Journal of the South African Veterinary Association
On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
KARIMURIBO, E D; SWAI, E S and KYAKAISHO, P K. Investigation of a syndrome characterised by passage of red urine in smallholder dairy cattle in East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2008, vol.79, n.2, pp. 89-94. ISSN 2224-9435.
A case-control study was carried out to investigate a syndrome in smallholder dairy cattle in East Usambara Mountains characterised by urination of clotted blood. Smallholder dairy farms with the problem (cases) were matched with nearest farms without the problem (controls). In total, 30 farmers from Mbomole (19), Shebomeza (9) and Mlesa (2) villages in Amani division participated in the study. Using a structured questionnaire, information on risk factors associated with conditions characterised by passage of red urine in cattle was collected. In addition, serum samples from 80 smallholder dairy animals were collected and submitted for serodiagnosis of leptospirosis and babesiosis by microscopic agglutination test (MAT) and an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. Laboratory analysis showed that the seroprevalence of leptospirosis and babesiosis was 21.3% and 46.3%, respectively and there was no significant difference between 'case' and 'control' farms (P>0.05), hence the occurrence of urination of clotted blood syndrome in Amani was not explained. However, bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) was found to be ubiquitous in the area, and also found to be widespread in all areas used as sources of animal fodder. Given the presence and distribution of bracken ferns and clinical signs and post-mortem lesions described by informants, chronic bracken-fern poisoning is more likely to be associated with the syndrome affecting animals in the study area. However, further investigation is required to confirm this observation so that appropriate control strategies can be devised.
Keywords : clotted blood syndrome; East Usambara; smallholder dairy cattle; Tanzania; urine.