Home Feeding During Diarrhoea

Visitors Counter

Print E-mail

Feeding during diarrhoea

Dehydration and acidosis are the major causes of death in young animals with diarrhea. Dehydration status and water and electrolyte intake should be monitored carefully in sick animals.

  • Sick animal should be offered plain water and water fortified with salt and electrolytes.
  • Oral electrolyte solution, in general, should contain sodium, potassium and chloride and can be prepared by dissolving 90 g sodium chloride and 30 g potassium chloride in 20 litre water.
  • If the animal does not correct its fluid deficit voluntarily, electrolyte solution can be administered by stomach tube if rumen motility is present.
  • In buffaloes with poor rumen motility intravenous electrolyte solution should be administered. Severely diarrheic animals are often acidotic and hence an alkalinizing agent (bicarbonate or metabolizable bases like lactate, acetate, propionate, citrate, and gluconate) should also be administered.
  • For mild to moderate dehydration, oral administration will work but if severe dehydration, parenteral administration is needed.

Studies have shown that calves can gain weight at a normal rate on appropriate diets (whole  milk plus appropriate oral electrolyte solution), despite the presence of severe diarrhea.

  • The ideal source of milk for a sick calf is a buffalo and milk replacers are usually not suitable for diarrheic patient.
  • Diarrheic calves those are alert and bright should be allowed to continue to suckle and additionally oral electrolyte solutions should be fed.
  • Those diarrheic calves are in good body condition but depressed and reluctant to suck should be held off feed (milk should be withheld for 24 h) and rehydrated with oral electrolyte solutions. As they become stronger and willing to suck milk can be gradually introduced (@5% of BW/d on day 2, and gradually increased to 10% of BW /d over next 2-3 days). 
  • Oral electrolyte solution should be fed separately throughout the diarrheic period.
  • For oral feeding acetate containing electrolyte preparations instead of bicarbonate or citrate containing solutions are preferred, as it does not interfere with digestibility of mik.
  • In very weak calves, the gut become atonic; fluid deposited in the rumen may ferment and cause bloat. 
  •  Diarrheic calves those are willing to suck but became weak due to withhelding of milk by farmers need to be gradually reintroduced to milk.
  • Some calves usually have poor tolerance to milk and their condition deteriorates when they are on milk and some calves refuse milk. Such calves should be fed high energy (containing glucose 70 g/L) oral electrolyte preparations which supply 70-80% of maintenance energy requirements when fed @ 2L per feeding three times a day. Such calves may also be given intravenous feeding.
  • Use of small amounts of oral nutrients in addition to parenteral nutrition helps in regeneration of intestinal epithelium, maintenance of secretion of enzymes and prevents recurrence of diarrhea on reintroduction of complete enteral feeding.
  • Depressed lactase activity has been demonstrated in chronic diarrheic calves. Such calves can be given commercial lactase or fed with non lactose commercial enteral solutions containing glucose, sucrose, maltose, fructose, protein and fat. Starch and sugar containing enteral solutions are often poorly digested by calves, where digestion is impaired and hence lead to diarrhea. Under such instances elemental (predigested) enteral solutions should be fed. Elemental diets are hyperosmotic and contain amino acids and/or short chain peptides, oligosaccharides, monosaccharides, medium chain triglycerides and are well tolerated by calves.
  • In calves where digestion is impaired, lipase secretion is decreased; such calves absorb medium chain triglycerides more rapidly than long chain fatty acids. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides and 15-30 ml four times daily to calves can be fed after mixing with milk to meet their energy need partially.
  • Increasing dietary protein level can partially improve performance in buffaloes affected with GI parasitic infections.
  • Routine deworming and feeding condensed tannin containing diet also improves performance in buffaloes exposed to high level of parasitism.