacking necessary vaccines to protect his/her flock against deadly infections such as Newcastle and Marek’s disease.

These coupled with other effects are reasons why we cannot ignore the veterinarian’s’ cry. Otherwise, the collapse of the entire livestock sector and dependent sectors such as the hotel industry is imminent. The government committed to addressing the needs of its citizen cannot afford to neglect the veterinary service providers. We (the veterinary practitioners) invite you to join our cause in calling the government into action and sort out the stalemate.

Foot and Mouth Disease

About the disease

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-footed domestic and wild animals. It is characterized by fever and vesicular lesions in the mouth, tongue, nostrils, feet, and teeth. Sheep and goats show very mild signs, while pigs act as amplifying hosts, which produce very high concentrations of the virus particle in aerosols. Cattle are indicators of this disease because they generally are the first species to show signs of infection; the lesions are more severe and progress more rapidly than in other animals. The disease affects the integument, respiratory, reproductive, cardiovascular, and urinary systems.

Morbidity reaches almost 100% in susceptible populations. Mortality usually ranges from 1% to 5%, although it may be higher in young animals. Foot-and-mouth disease is a transboundary animal disease with a worldwide distribution. There are various types of FMDV, and strains have been identified in Asia, Africa, and South America.

FMD virus usually enters the host via the respiratory and oral route. Infected animals secrete the virus in all their secretions, so contact and consumption of animal products such as meat, milk, bones, glands, and cheese can spread the disease. The incubation time of the virus is in the range of 2–14 days, depending on the susceptibility of the host and infecting dose. Clinical signs generally develop in 3–5 days. Diseased animals usually recover in 1–3 weeks. Skin lesions usually heal in 7 days after recovery, but secondary bacterial infection may complicate the healing process.

Signs of the disease
  • The best-known signs of FMD are fever together with vesicles (blisters) in the mouth, nares, muzzle, hooves, and teats which progress to erosion and sloughing, leading to lameness and anorexia.
  • Sticky, foamy, and stringy drooling saliva from the mouth, serous nasal discharge, and decreased milk production.
  • Young animals may die without clinical signs, and abortion occurs in pregnant animals.

FMD may be confused with other diseases which show lesions in the mouth. These diseases include vesicular stomatitis, papular stomatitis, bovine viral diarrhea-mucosal disease, malignant catarrhal fever, foot rot, herpes mammillitis, pseudocowpox, rinderpest, bluetongue, contagious ecthyma (orf) in sheep, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, and chemical and thermal burns.

Treatment and Control

Supportive treatment of infected individuals is warranted. Milking time hygiene is of utmost importance. In areas where FMD is exotic, health care is usually swift and terminal. Drugs are not available to treat FMD, but broad-spectrum antibiotics are intended to control bacterial secondary infection so that the lesions in the mouth and hoofs heal fast.

FMD is a self-limiting disease with a fair prognosis for recovery in 2–3 weeks. The prognosis for young animals is sometimes grave depending on the strains of the virus associated with the disease. Animals vaccinated with the epidemic strains have a good prognosis.

Long-term infection leads to severe loss of production. Sloughing of the hoofs causes secondary bacterial infection and takes a long time to heal. Possibility of tetanus infection through the sloughed hoofs in case of delayed healing.

Prevention

Strict biosecurity procedures, good animal husbandry practices (e.g., restriction of high-risk visitors, quarantine of high-risk animals and animal products, etc.) aid in the exclusion of FMDV.

Vaccines against FMD are available but cross-protection between different serotypes is limited. Therefore, it is important that the vaccine contain the same subtype of virus as is in the area. This necessitates frequent checking of the serotype and subtype during an outbreak as the FMD virus frequently changes during its natural passage through various species. At the time of the outbreak, ring vaccination with the same strains can protect against a possible epidemic.

My Cow Eats Plastic Bags

Why do cows eat plastics?
  • Pica – due to mineral deficiency
  • Predisposing factors in the environment where the cow searches for feed in garbage or left to graze in towns and dump sites where plastics bag are at their disposal
  • Out of curiosity
Sources of plastics in the farm
  • General household waste
  • Plastic material is blown over by the wind
  • Plastic wrapping materials for feeds and mineral supplements
  • Plastic ropes and wraps for hay bales and silage
What you will see when your cow has eaten plastics
  1. The cow progressively becomes weak and sluggish
  2. The cow loses appetite and may go off-feed
  3. The cow frequently experiences bloat due to blockage.
  4. The animal experiences polydipsia and frequently drinks a lot of water.
  5. The cow gradually loses body condition and in turn, loses productivity and eventually may die.
What should you do then?

There is currently no available chemical that can be used to get rid of the plastic in the stomach. However;

the most effective, and sure, way is by physical removal by surgery done by a veterinarian.

Prevention & Control
  • Providing proper and sufficient mineral supplementation
  • Ensuring that the surrounding is clean and free of plastics
  • See to it that all plastic feed wrappings and hay bale ropes are properly disposed of.

 

Caring for and Managing Dry Cows

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Good management of the dry cow is important, and its aim is to:

  1. Provide for the involution and regeneration of milk secretory tissue of the udder
  2. Enhance milk production in the subsequent lactation (milking period)
  3. Allow for and increase production of colostrum. The transfer of immunoglobulins from cow’s blood to milk starts about one month before calving and reaches its peak just before parturition.
  4. Develop optimum body reserve to withstand the strain of calving
  5. Supply sufficient nutrition for the growing fetus, since maximum growth occurs during the last trimester of pregnancy
  6. Prevent nutritional deficiency diseases like milk fever etc. after calving
  7. Allow the cow to prepare for the next lactation

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It is worth noting that the period around calving represents the time of the greatest risk in the cow’s life. Therefore, adequate preparation and outstanding care are key factors if this transition is to take place without problems. Investing in optimal dry cow management will be repaid with fewer problems in the following lactation, and a higher milk yield.

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Four Crucial Puppy Shots

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These should be administered starting from the age of 6 weeks.[/fusion_text][fusion_title title_type=”text” rotation_effect=”bounceIn” display_time=”1200″ highlight_effect=”circle” loop_animation=”off” highlight_width=”9″ highlight_top_margin=”0″ rotation_text=”” title_link=”off” link_target=”_self” content_align=”left” size=”1″ text_shadow=”no” text_shadow_blur=”0″ dimensions_medium=”” dimensions_small=”” gradient_font=”no” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ style_type=”default” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky”]

1. Canine Distemper Vaccine

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Canine distemper is caused by a virus, and is a highly contagious disease. It may be transmitted through air and body secretions. The virus may affect the dog’s skin, brain, intestines and respiratory tracts.

Puppies under the age of 6 months are more susceptible to the distemper virus. The virus is fatal in most cases.

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2.  Rabies Vaccine

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Rabies can be contracted from a number of animals through biting and scratches, and is a disease that has no cure. The virus attacks the brain of the dog and, in time, the pet will get weaker and die from respiratory failure.

The vaccine should be administered at the age of 12 weeks.

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3. Canine Hepatitis

[/fusion_title][fusion_text animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky”]The canine adenovirus-1 causes hepatitis in dogs, and can be spread through body fluids such as nasal discharge and urine. The virus affects the respiratory tract at first, causing coughing and a sore throat. The virus then advances to vital organs, attacking the kidneys, liver and sometimes the eyes. Dogs younger than 1 year are the most exposed to the virus. The vaccine against hepatitis is also efficient against the adenovirus-2, which causes cough and respiratory problems.[/fusion_text][fusion_title title_type=”text” rotation_effect=”bounceIn” display_time=”1200″ highlight_effect=”circle” loop_animation=”off” highlight_width=”9″ highlight_top_margin=”0″ title_link=”off” link_target=”_self” content_align=”left” size=”1″ text_shadow=”no” text_shadow_blur=”0″ gradient_font=”no” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ style_type=”default” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky”]

4. Canine Parvorvirus

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The canine parvovirus has two different types: CPV1 and CPV2. The dog should receive a vaccine against CPV2, which causes the parvo disease, a severe medical condition. Parvo symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, and if the puppy has a weak immune system, he may die due to severe dehydration.

CPV2 is spread through canine feces. Rodents are carriers of the virus, so if the dog ingests an infected rodent, he will also get infected. The virus can survive 5 to 12 months in the right environment. CPV2 is resistant to both cold and warm temperatures.

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