Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is caused by the lumpy skin disease virus (i.e. capripoxvirus, poxviridae). LSD is transmitted by biting and blood-feeding insects, including biting flies and mosquitoes, though rare, direct transmission can occur between infected animals. The disease is usually transmitted to infection-free areas by transport of animals infested with vectors.
It Can also be spread by direct contact to the skin lesions, saliva, nasal discharge, milk, or semen of infected animals. The disease majorly affect the skin and is caused by lack of proper vaccination of animals rendering them susceptible to the disease attack. LSD is a disease that results in substantial economic losses in terms of dairy and meat production, and it also causes damages to hides.
Favourable conditions: The disease spread highly during dry weather but it can also occur in wet season.
Signs of infection
The most common signs of the disease include fever, raised firm and painful lumps on the skin, especially around the head, neck, genitals, limbs and tail of the animal.
As the disease progresses, deep scabs form on the lumps and secondary bacterial infection develops on the damaged skin.
Other signs of the disease include lameness and enlargement of the lymph nodes in the limbs.
In severe Infection cases, signs include depression, discharge of mucus and tears from the nose and eyes respectively, excess salivation that accompanies the appearance of skin nodules, loss of appetite, reluctance to move and weight loss.
Although few cattle die from the disease, many become debilitated and can remain in extremely poor body condition for up to six months. The lumps take several months to heal and permanently damage the hide.
Prevention tactics include quarantine (restrict animal movement from and out of affected zones), slaughter and bury affected animals and vaccination schemes in the events of outbreaks.
Lumpy skin disease Treatment and Control
Being a viral disease it can not be treated but can be prevented through timely animal vaccination. Annual vaccination is the most effective method in disease prone areas. Sick animals may be removed from the herd and given supportive treatment consisting of local wound dressing to discourage fly worry and prevent secondary infections.
Systemic antibiotics may be given for skin infections, cellulitis or pneumonia, and food and water should be made readily available. Local applications of insecticides to infected cattle have been made in an attempt to reduce further transmission
NB: Always engage your vet in the livestock disease management program at your farm, any illness should be reported so that appropriate measures such as quarantine, isolation etc can be executed at the right time to avoid disease spread.