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A cross-sectional survey of population demographics, the prevalence of major disease conditions and reason-specific proportional mortality of domestic cattle in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Hidano, A., Dukpa, K., Rinzin, K., Sharma, B., Dahal, N. and Stevenson, M.A. (2016) A cross-sectional survey of population demographics, the prevalence of major disease conditions and reason-specific proportional mortality of domestic cattle in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 130 . pp. 1-9.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2016.05.012
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Abstract

We describe the population demographics, rudimentary measures of reproductive performance, the prevalence of major disease conditions and reason-specific proportional mortality for cattle owned by villagers in 16 dzongkhags (districts) in Bhutan based on the findings of a cross-sectional study carried out between March 2012 and May 2014. The animal health issues that were of concern for livestock owners are also identified. Study households were selected using a stratified, two-stage cluster design. Districts (dzongkhags) formed the strata. Villages within dzongkhags were the first sampling stage and households within villages the second sampling stage. All cattle within each selected household comprised the study population.Questionnaires were collected from 409 households with 1480 standing cattle. A total of 71.0% (95% CI 67.9%-74.1%) of the standing cattle population were female and the median age of cattle was 5 years (Q25 3 years; Q75 7 years). Exotic breeds of cattle (Jerseys, Brown Swiss, and their crosses) comprised 41.4% of the cattle population with local breeds making up the remainder. Although exotic breeds of cattle had a significantly lower age at first calving (median 4 years) compared to local breeds (median 4.8 years) there was no significant difference in the number of calving events per cow for the two breed groups. Diarrhoea was the most prevalent disease condition with 2.8 (95% CI 1.5-4.6) cases per 100 animals followed by bovine enzootic haematuria with 1.9 (95% CI 1.0-3.3) cases per 100 animals. The most frequently cited cause of death was misadventure (proportional mortality 26.2%, 95% CI 15.7%-39.2%) followed by old age (17.8%, 95% CI 9.5%-29.4%). A lack of access to adequate fodder and pasture was the animal health issue that was cited by interviewees most frequently.We provide no evidence that exotic breeds of cattle have superior reproductive performance compared with local breeds. The major cattle health concern cited by interviewees, lack of access to fodder, is likely to contribute to suboptimal productivity and the relatively high incidence of bovine enzootic haematuria in this population. We propose that a prospective cohort study of Bhutanese cattle is warranted to more fully elucidate factors affecting the productivity and longevity of cattle in Bhutan.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2016 Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/31758
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