Livestock Research for Rural Development 20 (12) 2008 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD News

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Effect of oxytocin on the productive and reproductive performance of buffalo and cattle in Sheikhupura-Pakistan (A field study)

M Y Mustafa, K Saleem, R Munir* and T M Butt

Livestock and Dairy Development, Punjab-Pakistan
yasserbutt1@yahoo.com
* University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore-Pakistan

Abstract

The study was designed to evaluate the effect of oxytocin on the production and the reproductive performance of pre and post-parturient cattle and buffaloes. A total of 120 animals including 60 cattle and 60 buffaloes were randomly divided into three experimental groups of twenty animals according to their age. In Group I animals were of the age up to 2 years; Group II from 3-4 year and Group III. from 4-5 years. Both productive and reproductive data of animal was collected through questionnaire from the owner. The reproductive disorders were identified by rectal palpation. The milk yield, milk fat and reproductive disorders were monitored in each cow and buffalo.

 

It is concluded that treatment with oxytocin following parturition did not help in improving the productive and reproductive performances of post-parturient buffaloes and cattle.

Key words: abortion, anestrous, buffalo, cattle, conception, corpus luteum, follicular cysts, fat milk, mastitis, ovarian cyst, puberty, pregnancy, retention of placenta


Introduction

At present, livestock is contributing about 49.6 per cent of agricultural value added and 10.6 per cent to the GDP. Foreign earnings of the livestock sector exceed 35 billion rupees annually. Dairy cattle and buffalo produced 25.04 billion liters of milk. Livestock also provides wool, hair, hide, skin, blood, bones, and farmyard manure and is a principal source of work power for cultivation and rural transport. The role of livestock in rural economy may be assessed by the fact that 30 to 35 million of the total rural population is engaged in livestock related activities, having household holdings of 2 to 3 cattle / buffalo and 5 to 6 sheep and goats per family, deriving 30 to 40 per cent of income from it (Anonymous 2006-07). Buffaloes have been used for milk production for centuries. They have not been subjected to the same upgrading and breeding like cattle in the western world.

 

Oxytocin word is derived from Greek which means “quick birth”. Oxytocin is made in magnocellular neurosecretory cells in the supraoptic nucleus and paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and is released into the blood from the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Oxytocin is also produced in the corpus luteum of the buffalo and cow (Wathes et al 1983). Oxytocin is secreted into the blood at orgasm – in both males and females. Half-life of oxytocin in blood is 0.55 to 3.6 minutes. Synthetic oxytocin is sold as generic oxytocin. Injected oxytocin analogues are used to induce labor and support labor in case of non-progression of parturition to facilitate birth. Physiologically important for cervical dilation before birth and causes contractions during the second and third stages of labor. Oxytocin release during calf-feeding causes mild but often painful uterine contractions during the first few weeks of lactation. This also serves to assist the uterus in clotting the placental attachment point postpartum.

 

Increase in oxytocin concentration over a threshold level and milk ejection occurred simultaneously and was closely correlated. The stripping yield was higher and fat content in the stripping yield significantly lower. Thus buffaloes are easily disturbed even by small changes in milking routines. (Thomas et al 2005). In Pakistan, unfortunately oxytocin is using by the owner to increase milk production without knowing any problem occur to the animal. Oxytocin is usually injected intra-muscularly in a dose of 10-20 IU immediately before each milking. The purchase of oxytocin does not require any prescription and is easily available even on a general store of a village. This field study is done to find out the problems (productive and reproductive) occurred in buffaloes and cattle after using oxytocin

 

Materials and methods 

For this study, 120 animals including 60 cattle and 60 buffaloes from twenty commercial and domestic livestock farms and those brought to the civil veterinary hospital for the treatment of reproductive disorders in Muridkey rural area were selected. They were divided according to the age determined from the teeth of the animal (O’Connor 1980). These farms were divided according to the number of animals kept into small size dairy farms (having up to 10 milch animals), medium size dairy farms (having 20 to 30 milch animals) and large size dairy farms (having 40 and above milch animals) and information of randomly selected 20 milch (lactating) animals from each group were collected. Milking management practices of the selected livestock owners were then studied in detail by visiting and observing these farms.

 

The visit of these livestock farms and interview with the help of questionnaire with livestock owners was conducted by the researcher to collect informations about those animals injected with Oxytocin before milking during whole year (365 days). Milking of each animal was done at 08:00 AM and 16:00 PM. Precautions were taken to prevent conditioned release of oxytocin before milking and was ensured that the milk let down was attributed to the particular stimuli tested i.e., administration of oxytocin or milk evacuation. Some of these precautions were: personnel (samplers and milkers) presence at the time of milking, clean place, proper washing of udder of animal, proper washing of hands of milker and activities including feeding, bring the animal to milking place, standing of animal in line and bringing of calf near to cow and buffalo started at least half hour before actual milking.

 

A detailed questionnaire and observations sheet was developed to collect the relevant information on the selected variables (Goode and Hatt 1957). The major parameters considered for the study in these animals were puberty, milking procedure, conception rate, calf mortality, abortion, milk let down and retention of placenta. The fat in milk was measured with Galvanometer (Shaw 1942). Reproductive disorders were detected by rectal palpation (Baillie et al 2003). The data was then analyzed statistically (Steel and Torry 1981).

 

Results 

Information regarding the source which inspires Oxytocin utilization for better productive performance was collected through questionnaire from the owner of the animals. The results revealed that 10% of the small and 20% of medium stake holders got the information from their friends and surroundings.

 

Quacks that visited the villages for the treatment of the animal, prone and encourage the farmers to use oxytocin for increased milk production resulted in more income. It was found that 60% small, 40% medium and 10% large farms obtain information from the quacks. Owners of small sized dairy farm did not use oxytocin injection prior to the milking because of their personal use of milk, while 70% of owners of large sized farm used oxytocin injection before milking as they mostly market the milk. Utilization of oxytocin in small (15%) and medium (5%) sized farm for increased milk production were motivated by medical store owners.  Small (10%), medium (15%) and large (20%) sized farms used Oxytocin on advice of the veterinarian for therapeutic purpose only. (Table 1).


Table 1.  Owner’s sources of information about oxytocin in rural areas

Source of information

Small holders (n-20)

Medium holders (n-20)

Large holders

(n-20)

Civil veterinary hospital (n-20)

Friends/Surrounding

2 (10%)

4(20%)

-

1(5%)

Experience

1 (5%)

2(10%)

-

-

Medical store

3(15%)

1(5%)

-

1(5%)

Quack

12 (60%)

8(40%)

2(10%)

9(45%)

Veterinarian’s advice

2 (10%)

3(15%)

4(20%)

1(5%)

Oxytocin used before milking

Nil

2(10%)

14(70%)

8 (40%)


Consumption of frequently oxytocin injected animal’s milk by the calf resulted in delayed puberty in them, low conception rate, low pregnancy chances, increased abortion rate and death of calf soon after delivery as shown in Table 2.


Table 2.  Effect of oxytocin on reproductive disorders in buffalo and cattle

Problem

Buffaloes  (N-60)

Cattle  (N-60)

2 year

(n-20)

3-4 year

(n-20)

5-6year (n-20)

2year

(n-20)

3-4year (n-20)

5-6year

(n-20)

Early Puberty

-

-

-

-

-

-

Delayed Puberty

(12) 60%

(4)20%

-

(3)15%

(1)5%

-

Low Conception Rate

(6)30%

(9)45%

(3)15%

(8)40%

(6)30%

(12)60%

Animal pregnant(Decrease)

(1)5%

(3)15%

(11)55%

(4)20%

(8)40%

(4)20%

Abortion

(1)5%

(3)15%

(6)30%

(4)20%

(2)10%

(4)20%

Calf Death after delivery

-

(1)5%

-

(1)5%

(3)15%

-


The frequent use of oxytocin by the owner of the animal resulted in different productive problems. In buffalo, oxytocin used to increase milk production 96.66%, Dead Fetus 13.33%, Difficult Birth 71.66%, Retention of Placenta 38.33% and  Milk let down96.66% while in cattle used to increase milk production 90%, Dead Fetus 10%, Difficult Birth 58.33%, Retention of Placenta 30% and  Milk let down91.66% as shown in Table 3.


Table 3.  Reasons to use of oxytocin by the owner to the animal

Reason

Buffalo (N-60)

Cattle (N-60)

Increase Milk yield

(25) 41.66%

(20)33.33%

Dead Fetus

(2)3.33%

(6)10%

Difficult Birth

(13)21.66%

(18)30%

Retention of Placenta

(11)18.33%

(9)15%

Milk let down

(9)15%

(7)11.66%


The misapprehension of the people about the use of oxytocin injection to increase the milk production of animal established erroneous and rejected in present study. From this study, it was found that animal injected with oxytocin showed decrease in milk yield, milk Fat percentage and also suffered with mastitis during this period as shown in Table 4.


Table 4.  Effect of oxytocin on milk yield and fat percentage in buffalo and cattle.

 

Ist day

1 week

1 month

3 month

6 month

9 month

1 year

Buffalo (N-60)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milk yield, L

12 (9-18)

12.3 (10-23)

10 (10-21)

9.3 (10-20.5)

9 (8-17)

8.6 (6-14)

8 (3-10)

Milk fat,  %

8.5%

8%

8%

7%

5.7%

5%

4.2%

Mastitis

(23) 38.33%

(11) 18.33%

(19) 31.66%

(21) 35%

(16) 26.66%

(12) 20%

(18) 30%

Cattle (N-60)

 

Milk yield, L

18 (9-21)

18 (11-21)

16.8 (8-20)

16 (12-22)

15.4 (10-18)

13.9 (8-17)

11 (6-10)

Milk fat  %

6.2%

6.2%

5.8%

5.5%

4.9%

4%

3.7%

Mastitis

(12) 20%

(21) 35%

(14) 23.33%

(16) 26.66%

(9) 15%

(4) 6.66%

(7) 11.66%


Frequent use of oxytocin resulted in various reproductive disorders in both buffalo and cattle including Follicular ovarian cyst 18.33%, Carpus Luteum cyst 28.33%, Retention of Placenta 11.66%, Anestrous 16.66% and Repeated Estrus 25% in buffalo and Follicular cyst 26.66%, Corpus Luteum cyst 23.33%, Retention of Placenta 8.33%, Anestrous 18.33% and Repeated Estrus 23.33% respectively in case of cattle is shown in Table 5.


Table 5.  Effect of oxytocin on the reproductive disorders of buffalo and cattle

Reproductive Disorder

Buffalo (N-60)

Cattle (N-60)

Follicular cyst

(11)18.33%

(16)26.66%

Corpus Luteum cyst

(17)28.33%

(14)23.33%

Retention of Placenta

(7)11.66%

(5)8.33%

Anestrous

(10)16.66%

(11)18.33%

Repeated Estrus

(15)25%

(14)23.33%


Discussion

Oxytocin is a drug to facilitate in parturition but in Pakistan this has also been commonly used to enhance the milk production in animals. It is frequently used by the owners of the animals from day one after parturition to increase the milk production. This mal practice leads to different reproductive disarray in the animals. Practice of using oxytocin for milk let down has many drawbacks and harmful effect on our dairy industry. The animals regularly exposed to oxytocin become habitual to the drug and let down of milk without its administration is difficult. Repeated injections of oxytocin therefore, interfere with normal milk secretary activity of mammary epithelium and inhibits normal ejection reflex. It is believed that prolonged use of oxytocin also causes fertility disorder i-e. Poor estrus sign, low conception rate, reduced lactation period, high embryonic mortality in local herds of buffalo and cattle (Siddiqui and Saeed 2000), Delayed puberty, low conception rate, low pregnancy chances, increased abortion rate and calf dead soon after delivery because of non availability and poor quality of milk. These findings are in agreement with (McDonald 1989; Dominguez et al 1993; Hassan 1993; Qureshi 1998).

 

Both productive and reproductive Findings including Delayed Puberty, Number of pregnancies, Abortion, Dead Fetus, Difficult Birth, Retention of Placenta, Milk let down Decreased milk production and milk Fat percentage in cattle and buffalo are found in agreement with (Shaw 1942; Bhullar et al 1991; Thomas et al 2004; Murugaiyal et al 2001; Weiss et al 2002; Weiss et al 2003a, b; Dzidic et al 2004; Bidarimath and  Aggarwal 2007; Ariota et al 2007) while Thomas et al (2005) reported increased in milk production.

 

Reproductive anomalies observed Follicular ovarian cyst, Carpus Luteum cyst, Retention of Placenta, Anestrous  and Repeated Estrus in buffalo and cattle are in agreement with the work of (Labhsetwar et al 1964; Cameron and Fosgate 1964; Booth and McDonald 1982;  Peters and  Laven 1996; Tiwari et al 1999; Mavi et al 2004; Drillich et al 2006; Drillich et al 2007).       

 

Conclusion

 

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Received 20 July 2008; Accepted 25 September 2008; Published 5 December 2008

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