An attempt to introduce a comprehensive disease control package on specific diseases of camels and evaluation of the control on camel productivity in Ngurunit, Marsabit District Northern Kenya
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A study was ca rri ed out in Nor the rn Kenya to find out the effects of simple Veterinaty drug package on the most importanc diseases of camels in the area. The study involved two groups of 60 camels each. The f irst group of camels owned by :3 nomadi c pastoralists consisternt of 1 bull , 33 adults above 4 years, 13 immatures aged between year and 4 years and 14 calves aged between 1 month and year. This herd recei ved Veterinary input in the form of a package. The second group of cume1s was purchased in the crea and cons isteel of 1 bun, 39 adults above 4 years, 19 immatures and 2 calves. This herd received no Veterinary input and formed the control group whose disease pi cture Bond production were compared to the experimental (treated) group. The two herds were kept in separate but adj acent bomas, herde d separate ly and drunk at separate wells. Occasionally, the treated herd was given mineral bricks in water while salty deposits were given to the control herd. The two herds were otherwise managed traditionally. Blood was collected in an anticoagulant from each camel for packed cell volume determination once every 2 months and for mouse inoculation for trypanosome detection once every 2 months for the first 4 months of the study. Serum for anti body detecti on of vari ous diseases was taken once every 2 months and paired serum samples from aborted animals was taken 4 days after an abortion and 4 weeks after that. At the end of the study, serum was t aken f rom all anirnal s of the untreated herd for Brucellosis studies; using Serum agglutination t-est, the Rose Denqal Plate Test and the Complement fixation test. Faeces for detection of egg levels of internal helminth parasites were taken monthly and culturing for 3rd staje infective larvae was done at approximately 4 months intervals. Ticks were counted from one side of the animal and picked from predilection sites once every manth to determine tick loads arnd to identify the ticks as to the species. Body measurenents were taken once every month from where body weights were estimated. Post mortems were done on most , animals which died during the course of the study and post mortem worm counts were done. The package of treatment involved treating against trypanosomiasis, once and later to animals wh ich were serologically positive. Camels VJere treated against internal parasites with an anthelmintic once every month during the rainy. season and approximate Iy once every 2 months during the dry season. Acaricide was also used week ly against ticks together with tick grease. Camels were also treated against mange with acaricide and vaccinated twice against anthrax'. Other condt t ions like wounds, coccidiosis and bloat were· treated as they occured. The results showed significant differences ~P< 0.01) in packed cell volumes between the treated and the untreated herd 2 months the treatment had began. Although trypanosomiasis point prevalence rates were low for both herds,the rate was inmost cases Tower for the treated herd. indirect haemagglutination test (IHA) showed more "positiveilreactiens than other tests used , and there was no patency of infection detected by mice. Peaks of infection were observed using (IHA) results which coincided with the rainfall. The study on internal helminths showed 2 peaks of strongyle egg levels coinciding with the heavy rains , and significant differences (P< 0.01) were observed between the treated and the untreated herd after the cnset of treatment. The effects of age of camels on strongly egg loads were also ShOwn, with incidence increasing with age. Results from, la"val cultures and D' Ost mortem worm counts showed that Haemonchus was the most urport ant pathogen affecting the camels. Tick loads of the treated and uilt,reatedherds also differed significantly (P< 0.01) after treatment began. The effects of age on tick loads were however net observed and reasons are suggested. Brucellosis studies in the untreated herd showed low prevalence of the disease. The treated herd had, fewe r abortions than the untreated herd and SOnlE' causes of abortions were suspected. The mean body weights of the two herds did not differ significantly (P > 0.01) although the mean weights of adult camels in the "Red" herd were higher than those of the "Blue" herd. r~ore births and fewer deaths were recorded in the treated herd and the reverse, less births and more deaths in the untreated herd were observed. Causes of deaths are also given. In terms of numbers. the treated herd had an increase of 18.3% and the untreated herd had a reduction of 5% in one year. , The overall benefit of the drug package was considered tc be more births, fewer deaths, fewer abortionsin the treated herd resulting in a herd growth while the untreated herd showed a decrease in the herd. From these studies, it was recommended that the control of camel disease s in Marsabi t shaul d include strategic dosing of animals with anthelmintics and frequent control of ticks with acaricides. It was also recommended that good mandgement and predator control ,would help raise productivity in nomadic camel herds. At the same time, markets for camels should be sought so as to increase their offtake without thei r damaging the environment.