Original Research

Bovine dermatophilosis: Awareness, perceptions and attitudes in the small-holder sector of north-west Zimbabwe

Daud N. Ndhlovu, Patrick J. Masika
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 83, No 1 | a1004 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v83i1.1004 | © 2016 Daud N. Ndhlovu, Patrick J. Masika | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2015 | Published: 09 March 2016

About the author(s)

Daud N. Ndhlovu, Department of Clinical Veterinary Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Patrick J. Masika, Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry, Cwaru, South Africa


A cross-sectional study was conducted to assess cattle owners’ awareness, perceptions, attitudes and drug-usage practices with regard to bovine dermatophilosis. Knowledge of these farmers’ attributes is important for animal health policy makers in their endeavours to provide optimum disease control strategies that are acceptable to the communities. Data on cattle owner awareness of bovine dermatophilosis, causes, treatment practices, perceptions about its importance and potential dangers to humans were collected using an intervieweradministered questionnaire. A total of 185 stockowners and cattle herds were involved in the study, with bovine dermatophilosis determined clinically by veterinarians. The results showed that 45.4% of the herds were clinically positive for dermatophilosis, and most farmers (79.5%) were generally aware that dermatophilosis was a cattle disease. In the event of a dermatophilosis outbreak in a herd, 74.1% of the farmers treated their cattle using antibiotics; the proportion of farmers treating cattle did not differ (p > 0.05) across the diptanks. Fifty-two farmers (52/63) indicated that drugs had to be administered four to seven times before an animal recovered from infection. Tetracyclines were the antibiotics used by most farmers (79.3%) to treat dermatophilosis, with 19.1% using penicillins. Concerns were raised by farmers about the effectiveness of these drugs against bovine dermatophilosis. Across the study sites, 48.6% and 27.6% of the farmers perceived bovine dermatophilosis to be an important disease at the herd and area level, respectively. A small proportion (12.4%) of the farmers regarded bovine dermatophilosis as a potentially zoonotic disease. The high level of stockowners’ general awareness, with regards to bovine dermatophilosis, sets ideal conditions for the mobilisation of farmers by animal health authorities in the control of the disease. However, further research needs to be undertaken to investigate effective antibiotic delivery protocols and the potential zoonotic impact of bovine dermatophilosis in a situation of high disease prevalence.


Exudatitive; Zoonotic; Prevalence; Epidermis; Antibiotics


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