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Livestock Diseases in Sub-Himalayan Temperate Region – a Garrett’s Ranking Analysis

H. R. Meena Hira Ram Pankaj Seth
Vol 2(1), 160-172
DOI-

Livestock rearing is an integral component of the rural economy of sub-Himalayan region and it acquires special importance in mountain farming system. Rearing of livestock’s in the hilly region is more difficult in comparison to the plain areas. Some of the basic problems for animal rearing in hilly regions, like shortage of feed and fodder, low productivity of animals and poor conception rate of the artificial insemination have been reported as major problem in the past. Fifteen clusters of villages were identified and selected for the purpose of study. In general, these villages are located at 32.6oN (latitude); 76.3oE (longitude); 1,290.8 m (altitude). The area is characterized by mild summer and moderate to severe winter having the mean monthly minimum temperature varying from 5.0±0.9 oC in January to 20.4±1.2 oC in June. Garett’s ranking technique was followed to analyse the particular problem or disease perceived by the farmers as well as identify by the multidiscipline teams in livestock. In cattle, highest incidence of haematuria (16.74%) was recorded followed by repeat breeding (14.97%). Whereas in case of buffalo emaciation / weakness (17.24%), GI parasitic infections (16.09%), and tick/ lice infestation (16.09%) were the major problems and having 1st, 2nd, and 3rd ranks, respectively. Parasitic infections (36.84%), diarrhoea/ dysentery (31.57%) and tick / lice infestation (14.03%) were recorded as major problem in goats. The major disease/ disorder observed in bullocks were haematuria (28.23%), urinary problem (24.70%) and parasitic infestation (16.47 %) and ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. In the horse/ ponies parasitic infestation (37.93%) followed by weakness (24.13%) and tick/ lice infestation (17.24%) and Parasitic infections (31.81%) followed by mange (27.27%) were the major health problem in the pet’s animals having 1st and 2nd ranks. The study in lighted the animal health scenario in the region.


Keywords : livestock farmers Livestock farming animal diseases Constraints Hills

Introduction

Livestock rearing is an integral component of the rural economy of Uttarakhand state and it acquires special importance in mountain farming system (Singh et. al., 2004). Based on the prevailing geography, the whole state has three clear cut divisions namely, tarai, bhanwar and hills. However, rearing of livestock’s in the hilly region is more difficult in comparison to the rest part of the state. Some of the basic problems for animal rearing in hilly regions, like shortage of feed and fodder, low productivity of animals and poor conception rate of the artificial insemination have been reported as major problem in the past (Singh and Tulachan, 2001; Meena, et al.2007; Paswan et al,2008; Meena, et al 2008). However, there are still many untouched aspects in the animal husbandry sector of this area, which needs serious understanding and follow ups for improvement in health and productivity of animals. Therefore, considering all these facts, a survey was conducted to study, document and rank the prevalent health and reproductive problems of animal in the sub Himalayan region of Uttarakhand state.

Research Methodology       

The State

Uttarakhand, state lies between 28o 53′ 24”~31o 27′ 50” N and 77o 34′ 27”~81o 02′ 22” E. It occupies 17.3% of India’s total land and about 6.0 million (94.4 per sq km) population residing in the state (Sati, 2005). Of its total geographical area, about 47,325 sq km is covered by mountains, while 3,800 sq km is Tarai plains. The mid Himalayan region (at a height of 1000 to 3500 m) contains many peaks of mountains, meadows, rivers, streams, charming valleys and fertile lands as well. The Tarai plains are 150 km long and 40 km wide, and are about 230 m above from sea level. The entire region of Uttarakhand is geographically important and comprises of the two distinct landscapes i.e. the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalaya. Mixed farming system has been the choice of farmers in the mountainous agro-ecosystem, as livestock are integral components in the hilly agriculture (Chander and Mukherjee, 1995). The livestock being reared in the region are hill cattle, cross-bred cattle, buffalo, goats, sheep, horse and ponies.

Study Area

Fifteen clusters of villages Pokhari, Piotholi, Gahna, Darim, Badat, Harinagar, Garhgoan, Simayal, Mukteswar, Beethickhali, Supi, Khafli, Buri bana, Dhana chulli and Kasialack were identified and selected for the purpose of study. In general, these villages are located at 32.6oN (latitude); 76.3oE (longitude); 1,290.8 m (altitude). The area is characterized by mild summer and moderate to severe winter having the mean monthly minimum temperature varying from 5.0±0.9 oC in January to 20.4±1.2 oC in June. Similarly, the mean maximum temperature in the area ranges from 14.7±1.8 oC in January to 29.6±3.4 oC in June. The average monthly rainfall ranged from a minimum of 26.5±29.4 mm in October to a maximum 655.2±175.8 mm in August and the relative humidity ranges from 35.8% in the months of April to 77.6% in August.

Selection of Villages and Organization of Animal Health Camps

For the collection of relevant information’s with reference to human population, livestock population, animal husbandry practices and veterinary inputs, linkages between the IVRI Mukteswar and the state departments as well as other working NGOs in the area were established first. Then a survey was conducted at the basic household’s level, which represents the smallest unit in a village. Three hundred households from different nearby villages were selected by random sampling technique and the farmers were inquired through personal interview based on a questionnaire prepared for documentation of existing animal husbandry practices and problems faced by the farmers.

On the basis of prevailing animal population in different villages, fifteen clusters were identified (one cluster represented four to five villages) for the organization of animal health as well as vaccination camps. These camps were organized during 2004-2009; with the help of multi-disciplinary group of scientists specialized in animal health and production. The livestock owners attending these camps along with animals were also interviewed for collection of information/ data generation on animal health problems, diseases and existing managemental practices. Meteorological data were collected from the meteorological observatory IVRI, Mukteswar, District Nainital (Uttarakhand).

The detail information generated in the process was analyzed to record the occurrence of a disease or health problem, in term of frequency or percentage (%) and according to prevalence rate, rank order was given for a particular problem or disease.

Garett’s ranking technique was followed to analyse the particular problem or disease perceived by the farmers in livestock. The farmers were asked to rank the factors that were limiting the livestock production. These orders of merit were transformed into units of scores by using the following formula.

100 (Rij – 0.50)

Per cent position = _________

Nj

Where,

Rij – Rank given for the ith factor by the jth individual

Nj – Number of factor ranked by the jth individual.

The percent position is converted into scores by referring to the Table given by Garett and Woodworth (1969). Then for each factor the scores of the individual respondents were added together and divided by the total number of respondents for whom scores were added. These mean scores for all the factors were arranged in descending order and the most influencing factors were identified through the ranks assigned.

Results and Discussion

Livestock Population

In the study area, cattle population (4,341) was recorded maximum as compared to other livestock species (table-1). Buffalo population (1,936) in study area is less because of prevailing adverse climate condition and lack of feed and fodder. Sheep and goat population (3,481) seemed to be low also and farmers experiencing much problem in small ruminant production because of the different rules imposed by forest department which restrict the free grazing of these animals. Equines, mostly ponies are the means of transport in the hilly terrain and farmers use them for transportation of farm produce from field to road sides.

Table- 1: Livestock population in the study area

Name of the cluster Cattle Buffalo Male * Sheep/ Goat Equine/Ponies Dog/ rabbits
Pokhari 327 186 219 246 18 47
Piotholi 174 42 114 207 6 34
Gahna 581 329 136 272 27 102
Darim 558 338 116 368 3 114
Badat 149 56 49 88 6 31
Harinagar 155 43 138 663 22 98
Garhgoan 230 88 92 131 7 32
Simayal 192 56 68 166 8 35
Mukteswar 130 17 7 143 9 318
Beethickhali 243 84 64 123 16 56
Supi 223 58 16 156 14 38
Khafli 197 67 48 258 18 76
Buri bana 317 132 78 178 21 25
Dhana chulli 567 273 204 273 52 29
Kasialack 298 167 47 209 43 43
Total 4341 1936 1396 3481 270 1078

*Cattle and Buffalo

Species Wise Rank Order of Diseases/ Disorders

Disease/ Disorder Diagnosed in Cattle

In the animal health camps (15) organized at different villages, a total of 227 cattle were brought by the farmers which were subsequently examined and treated by the animal health experts. In cattle, highest incidence of haematuria (16.74%) was recorded followed by repeat breeding (14.97%). Where as urinary problem and parasitic infestation was 3rd and 4th rank. Anoestrus (8.37%) in cow ranks fifth and is also a very important disease which is the cause of huge economic losses in the region. Other Disease/ disorder observed were emaciation / weakness, tick / lice infestations, mastitis, tympaitis / bloat, warts, abortion, diarrhoea / dysentery and mange as depicted in table no. 2. Fetal anomalies and monstrocities of various kind causing dystocia in cattle (Arthur et al., 1989, Shukla and Chauhan 2004) also reported by the other researchers.

Table-2: Rank order of disease/ disorder in cattle

Sl. No. Disease/ disorder diagnosed Cattle (N=227) Garrett’s

Mean Score

Rank
1 Haematuria 38 (16.74) 63.65 I
2 Repeat breeding 34 (14.97) 58.17 II
3 Urinary Problem 29 (12.77) 57.89 III
4 Parasitic infection 26 (11.45) 56.99 IV
5 Anoestrus 19 (8.37) 54.93 V
6 Emaciation / weakness 17 (7.48) 39.53 VI
7 Tick / lice infestations 17 (7.48) 39.53 VI
8 Mastitis 15 (6.60) 32.31 VII
9 Tympaitis / bloat 11 (4.84) 29.13 VIII
10 Warts 9 (3.96) 28.17 IX
11 Abortion 7 (3.08) 26.14 X
12 Diarrhoea / dysentery 5 (2.20) 24.12 XI

Values in parenthesis indicate percentage (%) incidence

Disease/ Disorder Diagnosed in Buffaloes

In the animal health camps, a total of 87 buffaloes were brought by the farmers which were subsequently examined and treated by the animal health experts. It is also to mention that population of buffaloes are less in the study area. In case of buffalo emaciation / weakness (17.24%), GI parasitic infections (16.09%), and tick/ lice infestation (16.09%) were the major problems and having 1st, 2nd, and 3rd ranks, respectively. Repeat breeding (13.79%), anoestrus (12.64%), tympaitis / bloat (5.74%), abortion (4.59%) diarrhoea/ dysentery (4.59%), mange infestation (4.59%) were other common diseases/ disorder in the buffaloes as indicated in table no.3. In case of buffaloes, haemachuria, urinary problem and teat warts were not observed even they are being reared along with cattle in the same herd/ shed. Bovine mastitis is an important and a persistent infection in the buffalo population producing economic losses; drop in milk production, increased cost of treatment and culling process (Dhakal and Thapa, 2002 and Singh and Bansal, 2004).

Table-3: Rank order of disease/ disorder in buffaloes

Sl. No. Disease/ disorder diagnosed Buffalo (N=87) Garrett’s Mean Score Rank
1 Emaciation / weakness 15 (17.24) 53.60 I
2 Parasitic infections 14 (16.09) 47.81 II
3 Tick/ lice infestation 14 (16.09) 41.00 III
4 Repeat breeding 12 (13.79) 40.32 IV
5 Anoestrus 11 (12.64) 40.25 V
6 Tympaitis / bloat 5 (5.74) 34.46 VI
7 Abortion 4 (4.59) 34.52 VII
8 Mastitis 4(4.59) 34.52 VII
9 Diarrhoea/ dysentery 4 (4.59) 34.52 VII
10 Mange 4 (4.59) 34.52 VII

Values in parenthesis indicate percentage (%) incidence

Disease/ Disorder Diagnosed in Goat

Survey revealed that in the area of study, table 4 indicated that parasitic infections (36.84%), diarrhoea/ dysentery (31.57%) and tick / lice infestation (14.03%) were recorded as major problem in goats. However, mange, emaciation/ weakness and abortion were other disease / disorder observed during the health camps. Heavy infection of gastrointestinal parasites in small ruminants is responsible for ill health and production losses (Ram, 2007). Epidemiological study from different part of the country revealed 67.4% incidence of strongyle worm in small ruminant in Jammu (Khajuria and Kapoor, 2003, 58.8% in Kashmir (Nasreen et.al.,2005); 94% in Himachal Pradesh (Jithenderan, 1998); 77.3% in Sikkim (Pal and Bandyopadhyay, 2004) and 58.5% in Tamil Nadu (Balasubramanian et. al., 2001). Inadequate nutrition coupled with high levels of parasite infestation contributes to high reproductive and productive wastage in small ruminant herds regardless of size and production system (Preston and Allonby, 1979; ILCA, 1988; ILCA, 1989; ILCA, 1990).

Table-4: Rank order of disease/ disorder diagnosed in goats

Sl. No. Disease/ disorder diagnosed Goat (N=57) Garrett’s

Mean Score

Rank
1 Parasitic infections 21 (36.84) 59.93 I
2 Diarrhoea/ dysentery 18 (31.57) 35.57 II
3 Tick / lice infestation 8 (14.03) 20.93 II
4 Mange 4 (7.01) 18.86 IV
5 Emaciation/ weakness 4 (7.01) 18.86 IV
6 Abortion 2 (3.50) 12.64 V

Values in parenthesis indicate percentage (%) incidence

Disease/ Disorder Diagnosed in Bullocks

A total of 85 bullocks were brought by the farmers in animal health camps organized. The major disease/ disorder observed in bullocks were haematuria (28.23%), urinary problem (24.70%) and parasitic infestation (16.47 %) and ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively as shown in table 5. Further, emaciation/ weakness (9.41%), diarrhoea (7.05%), tympaitis/bloat (7.05 %) and tick infestation (4.70 %) were other health problems in these animals. In the area of study, haematuria is the most common problems in cattle bullock whereas some case of female cattle also observed. In case of buffalo whether it is male or female no single case of haematuria was observed, even both species cattle and buffalo were living in same conditions. Farmers also offering the same kind of feed and fodder to both species of animals but cattle are allowed more frequently for grazing in forest pasture land and buffaloes are not allowed to graze to graze that extent.

In India, most of the heamaturia cases are observed in Himalayan region and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) a very common grass available in this region has been considered as causative agent for the same. Some of the researcher from other country also reported that chronic enzootic haematuria (CEH) is a severe syndrome due to prolonged ingestion of bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), the only plant proven to cause cancer in animals (Smith, 1997). This syndrome occurs in several areas worldwide and is very common in southern Italy where bracken fern is widespread (Borzacchiello, et. al., 2003). In an epidemiological study association between CEH and the level of pasture infestation with bracken fern has been demonstrated (Pinto et al., 2000). It is well known that this plant contains toxic compounds like ptaquiloside (PT) and quercetin, which have mutagenic and carcinogenic effects, mainly in the urinary bladder (Borzacchiello, et.al, 2003). PT is a sesquiterpenoid glycoside capable of inducing clastogenesis in cell cultures and also with mutagenic and carcinogenic activity (Smith, 1997; Carvalho, 2006).

Table-5: Rank order of disease/ disorder diagnosed in bullocks

Sl. No Disease/ disorder diagnosed Bullock (N=85) Garrett’s Mean

Score

Rank
1 Haemachuria 24 ( 28.23) 37.10 I
2 Urinary problem 21 ( 24.70) 34.41 II
3 Parasitic infection 14 (16.47 ) 29.02 III
4 Emaciation / weakness 8 (9.41) 25.31 IV
5 Diarrhoea / dysentery 6 (7.05 ) 22.14 V
6 Tympaitis / bloat 6 (7.05) 22.14 V
7 Tick / lice infestation 4 (4.70 ) 19.14 VI

Values in parenthesis indicate percentage (%) incidence

Disease/ Disorder Diagnosed in Horse / Ponies

Ponies are the major means of transport in the Kumaon hill of sub-Himalayan region. As indicated in table 6, A total of 29 ponies were brought by the farmers in the health camp

Table-6: Rank order of disease/ disorder diagnosed in horse / ponies

Sl. No Disease/ disorder observed and diagnosis Horse / Ponies

(N=29)

Garrett’s

Mean Score

Rank
1 Parasitic infection 11 (37.93) 43.06 I
2 Emaciation / weakness 7 (24.13) 35.12 II
3 Tick / lice infestation 5 (17.24) 29.09 III
4 Urinary problem 4 (13.79) 28.87 IV
5 Mange 2 (6.89) 19.90 V

Values in parenthesis indicate percentage (%) incidence

The major diseases/ disorder observed in the horse/ ponies were parasitic infestation (37.93%) followed by weakness (24.13%) and tick/ lice infestation (17.24%). Urinary problem and mange infestation were also observed in these animals. The least health care to these animals by the farmers and poor management was also observed. Owners of these animals were not providing even regular deworming.

Disease/ Disorder Diagnosed in Pet Animals

In the Kumaon hill almost every family have one dog and a cat in the house and they are integral part of rural life. Farmers are rearing these pet animals in hill areas from time immemorial. The main reason for pet animals rearing in the region seems to be the indication and help received by the farmers for presence/ attack of the wild animals. Dogs particularly Bhutia breed has been considered as a very good guard for domestic animals when they are in grazing in forest land. In the Kumaon hill region, farmers do not provide specific feed to the pets and they are provided only the surpluses and/or left over foods of the family members. Parasitic infections (31.81%) followed by mange (27.27%) were the major health problem in the pet’s animals having 1st and 2nd ranks. In pets, diarrhoea/dysentery (15.90%), tick/lice infestation (13.63%), tympaitis/ bloat (6.81%) and emaciation/ weakness (4.54%) were other notable problem observed in the animal health camps as indicated in table 7.

Table-7: Rank order of disease/ disorder diagnosed in dogs and cats

Sl. No Disease/ disorder observed and diagnosis Pet animals (Dogs / Cats)

(N=44)

Garrett’s Mean Score Rank
1 Parasitic Infection 14 (31.81) 69.09 I
2 Mange 12 (27.27) 68.47 II
3 Diarrhoea / dysentery 7 (15.90) 55.43 III
4 Tick / lice Infestation 6 (13.63) 45.16 IV
5 Tympaitis/ bloat 3 (6.81) 31.18 V
6 Emaciation / weakness 2 (4.54) 29.34 VI

Values in parenthesis indicate percentage (%) incidence

Acknowledgements

Authors are thankful to the Director, Indian Veterinary Research Institute for providing necessary facilities and financial support for conducting this study. Authors are also thankful of hill farmers of Kumaon region for participation in the study.

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