poisoning" kill Yaks in Bumthang
year on December, Bumthang's estimated 5,000 yaks are beginning the descent
over 1,000 metres to the winter grazing grounds in the lower valleys. Educating
Yak herders is one of the preventive measures against "chuh dug" But some
of the animals will not complete the journey, having fallen prey to what
is known as chuh dug or "water poisoning".
winter at least a dozen yaks died of chhu dug in the dzongkhag which, according
to the regional veterinary laboratory (RVL) in Bumthang, is considered
more fatal and has a higher mortality rate than other livestock diseases,
including the foot and mouth disease (FMD). An team of experts has visited
upper Chokortoe to tell yak herders to take necessary precautions. The
team has also visited Ura and Chumey.
caused by a toxic algae
expert said that the poisoning was caused by a toxic algae called cyanobacteria,
present in stagnant water. During migration to the lower valleys, water
becomes scarce and yaks invariably drink from stagnant lakes, ponds, streams,
and marshy areas where the poisonous blue-green algae blooms. The poison
emitting condition of the algae is usually triggered by the first frost.
The toxic compounds released by the algae affects the nerves and liver
and the animal suffers from paraplegia (paralysis of hindquarters), abortion
in pregnant animals, dehydration, diarrhea, and ultimately death.
percent of the yaks that drink the poisonous water die," the expert said.
Researchers at RVL are of the opinion that the poisonous algae probably
lives at an altitude between 2,800 metres to 3,000 metres. Researchers
said that, while the toxic agent had been identified, there was no past
literature on treatment and prevention measures as there was no record
of the disease in other yak countries.
yaks are treated with antitoxins, a mixture of certain non-patent drugs,
antibiotics and vitamins as part of a preliminary treatment regime, based
on symptoms, established by the RVEC. As preventive measures veterinarians
are also educating the yak herders on management of yak husbandry, avoiding
and fencing doubtful drinking grounds and providing an alternative clean
also die from the Gid disease and plant poisoning
Gid disease is communicated to the yak through the excreta of dogs. It
is a kind of tape worm that grows into a cyst (Coenurus Cerebralis) either
in the brain or the spinal cord of the yak. Deworming and sterilising yak
dogs and burning or burying the heads of Yaks that succumb to the disease
are some of the preventive methods that have been initiated.Research in
Merak found that there were about five known poisonous plants causing the
premature death of the yak. These plants contained toxic PyrosIlizidine
Alkaloid which 'affects the liver causing slow death. The yak consumed
these plants for lack of any other vegetation during the severe winter
by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper
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