Herding conditions related to infectious keratoconjunctivitis in semi-domesticated reindeer: a questionnaire-based survey among reindeer herders
AuthorTryland, Morten; Stubsjøen, Solveig Marie; Ågren, Erik Olof; Johansen, Bernt; Kielland, Camilla
Background: Infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) in Eurasian semi-domesticated reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) is a multifactorial disease, associated to infectious agents such as Cervid herpesvirus 2 (CvHV2) and various species of bacteria, but environmental factors may also be necessary to initiate the disease. Little effort seems to have been invested in addressing the herder`s experience with this disease. An information letter with a link to an online questionnaire was sent to 410 herding community representatives in Norway and Sweden. Results: Sixty-three herders responded, 76 % of these having reindeer in Norway and 24 % in Sweden. Thirty-three herders (55 %) responded that they had seen this disease during the preceding year (2010) and 23 (38 %) that they had seen it in previous years (2009 or earlier). The majority (67 %) claimed that only 1–5 animals in their herd were affected at one time, whereas three herders (7 %) responded that more than 30 animals had been affected. No environmental factor could be singled out as significantly associated with the appearance of IKC, but when categorizing the number of contact herds for each herd (i.e. sharing pastures, corrals etc.), IKC was observed more often in herds with many (>25) contact herds. The questionnaire revealed that a veterinarian is not always available for reindeer herders, but also that a veterinarian seldom is contacted for this disease. None of the herders practiced isolation of a diseased animal from the rest of the herd when IKC was observed. Slaughter was the action most commonly initiated by the herders in response to IKC, whereas the veterinarian usually prescribed antibiotics, usually an ophthalmic ointment, alone or combined with systemic treatment. The herders claimed that IKC and other diseases had less importance than predators concerning loss of animals. Conclusions: IKC is to be considered a common disease, observed in 55 % of the herds (2010), typically affecting 1–5 animals, although larger outbreaks (>30 animals) occur. The herders usually slaughtered affected animals rather than consulting a veterinarian for medical treatment.
Open Access RoMEO green journal DOI: 10.1186/s13028-016-0203-x