Animal health management practices in zero grazing dairy units in Arusha City, Tanzania
This study aimed at investigating the animal health management practices in zero grazing dairy units. A questionnaire was used to assess the veterinary practices including the administration of antibiotics and other veterinary inputs to promote growth, prevent and treat diseases. Sixty-five (65) respondents were involved in the study. All the respondents (100%) reported that they did not use growth promoters while 98.5% reported the use of prophylactic vaccines. No withdrawal periods were observed for all the prophylactic vaccines given to animals as instructed by Ward Livestock Officers that the vaccines were not harmful to the health of consumers. Of the 65 respondents, 95.4% (62) reported the use of therapeutic antibiotics. The withdrawal period for therapeutic antibiotics ranged from 1 to 3 days as reported by 60% of the respondents while 24.6% (16) reported the withdrawal period of between 4 to 7 days, 4.6% did not observe withdrawal periods and 6.2% depended on the instructions from the veterinarians. Of the respondents, 53.8% attended animal health management training and 59.6% kept no records for any health interventions made to their animals. Based on the observational findings, majority (84.6%) of the cow’s enclosures were of poor hygiene. Warm water was used by 87.7% of the respondents to wash the udders prior to milking, 93.8% used towels to drain water from the udder(s) and100% of farmers lubricated the teats with udder salve prior to milking. Poor hygiene of the enclosures and washing the udders instead of teats only may predispose animals to infectious disease and this may lead to increased use of antibiotics, which may result into emergence of antibiotic resistance. It is, therefore, recommended that farmers should be trained on best animal health management practices such as teat washing, removal of manure from the animal pens as preventive measures for infectious diseases as well as improving the health and productivity of their animals.
Keywords: Animal health, management practices, zero grazing, zoonotic infections, antibiotic resistance
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