The department of animal husbandry will conduct a survey across Kullu to ascertain the extent of prevalence of enzootic bovine haematuria (EBH), a disease contracted by cattle in Rumsu and Shanghar villages in the district, due to the consumption of bracken, a type of fern that grows in the upper reaches of many districts in the state.
Deputy director of the department of animal husbandry, Kullu, Shekher Massey, on Tuesday said the survey would help the department identify the villages in which the cattle had been affected by EBH and provide required treatment.
He informed that the department would also conduct a massive, village-level campaign to educate people about the harmful effects of feeding bracken to the cattle, so that people could prevent the disease in future.
Kullu-based veterinary doctor Sanjeev Kumari said the symptoms of EBH were cancer in the urinary bladder, passage of blood in urine leading to loss in milk production.
She said animals affected by EBH would usually live only for a year or two after diagnosis. However, in rare cases, they might live up to four years, she said. Dr Kumari stated that diagnosis and treatment to affected animals would only provide relief from the constant suffering and marginally increase their life span, because the disease was incurable.
Dr Kumari informed that long-term consumption of brackern fern in small quantities would lead to the cattle contracting the disease. As the fern is abundantly available in most parts of the state, especially in higher reaches, it is used as fodder for the cattle.
As EBH had affected thousands of cattle not only in Kullu, but also in other parts of the state, during the last four years, she said more cattle might fall prey to the disease if preventive measures were not taken soon.