Diseases Diseases

What Are The Causes Of Blackleg

Who killed the sheep?

Sheep are the most common target of blackleg disease, also known as Clostridium chauvoei. The blackleg disease was derived from the infected part of the sheep which is usually the leg, and the affected muscle which is dark in color. Meat, wool, cheese and skin (soft leather) are some of the products produced from sheep. Sheep wool is usually produced by sheering, but a bacterial disease called blackleg can also kill them at any age, mostly 2-6 months of age. Blackleg is a fatal disease for young cattle and sheep, that is seen as an acute local infection that can lead to rapid death due to blood poisoning.

Living inside the body

When a person has wounds, they are usually cleaned and have medication appled. When a person has a disease such as diabetes, leprosy or other sickness that is complicated when having a wound, medication is not enough because the wounds usually becomes more grave or serious. Sometimes, due to complications the doctors even recommend cutting off the part of the body infected by the wound.

In animals, like other diseases such as zoonoses, virus or bacteria, the Clostridium chauvoei or blackleg enters the body of the host through ingestion by the animal, enters the blood stream and lodges in muscle. When a blackleg or Clostridium chauvoei strikes a sheep or young cattle, it is normally linked to a wounding as a result of shearing, tail docking, castration or injury.  There can also be an infection of the navel soon after birth.   

The Main role of Clostridium chauvoei

When a person is being infected by a certain disease, the person usually gets sick, lethargic or lame despite the medication they take.  But unlike when a sheep or cattle have been infected by Clostridium chauvoei  the spores can remain dormant without causing ill-effects, until the disease stimulates due to excessive bruising or excessive exercise. When the leg of a sheep is being infected by the bacteria or blackleg, the leg may be swollen, hot and painful in the affected area. The sheep or cattle can also have a sudden onset of fever, depression, and loss of appetite and will only live for 48 hours after the symptoms appear.

Preventing or anti-blackleg

When a sheep or cattle is being infected by a Clostridium chauvoei, a treatment can be given such as large doses of antibiotics, but most of them are unsuccessful because it depends on the stage of the disease.  Like other viruses or diseases, people or animals, a vaccine has been developed to prevent such disease and protect the host from harm. In cases of Clostridium chauvoei, a sheep must be vaccinated 4-6 weeks after giving birth, annual boosters and continuous vaccine as per prescribe by the veterinarian. Consult a veterinary before injecting the vaccine so that the young cattle or sheep will be protected from their first vulnerable period of life, against Clostridium chauvoei or blackleg disease.

By Cryogene Clooney, published at 02/08/2012
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