Tuareg ethnoveterinary treatments of camel diseases in Agadez area (Niger)

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Abstract

For generations, nomadic herders have been learning to manage herd health, particularly in dromedaries because of their great value. Owing to the unavailability of veterinary services, camel herders in remote areas have been developing their own pharmacopoeia and veterinary techniques. The bleeding of sick animals is a common treatment, as Tuareg herders believe that ‘tainted blood' (izni) is the cause of many conditions. Several surgical techniques are also used, such as excision of calcified sublingual cord. The remedies mentioned in this survey are derived from Maerua crassifolia, Boscia senegalensis, Acacia raddiana, Cucumis prophetarum, Calotropis procera, Ricinus communis, Citrullus colocynthis, green tea, millet, tobacco and onions. Artificial elements are also used for treatment of animals: Powders collected from batteries, various haircare or skincare creams, crushed glass, insecticides or motor oil belong to their pharmacopoeia. This broadmindedness allows the introduction of modern veterinary medicine. Factors such as the lack of real production objectives constitute limits to this progress, however.

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