EHE, a new disappointment for livestock

A storm is brewing at the cattle farm in Castilla y Leon. And a. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHE) adds two years of drought, the definite threat of tuberculosis, which was almost eradicated, skyrocketing raw material prices, etc. “We are disappointed,” says José Ramón Tejedor, a farmer with 180 cows in Almedia de Sayago (Zamora), who has seen about 35 of his animals infected in the past 20 days, with at least two deaths and “more than a few “Won’t get over it”, referring to the case of an eight-year-old bull which he admits “hurts him a lot”. “There is a lot of uncertainty because of a new disease. Right now I don’t know whether the cows that recover will have abortions or whether I will be able to sell the calves next year. This is something we do not know. The fear is too great for everyone,” warns the farmer.

On one of his ranches, on the outskirts of town, José whistles for Ramon Sultan and Rayo. Both dogs lead about twenty animals going to the field to a place where it is clearly visible due to the absence of grass. It is logical without rain. Only the whisper of the shadow of the oak on the dry land encourages us to come closer. Slowly, he yells at them to go away and let the cows go so that they can eat the mixed fodder thrown on the ground from his truck. Their nutrition is complete with straw, due to which its price has doubled this year, and grass. She says, “Did you see him over there? He’s quite sick. Look at his muzzle and his red eyes.”

As the animals get closer, you lose sight of the infected cow. You may see an animal that is wounded inside, has no appetite, and has difficulty drinking water and even walking. “Their nose becomes dry and red, they have difficulty eating and drool immediately. Their lack of appetite leads to sores in their mouths and this pain prevents them from eating,” laments herder Tejedor. Are. Visibly active, COAG participant who does not stop his activity during the Ical team trip. They also said that, according to veterinarians, future deliveries without lubrication could be affected, resulting in harm to the mother and foal, or they could be born infected.

EHE, a new disappointment for livestockEHE, a new frustration for livestock – Photo: JL Lil ICAL

In their case, females between the ages of four and five years have been infected and they have had no positive samples under the age of one and a half years. And men have had a more profound effect. “This is my observation, I’m not saying it’s generalized, because a lot of research is lacking,” he clarifies.

administration involvement

The board’s latest figures presented this week, based on more than a thousand head of cattle controlled, show 152 cows with obvious symptoms and a dozen may have died in the Sayago and Bajo Duero regions. These are the figures which are far away from the reality. “On this farm I find many new things day by day,” says the farmer, who now calls for action and involvement of the administration to eradicate the disease, because being alert, “the situation is becoming more and more complex.

“Let them wake up now and get their batteries! If they really want to work for the rural environment and sustainability, then support those of us who are already in a depressed area. Help us end this , guide us where to go and help us avoid the extra expenses we are incurring”, he claims.

EHE is a non-contagious viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes of the Culicoides family, Bluetongue virus, and that affects domestic and wild ruminants. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in cattle it can cause “moderate and self-limiting symptoms for about two weeks”, while sheep, although they are susceptible to infection, are “less susceptible to clinical disease”. “. It is a disease that also affects deer, fallow deer and roe deer and which apparently comes from Africa and Asia.

general uncertainty

The worst thing about this notifiable disease is the “uncertainty” it generates, as its incubation period is between two and 15 days, says Jose Ramon, who predicts that more cases will be reported on the farm. . “I now believe I am at the peak of infection,” doubts the farmer, who admits that trying to save his animals has put a significant financial cost in his pocket that he did not expect. Under the guidance of a veterinary team, he has given the cows retardant anti-inflammatory drugs, a broad-spectrum antibiotic to reduce complications, B vitamins and a liver protectant to help them recover their appetite lost along the way after mosquito bites. encourages to do. , At least, it is working in most of the cases treated.

He recalls that his concern grew when he read in the press that the first case had been found in the city of Salamanca, La Encina de San Silvestre. He set to work and, under the guidance of veterinarians, for four days he fumigated the entire farm and animals with an insecticide to eliminate traces of the vector. “It didn’t help,” muttered Tejedor.

more frustration

It is one of the most affected in the Alameda cattle farm Zamora, but there are also cases in Carbellino, Moraleja, Penausende… “It is very new and it is spreading fast. I estimate that in a week the whole farm The infection will be infected.” He is upset. “What are you waiting for?”, he questions the political class, demanding they “stop fighting” and focus on eliminating infectious diseases such as EHE or tuberculosis and managing to “better” conserve wolves and vultures. Place a bet “I don’t know” Don’t work to feed these animals. I think it’s great that they want to keep them, but not at our expense,” he says, recalling that several years ago it was published in the media because the cleaners removed one of them within minutes. Had killed the cow and the calf. She had just given birth in the field. “If we have a lot of problems. We are disappointed. They don’t help us. And the young people who could stay, see the scene and run away,” says José Ramón Tejedor.

This gloom leads him to predict that in three decades, cities like Alameda “will not even have livestock, which is the current livelihood”, and all these pastures point to Sayago’s distinctive, rocky terrain. grass more than a meter long will “dry up” and will no longer stop the fire”. He says, “no one cares anymore about the work we do with our cattle to clear the fields, the mountains or the pastures “

The morning ends in front of the lost face of the bull. “I’m really sorry. It has to be a sacrifice, but I’m sorry,” he insists. Standing in the shade of an oak tree, this animal is waiting for its last moment. The farmer gives him food and water almost up his nose, but the dysphagia caused by the disease prevents the cauldron from lowering its level. He shows, “What he drinks, he expels through his nose.”

The red-eyed animal, which weighed 900 kilos before the virus hit it (less than half that now), seems to be saying goodbye forever after a 20-day battle. “If he’s still alive, it’s because he was a strong bull,” justifies the farmer, already standing in the distance, as he heads to his other plot to separate the other affected cows. Jumps back in his truck: “Now it’s my day”.


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