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General guidelines for feeding of diseased buffaloes

Feeding of diseased buffalo is important for quick recovery of diseased animals and re-attainment of proper health and productivity, which in turn influence profitability of farmers. Bitter or unpalatable medications should not be given before feeding or in the ration of diseased animals. Oral supplementation is preferable to intravenous administration of nutrients if animal voluntarily consume adequate nutrient. The usual method of tempting sick ruminants to eat is to offer a variety of foods.

 

  • Buffaloes, that are marginally ill can sometimes be tempted to eat by offering them some freshly cut succulent grasses.
  • Fresh grass is very palatable and is often the last feed to be refused. 
  •  If painful oral or pharyngeal lesions are present, sweetened soups made of mashes of complete feeds can be fed.
  • Some sweetenening agents like molasses or gur can be added with diet or some chemical or herbal stimulant (e.g. Himalayan batisa) to appetite can be fed.
  • Addition of salt @ 0.2-0.5% of diet enhances palatability and stimulate intake. Administrations of B vitamins are useful in stimulating intake. Soybean or groundnut cake meal, vegetable oil (maximum 5% of DM), molasses, propylene glycol, and casein may be added to increase energy and protein density.
  • It is important to feed small quantities at a time to avoid gorging on highly palatable feeds. If an animal is unable to eat (due to pharyngitis, botulism causing paralysis of buccal muscles, etc.) or unwilling to eat and has normal GI function can be administered supplemental nutrients (complete feed pellets) as slurry through stomach tube.
  •  Intravenous alimentation is often required when other forms of supplementation are grossly inadequate or not possible in case of recumbency.
  • Buffaloes suffering from severe enteritis and diarrhea often need intravenous alimentation. The underlying causes of diarrhea (e.g. too much milk, infection, parasitism or change of feed) need to be determined and corrected. 
  • Dehydration should be corrected with electrolytes, and acidosis with bicarbonate.
  • Transfaunation from rumen of another animal may be helpful in animals that has been off fed or following toxic insult such as grain overload.
  • Microbial culture probiotics (e.g. Lactobacillus, yeast ) may also be fed to animals that has been off fed. 
  •  Pregnant buffaloes  in late gestation should be handled carefully and forced oral medication should be avoided, especially those buffaloes raised on pasture, because of their susceptibility to stress abortion. Medications needed at this time should be administered in feed or water, if possible. To compensate for reduced dry matter intake (DMI) during disease, nutrient concentration in diet should be increased on DM intake basis until buffaloes consuming feed on DM basis of 2% of BW or more.