Shock as mysterious illness kills cattle on Danskraal farm

Cattle are dropping down dead for no apparent reason on a farm in the Danskraal area.

Four cattle passed away on the farm H.Camp in the Danskraal area (H.Camp) last week without warning.

Then, today, 19 cattle died – a big shock to the farmer who describes this as a huge loss on his part. While the vet was busy with one of the calves, it also passed way, making the death toll for today 20.

All the cattle are kept in a ‘kraal’ at night and during the day, they roam free to graze. A lot of these cattle have been on the farm for about 12 years, so they are used to the environment. Farmer Mr Ernest Ntshangase says he is sad and confused as to why his cattle are dying off like this, and that he desperately needs to get to the root of the problem.

Government veterinarian Sajatha Harrylal commented, “It is a terrible loss for the farmer and not much is known at this stage.” A postmortem was performed on the calf that died this afternoon to try and determine what the cause of the epidemic might be. An odd phenomenon that was picked up was that the calf had water around its heart.

Vets have not ruled out poison.

Sajatha Harrylal added that, “Samples will be taken and sent for testing to find the cause of the problem.”

At the moment, they are busy treating the other cattle, young and old, with charcoal that binds possible poison in the stomach and helps to prevent damage (as a preventative measure). It is hoped this will stop other cattle from dying.

The cause of death is still unknown and further investigation will be carried out by the vet.

Louisa Deyzel

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