Field survey of major infectious and reproductive diseases responsible for mortality and productivity losses of ruminants amongst Nigerian Fulani pastoralists
Animal disease constitutes a major hurdle to improved livelihoods in rural Nigeria through the challenges of loss of productivity, livestock morbidity and mortality including reproductive losses.
Background: Animal disease constitutes a major hurdle to improved livelihoods in rural Nigeria through the challenges of loss of productivity, livestock morbidity and mortality including reproductive losses. In order to design and implement impactful interventions, baseline data on the causes of such losses are needed. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to carry out targeted field surveys, including interviews with ruminant farmers, veterinary professionals and other stakeholders in livestock farming to establish the main causes of disease and mortality including abortions in cattle and small ruminants (SR).
Methods: Northern Nigeria was selected because the majority of the nation’s ruminants belong to pastoralists who are primarily resident in this region. Seven states; Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara states were surveyed. The responses were collated and a comprehensive descriptive analysis was carried out.
Results: Average cattle herd sizes ranged from 28 in Zamfara to 103 in Nasarawa; and from 27 in Kano to 128 in Sokoto for SR. In cattle, Trypanosomosis (with 4.27% mortality rate), foot and mouth disease (3.81%), nutritional insufficiency (1.93%) and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP; 1.44%) were the top four diseases/health problems that resulted in the highest mortality due to diseases within each state surveyed. For SR, trypanosomosis (with 6.85% mortality rate), Peste des Petits Ruminants (4.99%), orf (3.06%), foot rot (2.97%) and foot and mouth disease (2.94%) were the most important diseases responsible for the highest number of mortalities and culling for disease.
Conclusions: The study revealed that there are significant losses via mortalities due to the occurrence of disease amongst the ruminant populations countrywide, as evidenced by the high overall mortality rates of both cattle (15.3%) and small ruminants (30.9%) from various diseases. Also, reproductive losses of 8.7% and 16.6% in cattle and SR, respectively, were recorded amongst the farmers involved.
Header photo: Dr Bashir Bolajoko