Lumpy Skin Disease

LSD is a viral disease of cattle and is typically characterised by nodules or lumps on the skin. After an incubation period of 2 – 4 weeks the animals develop a fever that could last from 4 – 14 days, accompanied by loss of appetite, hyper-salivation and excessive secretion from the nose.
The typical nodules of the skin start to appear about 4 – 10 days after the onset of the fever reaction and can vary from 5 – 50mm in diameter, and from a few to hundreds in number.
They occur anywhere on the skin, including the nose, udder and vulva in cows, the scrotum in bulls, as well as in the mouth.
Legs might become swollen and develop sores, the lymph nodes become enlarged and coughing can develop as a result of infection of the respiratory tract and lungs.
Flies, midges and other biting insects, including blood-sucking hard ticks, play an important role in the transfer of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) amongst cattle.
The ticks also act as ‘reservoirs’ for the virus, as it can persist in these external parasites during periods between epidemics.
The disease is of economic importance due to the damage it can cause to the skin, the reduced milk and meat production and lowered fertility of cattle.
It is a notifiable disease, which means the state veterinarian must be informed.
A definite diagnosis can only be confirmed by a veterinarian taking samples of the skin to a laboratory where they can identify the virus. This has to be done because there are other diseases which cause similar signs in cattle and therefore require different methods of control and treatment.
Prevention by vaccination is the cheapest and best method of controlling the disease.

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