Financial implications of rearing sheep and goats under natural trypanosomosis challenge at Galana ranch, Kenya.
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A study to compare the profitability of rearing sheep and goats under natural trypanosomosis challenge was carried out on Galana ranch in south-eastern Kenya between July 1996 and October 1997. Seventy-nine male weaner sheep and 79 male weaner goats were monitored monthly for weight changes and fortnightly for trypanosomosis. The animals of each species were divided into two groups. Group 1 was an untreated control, while group 2 was treated with isometamidium chloride (Samorin) at 0.5 mg/kg body weight every 3 months. In both groups, trypanosome infections were detected by microscopy and treated with diminazene aceturate (Veriben), at 3.5 mg/kg body weight, when the packed cell volume reached 17% or below. The profitability of each drug regime was expressed as the marginal revenue over the cost of trypanosomosis (MOT). There were greater losses occasioned by trypanosomosis in sheep than in goats. Animals of both species on chemoprophylaxis gave higher MOT values than those that received chemotherapy on diagnosis. However, the MOT values for the chemoprophylactic regime were higher for sheep than for goats, suggesting that the greater weight gain by sheep more then compensated for the higher cost of maintaining them under high trypanosomosis challenge. Thus, a Galana rancher would be better off keeping sheep rather than goats, other things being equal. The marginal revenue per dose of Samorin was lower than that of Veriben for both species, suggesting that strategic use of Samorin timed to precede the peak incidence of trypanosomosis might be a better option to raise the overall profitability in sheep and goats.