Aphthous Fever, Foot and Mouth Disease or natively called as “Munh Khur” is a disease just after Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Syndrome) which can cause an abrupt halt to your international trade of dairy and meat industry and could put your country in OIE (Acronym for World Organisation for Animal Health) database as a country banned for animal and animal product movement across its borders. This was briefly all about the disease aftermaths to the nation as a whole.
What a farmer actually bears is another horrible story.
Viral diseases are actually always known not for their own direct pathogenesis but the guests they bring in their subjects. These guests are secondary bacterium and glandular damages. Ultimately placing you in a poor stance that even if you are able to reduce the viral count to zero say theoretically, you could not say the disease is over by now. Disease is still there with its whole horrible sequela and actually the war is yet to be won.
Dairy farmers are fooled when they see their FMD (foot and mouth disease) affected animals with their Foot and Mouth lesions cured and there is no actual secondary manifestations prevailing, milk returned almost to bearable feasibility, animal returned to its normal intake, no worries they say to their pals.
February, March, September and October are the FMD seasons. As soon as the summer commences, the animals are observed momentarily for an open wide mouth with a lots of salivation and unrest, and whats this? My beautiful Friesien which I recently bought through the best Cows or Heifer exporting company has turned to a “Mountainous Yak”!!!!!
Pardon me, Sir. Should I explain to you a little of the fact?? Your Cow would now onward would be called as a “Hairy Panter”. A cow/buffalo with long stinky hairs full of mud and marsh unable to withstand the environmental temperature and skin has totally lost her capability of thermoregulation and sweating and maybe some day when too stressed Pasteurella Multocida (H.S organism natively called as “Gal Ghotu”) will be activated, will find its way to the lungs and she will be found grunting to death in the yard.
Hairy Panter Syndrome, an FMD sequela less taught in Veterinary Schools as well as farmer trainings of Pakistan because of a trend of negligible follow-up in this field and urge of farmer that the vet must cure his animal on his first visit with 3 or 4 injections and secretly formulated electuary and never come back again until the disease appears again or animal gets on the verge of death.
Technically, Hairy Panters have following manifestations which are needed to be taken into consideration;
Abnormally Long Matted hairs.
Very hard skin which becomes evident when you try to open during postmortem.
Intravenous Injections become too much difficult due to the same reason of hardness.
Even on the arrival of summer the blood vessels remain constricted (one another reason of difficult I.V). No Vasodilation thus no or little thermoregulation.
Animals requirement for space tend to be increased, he feels stressed with other animals.
Animals often observed with very high temperature of 105 F or 106 F even in the cooler parts of the day.
Even after survival in the summer, animal keep all other above habits in the next winter including gaping of mouth etc.
Reduced udder development is also considered as one of the cause but some people think it as mal-functioned Thyroid Gland (another possible sequela of FMD also considered to be a cause of Hairy Panters Syndrome however addressing to thyroid gland problem shown no effect on the skin or hairs)
Indigenously prepared Copper or Zinc Applications or administrations have also no effect.
Due to over-working lungs get damaged. BRD (Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex) being another cause.
In the bigger dairy farms it becomes a source of confusion for the nutritionist to manage its energy levels thus effecting the nutrition of other normal animals and leading to nutritional haphazardness in the farm.
Ultimate decision should be made by farmers either to what extent their animals are affected, and keeping them any more will be feasible or wastage of capital and time. In the long run there is no future for the farmer bearing such animals until or unless herd is replaced randomly. Nearly 5-20 per cent animals become hairy panters severely or moderately so always a wise vaccination plan should be devised regarding FMD consisting of all possible strains in the region.
Lastly, be under-confident always about FMD even your animals is 100 per cent cleared with the conventional lesions, always be prepared for the sequela and replacing your herd or individual animals, always be ready for any sort of respiratory complication for your animals and keep your housing and nutritional requirements too much optimum for such animals.
The writer is veterinary doctor and associated with the Veterinarian (Health Sec), Sharif Dairy Farms.
He can be reached at <email@example.com>