Vet Dept Warns Cattle Farmers Against Poisonous Plant

ZIMBABWE - The Department of Veterinary Services has warned farmers to be wary of losing their livestock to a poisonous plant, dichapetalum cymosum, which has claimed the lives of at least ten animals in Umguza District.
calendar icon 14 January 2019
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Bulawayo District Veterinary officer Dr Ndabezinhle Mkhwananzi said farmers have perennially lost their animals, mostly cattle to the poisonous plant known as dichapetalum cymosum in Latin and umkhawuzane in iSiNdebele and as such there was a need to take precautionary measures to avert more livestock deaths.

Umkhawuzane has green leaves and is mostly the first plant to get green in spring or during the first rains, thereby attracting animals.

It is small with a very extensive root system that goes up to 20 metres deep. About ten animals died after eating the plant last week in Nyamandlovu, Umguza district.

"Farmers should be wary of umkhawuzane because it is fatal to animals especially ruminants like cattle, goats and sheep and it does give a lot of headache to our animals especially those who are new in an infested area as it gets to epidemic levels. Even for those that have been in the terrain for some time, they also die after consuming the plant," said Dr Mkhwananzi.

He urged farmers to consider having their livestock insured to avoid loss.

"It is just that the economy is very bad but getting insurance for livestock is a viable idea to prevent such losses. Insurance may seem expensive but it is worth it in such times," said Dr Mkhwananzi.

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Source: Chronicle

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