Livestock Research for Rural Development 20 (8) 2008 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD News

Citation of this paper

On farm assessment of nutritional status of lactating cattle and buffaloes in urban, periurban and rural areas of Middle Gangetic Plains

V K Singh*, P Singh, A K Verma and U R Mehra

Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243 122 (U. P.), India
*College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Kumarganj-224 229, Faizabad (U.P.), India
vksinghnduat@gmail.com ,   vksinghnduat@rediffmail.com

Abstract

Data on feeding practices and nutritional status of lactating cattle and buffaloes were gathered from UP-9 region of Middle Gangetic Plains of India. A total of 150 farmers were selected as per stratified randomized design (SRD) from urban, periurban and rural areas. Nutritional status of lactating cattle and buffaloes was ascertained through data collected about body weight, milk yield and feed intake as well as from serum metabolic profile.

 

Cattle of urban area were heavier (P<0.05) than rural area, while buffaloes of both urban as well as periurban area were heavier (P<0.05) than rural area. The milk yield of both cattle and buffaloes were significantly (P<0.05) higher in urban and periurban area than rural area. In urban area most of the farmers maintained their animals on wheat straw and concentrate purchased from local market while in peri-urban area in addition to this, available green fodder was also fed. However, animals of rural area were maintained on crop residues and available green fodder and/or local grasses along with very low amount of home made concentrates. In general, dairy animals were deficient in DM intake and the deficiency of CP and TDN was significantly (P<0.05) higher in urban area than periurban and rural areas. Among blood biochemical parameters, the serum glucose, total protein, albumin, globulin, urea nitrogen and cholesterol was found within the normal range and did not vary significantly (P>0.05) between areas. Serum urea concentration was higher and cholesterol concentration was lower in buffaloes than that of cattle.

 

Thus, it is concluded that the dairy animals in Middle Gangetic Plain were fed with traditional manner and they were deficient in DM, CP and TDN supply.

Key words: buffalo, cattle, middle gangetic plain, nutritional status, periurban, rural, urban


Introduction

Accurate determination of nutritional and health status of animals is invaluable in modern animal agriculture. Though the productivity of animals depends on their genetic potential, it is always prudent to feed them with optimum quantities of different macro as well as micro nutrients to exploit their full production potential. The major constraint in animal production, nutrition has been identified as the most important factor (ILRI 1995), because the livestock rearing and production is largely in the hand of resource poor farmers (Brithal and Ravishankar 1999). Further, the availability of nutrients is dependent on feeds and fodder consumed by the animals, which is again affected by the season, cropping pattern, agro-ecological conditions, the type and size of land holdings and socio-economic condition of farmers (Pantagne et al 2002). Moreover, there is little work carried out to evaluate the nutritional status of urban, periurban and rural areas dairy animals in general and in Middle Gangetic Plain regions particular. More accurate assessment of nutritional states of cattle can be made using blood metabolite concentrations than from assessment of body weights or condition scores alone. Serum concentrations of metabolites such as glucose, total proteins, albumin, globulin, blood urea nitrogen, and cholesterol are commonly used to assess the nutritional status of cattle. Use of blood metabolites has been applied mainly in dairy cows (Whitaker et al 1995) due to the intensive production systems used and their high susceptibility to metabolic disorders. Therefore the present investigation was carried out to assess and compare the existing feeding pattern, nutrient availability, nutritional status and metabolic profile of urban, periurban and rural areas milching cattle and buffaloes in Middle Gangetic Plains.

 

Materials and methods 

The study was conducted during October 2006 to March 2007 (six months) in eastern plain zone (UP-9) of Middle Gangetic Plains to evaluate and compare the nutritional status of lactating cattle and buffaloes from urban, periurban and rural areas. Total 150 dairy farmers were selected on the basis of stratified random design from urban (city), periurban (around the city) and rural (village) areas. For the sampling, number of milch cattle and buffaloes was decided on the basis of secondary data of their population in the respective area.

 

The data regarding nutritional status of animals were collected from the selected farmers through face-to-face interview with the help of well structured and pretested questionnaire and by personal observations. It comprised milk yield, feeding pattern, quantity of feed and fodder offered during 24 hours, recording of body measurements and collection of concentrate, wheat straw and blood samples. Besides this, the amount nutrients available to the animals from other fodders were calculated by considering average nutritive values of the respective fodders (Ranjhan 1998).

 

The body weight of the animals was calculated from their heart girth and body length measurements by Shaffer’s formula (Sastry et al 1982).

 

Body weight (lb) = (G2 x L)/300

 

where, G is heart girth and L is the body length from shoulder point to pin bone in inches.

 

The factor 0.4536 used to convert these body weights into kilogram. The feed samples of concentrates and wheat straw collected during the survey were analyzed for dry matter (DM) and crude protein (CP) as per AOAC (1995). Acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) were determined by the method of Van Soest et al (1991). Total digestible nutrients (TDN) of the samples were estimated using the following equations reported by Martin (1985) and Chandler (1990).

TDN (%) in straw= 96.4 - 1.15 X ADF (%)

TDN (%) in concentrates= 81.4 - 0.48 X NDF (%)

Concentration of CP and TDN in total feed supplied for each animal was calculated from the amount of DM in concentrate and wheat straw supplied and composition in the representative samples of the respective areas. Besides this, the amount of DM, CP and TDN available to the animals from green fodders were calculated from the records of their intake and by considering average nutritive values of the respective green fodder (Ranjhan 1998). The estimated supply of the nutrients to lactating cattle and buffaloes was compared with the nutrient requirements given in the standards (Ranjhan 1998).

Blood samples were collected aseptically from jugular vein of dairy animals and kept without the anticoagulant for serum separation. These serum samples are stored in labeled vials at      -200C for further analysis of the biochemical profile of the dairy animals. Concentrations of glucose, total protein, albumin, urea nitrogen and cholesterol were analyzed using diagnostic kits (Glucose, total protein, albumin- Span Diagnostics Ltd., India; urea nitrogen- RFCL Ltd., India; and Cholesterol- Ranbaxy Fine Chemicals Ltd., India). Globulin concentrations were calculated by subtracting the concentrations of albumin from total protein. Total triiodothyronine (T3) and total thyroxine (T4) were estimated using the radio immunoassay (RIA) kit, supplied by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay, India.

 

Statistical analysis

 

Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS 11.5 software. The data was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) and‘t-test’, and means were compared using Duncan’s multiple range test.

 

Result body weight and productivity of animals 

The mean body weight and milk yield of cattle and buffaloes are presented in Table 1.


Table 1.  Body weight and milk yield of cattle and buffaloes in different areas

Attributes

Urban

Periurban

Rural

Pooled

Body weight, kg

Cattle

344.5511.11a

317.398.60ab

305.609.48b

320.726.15

Buffaloes

469.799.48a

455.016.38a

424.186.89b

438.805.33

Milk yield, l/d

Cattle

5.690.48a

5.890.57a

3.760.48b

4.850.31

Buffaloes

6.210.57a

6.080.50a

3.470.30b

4.450.28

Values with different small letter superscripts in a row differ between areas significantly: (P<0.05)


The mean body weight of cattle was significantly (P<0.05) higher in urban area as compared to rural area and urban and periurban areas buffaloes were significantly (P<0.05) higher body weight than rural area buffaloes. The milk production of both cattle and buffaloes was significantly (P<0.05) lower in the rural area than that of urban and periurban areas.

 

Feeds and feeding pattern

 

The common feed and fodders as well as their combinations fed to lactating cattle and buffaloes are presented in Figure 1.



Figure 1.  Feeds and feeding pattern adopted by dairy farmers (%) in urban, periurban
and rural areas of Middle Gangetic Plains


It indicated that most of the farmers (92.5%) of urban area fed only wheat straw as a main basal diet, while in rural area both wheat and paddy straw were fed by most of the farmers (86.3%). Among green fodders, the highest number of farmers in all areas fed barseem and sorghum. In rural area besides the berseem and sorghum, sugarcane top and local grasses were also offered by most of the farmers. In case of concentrates, the highest percent of farmers fed wheat bran in urban area and wheat flour in periurban and rural areas. It was observed during the survey that most of the farmers fed concentrate in the morning and evening after one to two hour soaking in water, besides this in urban and periurban area concentrate was also given at milking time. In the study area, generally the animals were fed sani, which is a blend of concentrates and available green and dry fodder along with water.

 

Chemical composition of feeds and fodders

 

The chemical compositions of concentrate mixture and wheat straw of different areas have been presented in Table 2.


Table 2.  Chemical composition (% DM basis) of concentrate mixture and wheat straw collected from different areas

Attributes

Urban

Periurban

Rural

Pooled

Concentrate mixture

Crude protein

15.500.05

15.320.24

16.990.67

16.050.37

Neutral detergent fiber

34.653.97

37.721.76

32.121.74

34.881.33

Acid detergent fiber

13.100.69

12.510.39

11.800.39

12.310.27

Wheat straw

Crude protein

2.670.06

2.770.07

2.800.08

2.760.04

Neutral detergent fiber

81.410.43

81.790.33

82.090.07

81.850.16

Acid detergent fiber

48.720.85

49.680.51

48.870.42

49.180.31


The perusal of data revealed that, there were no significant (P>0.05) differences in the chemical composition of wheat straw and concentrates between areas. It was found that concentrate CP was non-significantly (P>0.05) higher in rural area (16.990.67 %) followed by urban (15.500.05 %) and periurban area (15.320.24 %).

 

Nutritional status of animals

 

The nutrient intake, requirement, deficit/excess and percent deficit/excess are presented in Table 3.


Table 3.  Nutritional status of lactating cattle and buffaloes reared in different areas.

Attributes

Intake

Required

Deficit/excess

Percent deficit/excess

DM, kg/d

Cattle

Urban

7.980.30AB

8.610.28A

-0.640.19B

-7.032.25B

Periurban

8.530.38A

7.930.21AB

0.600.30A

7.603.85A

Rural

7.280.36B

7.640.24B

-0.360.20B

-5.772.47B

Pooled

7.780.21

8.020.15

-0.240.14

-3.201.70

Buffaloes

 

Urban

10.730.37B

14.090.28A

-3.360.23B

-24.001.68B

Periurban

12.210.45A

13.650.19A

-1.440.42A

-10.493.15A

Rural

10.460.32B

12.730.21B

-2.270.29AB

-17.592.23AB

Pooled

10.820.24

13.160.16

-2.340.21

-17.651.60

Crude protein, g/d

Cattle

Urban

533.0131.55AB

648.2735.94A

-115.2612.13B

-17.731.67B

Periurban

600.0642.92A

644.4140.05A

-44.3516.69A

-7.393.14A

Rural

466.3432.84B

499.4335.21B

-33.098.64A

-6.541.75A

Pooled

517.4521.06

579.4322.97

-61.987.76

-10.321.30

Buffaloes

 

Urban

687.1836.42AB

1009.5359.23A

-322.3553.62B

-30.114.06B

Periurban

750.7047.66A

987.4352.22A

-236.7340.97B

-23.533.85AB

Rural

573.2129.43B

694.3734.18B

-121.1616.51A

-16.942.07A

Pooled

627.2022.92

809.2831.50

-182.0819.08

-20.761.77

TDN, kg/d

Cattle

Urban

3.870.17AB

4.510.20A

-0.630.08B

-13.541.62B

Periurban

4.320.22A

4.410.22A

-0.090.11A

-1.592.61A

Rural

3.620.20B

3.660.20B

-0.040.04A

-1.001.33A

Pooled

3.860.12

4.100.13

-0.240.05

-5.161.17

Buffaloes

 

Urban

5.130.19A

6.290.26A

-1.160.27B

-17.143.71B

Periurban

5.920.26B

6.150.23A

-0.220.20A

-3.333.37A

Rural

4.970.17B

4.770.16B

0.210.10A

4.782.11A

Pooled

5.170.13

5.320.15

-0.150.11

-1.071.92

Values with different  capital letter superscripts in a column differ between areas significantly (P<0.05)


The DM intake of both cattle and buffaloes were significantly (P<0.05) higher in periurban area followed by urban and rural areas and its requirement was significantly (P<0.05) higher in urban area cattle than the rural area cattle, while in case of buffaloes it was significantly (P<0.05) higher in both urban and periurban area as compared to rural area. The data revealed that, the maximum DM deficiency was noticed in the cattle of urban area (7.032.25%) followed by rural area (5.772.47%), while in periurban area excess DM (7.603.85%) was supplied. There was significant (P<0.05) differences in the balance of DM between periurban and urban, and periurban and rural areas. In case of lactating buffaloes in all the areas DM was deficient. The deficit was significantly (P<0.05) higher in urban area (24.001.68%) compared to periurban area (10.493.15%).

The crude protein intake of lactating cattle and buffaloes was significantly (P<0.05) higher in periurban area than rural area and its requirements for cattle and buffaloes were significantly (P<0.05) more in urban and periurban areas compared to rural area. The CP deficiency was more in buffaloes than cattle. The deficit was higher in urban area followed by periurban and rural area. The CP deficiency was significantly (P<0.05) more in urban area cattle (17.731.67%) than periurban (7.393.14%) and rural area cattle (6.541.75%). In case of buffaloes the CP deficiency was significantly (P<0.05) more in urban area (30.114.06%) as compared to rural area (16.942.07%).

Data revealed that TDN intake of cattle and buffaloes in different areas were higher in periurban area followed by urban and rural area. There was significant (P<0.05) difference between periurban and rural areas. Similar to protein requirements, TDN requirements (kg/d) of cattle and buffaloes were significantly (P<0.05) higher in urban and periurban areas as compared to rural area. The TDN was deficient in all areas cattle but it was in excess in rural area buffaloes. 

Metabolic profile

The metabolic profile in terms of serum concentration of pertinent biochemical constituents i.e. serum glucose, total protein, albumin, globulin, urea nitrogen and cholesterol as well as serum T3 and T4 were assessed and the results obtained have been given in Table 4.


Table 4.  Serum metabolic profile of lactating cattle and buffaloes reared in different areas

Attributes

Urban

Periurban

Rural

Pooled

Glucose, mmol/l

Cattle

2.790.08

3.010.10

2.780.07

2.830.05

Buffaloes

2.980.07

3.040.10

2.850.07

2.910.05

Total protein, g/l

Cattle

79.051.65

75.502.16

77.221.48

77.430.98

Buffaloes

81.772.52

82.401.52

83.860.99

83.180.83

Albumin, g/l

Cattle

38.190.70

37.291.00

37.470.61

37.660.42

Buffaloes

36.231.06

37.540.91

35.900.52

36.250.42

Globulin, g/l

Cattle

40.861.26

37.821.75

39.751.11

39.680.76

Buffaloes

45.541.59

44.861.05

47.960.81

46.930.64

Albumin:Globulin (A:G) ratio

Cattle

0.950.03

1.040.06

0.960.02

0.980.02

Buffaloes

0.800.02XY

0.840.02X

0.760.02Y

0.780.01

Urea nitrogen, mmol/l

Cattle

7.280.36

7.050.50

6.940.30

7.070.21

Buffaloes

9.280.35

9.130.29

9.020.29

9.090.20

Cholesterol, mmol/l

Cattle

3.430.13

3.250.16

3.620.12

3.480.08

Buffaloes

2.130.10

2.030.07

2.020.09

2.040.06

Triiodothyronine (T3), nmol/l

Cattle

1.030.04

1.020.05

0.940.0.03

0.990.02

Buffaloes

1.440.11

1.360.12

1.220.05

1.290.04

Thyroxine (T4), nmol/l

Cattle

28.381.14

30.271.43

26.891.05

28.120.69

Buffaloes

28.931.75

26.181.81

24.721.15

25.830.87

Values with different capital letter superscripts in a row differ between areas significantly: (P<0.05)


The mean concentration of serum glucose in cattle was non-significantly (P>0.05) higher in periurban area followed by urban area and rural area, the average serum glucose concentration (mmol/l) in lactating cattle and buffaloes were 2.830.05 and 2.910.05, respectively. The serum total protein, albumin and globulin concentration in cattle were ranged from 75.502.16 to 79.051.65, 37.291.00 to 38.190.70 and 37.821.75 to 40.861.26 g/l, respectively and for buffaloes these values were ranged from 81.772.52 to 83.860.10, 35.900.52 to 37.540.91 and 44.861.05 to 47.960.81 g/l, respectively. The values showed no significant (P>0.05) difference between areas. The albumin globulin (A:G) ratio in buffaloes was significantly (P>0.05) lower in rural area as compared to periurban area. The serum urea nitrogen concentration was higher in buffaloes than cattle, the average value in cattle and buffaloes were 7.070.21 and 9.090.20 mmol/l, respectively and exhibited no significant (P>0.05) variation between areas. Total cholesterol, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4) concentration in the serum of cattle and buffaloes were showed no significant (P>0.05) differences between areas.

 

Discussion 

The body weight of animals was calculated from their body measurements; girth and length. The body weights of cattle and buffaloes in urban (344.55 kg and 479.79 kg) and periurban area (317.39 kg and 455.01 kg) were higher (Table 1) than that of rural area (305.60 kg and 424.18 kg). The findings are supported by observations of Singhal et al (2005), who reported that the average body weights of lactating desi cattle, crossbred cattle and buffaloes were in the range of 200 to 333, 300 to 352, and 400 to 516 kg, respectively.

 

The milk productivity of cattle and buffaloes was significantly (P<0.05) higher in urban (5.69 and 6.21 l/d) and periurban (5.89 and 6.08 l/d) area than that of rural area (3.76 and 3.47 l/d).  The average milk productions of crossbred cattle, non-descript cattle and buffalo was 6.74, 2.41 and 4.26 l/d, respectively in Uttar Pradesh and 6.53, 1.92 and 4.24 l/d, respectively in India (Dairy India 2007).  The milk production of cattle was below the average milk yield of crossbred cattle of state as well as nation, where as it was higher than non-descript cattle of Uttar Pradesh and India. The average milk production of urban and periurban area buffaloes was higher than the buffaloes of Uttar Pradesh as well as India; but in rural area it was lower than the state and national average milk production (Table 1). This may be attributed to superior genetic potential of animals coupled with better feeding practices followed by farmers in these areas for achieving high commercial gains. This may becomes possible because of easy accessibility of market to sell the milk and to purchase the feeds in these areas. Conversely the low productivity of animals in rural area might be due to their poor socio-economic condition, poor genetic potential of animals and poor feeding practices as well as inaccessibility of market to sell the milk and to purchase the feeds.

 

Feeding practices

 

Feeding of dairy animals in our country is based on traditional and socio-economic consideration, mainly guided by available feed resources. In the study area, animals were fed mainly on crop residues harvested by the farmers. The straws of wheat and/or paddy constituted the basal dry roughage of the animals. In urban area farmers fed only wheat straw while in rural area both wheat and paddy straws were fed to the animals. In urban area, this dry roughage was supplemented with small quantity of berseem or sorghum. In periurban and rural areas besides the berseem and sorghum, sugarcane top and local grasses were also fed (Figure 1). In urban and periurban areas most of the farmers fed concentrate mixture available in the local market i.e. commercial concentrate mixture, wheat bran, chunni etc., however, in rural area home made concentrate mixtures consisting of mustard cakes along with wheat bran and/or wheat flour were usually offered to the animals. In this area most of the farmers followed "sani" a method of preparing complete feed by mixing concentrate with wet dry roughage/green forage and feeding to dairy animals (Figure 1). These observations are in agreement with the earlier findings of Mishra et al (1999), Sohane et al (2000), Kundu et al (2004), and Singh et al (2004). However, Tiwary et al (2007) reported that in Haridwar district of Uttarakhand only wheat straw was used as a basal feed to the animals.

 

Nutritional status of animals

 

Though the productivity of animals depends on their genetic potential, it is always prudent to feed them with optimum quantities to exploit their maximum production potential. Under the tropical Indian condition the metabolic and/or deficiency diseases in animals are quite common, which are mainly due to underfeeding and non-availability of balanced diet. The nutrient content of feeds and fodders is dependant on the agro-climatic condition and agronomical practices being followed in that region.

 

The data with respect to balance of nutrients in terms of DM, CP and TDN in lactating cattle and buffaloes of different areas (Table 3) revealed that cattle of urban and rural area were deficient in DM intake, while in periurban area excess amount of DM was offered. The cattle of all the areas were highly deficient in crude protein, while TDN was slightly deficient in periurban and rural areas but more in urban area. Trend of deficiency of nutrients was almost similar in buffaloes as well as cattle. In case of buffaloes, dry matter intake was deficient in all the areas while slightly excess TDN was offered in rural areas (Table 3). In general, all the nutrients were in deficit for both cattle and buffaloes except slightly excess of DM in periurban area for cattle and TDN for rural buffaloes, in the present study. The reason behind these differences is availability of nutrients in different area. The amount of feed and fodders offered to the animals were directly influenced by the availability as well as socio-economic condition of farmers (Bhat and Taneja 1998). Besides this, another important factor that influence the amount of feed offered to the animals was lack of technical knowledge about scientific feeding of lactating animals.

 

Similar to the present observations, Verma et al (1987) and Thakur et al (2005) reported that all categories of animals, irrespective of their productive status, suffer from inadequate supply of DM, DCP and TDN, however, DCP deficit was more prominent in almost all the regions. Similarly, Baxi (1999) reported that milch buffaloes of all categories were deficient in DM, DCP and TDN availability. Contrary, Raut and Amble (1969) observed that the non-descript milch buffaloes in sub-urban areas of New Delhi found to be overfed in terms of DCP and TDN. In eastern Uttar Pradesh, lactating buffaloes were fed less amount of DCP and TDN (Lal et al 1998; Singh et al 1998) and more amount of TDN to dry buffaloes (Singh et al 1998). Moreover, Randhe et al (1993) reported that DM and DCP was less while TDN was more supplied to buffaloes in Parbhani district of Maharashtra.

 

Metabolic profile

 

The metabolic profile test in dairy animals is being used to assess the nutritional status, to predict occurrence of metabolic diseases and to diagnose the diseases, and to assess the fertility status of animals (Ingraham and Kappus 1988). But the success of metabolic profile test is limited because several non-dietary factors like herd origin, stage of lactation, milk yield and season of the year affect the concentration of blood metabolites (Lee et al 1978). Besides this, in India there are no normal reference values of blood metabolites available specifically for lactating cattle and buffalo.

 

The mean values of glucose in cattle and buffaloes were with in the normal physiological range of 2.30-4.10 mmol/l for cattle (Boyd 1984) and 2.78-3.05 mmol/l for buffaloes (Dubey et al 2006) (Table 4). The blood glucose level in cattle and buffaloes did not differ significantly (P<0.05). Blood glucose in ruminants is contributed partly by direct absorption through GIT and partly through gluconeogenesis from propionate (Kaneko et al 1997). Ramakrishna (2003) also reported that low glucose level was associated with feeding of dry fodder. The non significant (P>0.05) differences in glucose level between areas might have been due to non-consideration of stage of lactation, milk yield, age, herd origin etc (Lee et al 1978).

 

The mean concentration of serum total protein, albumin and globulin were with in normal physiological range for cattle (Boyd 1984) and buffaloes (Dubey et al. 2006). There was no significant (P>0.05) difference across the areas (Table 4). Total serum protein is constituted by globulin and albumin and concentration of globulin is obtained as the difference between laboratory determinations of total protein and of serum albumin. These values are, therefore, affected by precision of two analyses. In addition, globulin often varies inversely with albumin concentration, since there is a compensation to limit changes in the osmotic pressure of blood. A further confounding factor is that high concentration of globulin may be immunological response to the occurrence of any disease. So protein components are difficult to be interpreted in nutritional terms. However, by considering all the factors-albumin, globulin and total protein, interpretation can be made (Topps and Thompson 1984). Van Saun (2000) reported that serum protein and albumin was a potent indicator of protein status of animals. Contrary, Ramakrishna (2003) reported a higher albumin concentration in animals maintained on dry fodder than those on green fodder and concentrates of higher CP value.

 

Serum urea nitrogen is an indicator of CP intake (Sun and Christopherson 2005) as well as dietary energy-protein balance in ruminant’s diet (Ropstad et al 1989; Wanner 1996). Hayashi et al (2005) observed positive correlation between nutritional status of cattle and concentration of blood urea nitrogen. The mean serum urea nitrogen level in cattle and buffaloes were with in normal range i.e. 2.80-8.80 (Boyd 1984) and 4.28-19.28 mmol/l (Dubey et al 2006). In general the concentration of serum urea was found higher in buffaloes than that of cattle. Norton et al (1979) also, reported that plasma urea concentration was higher in buffaloes than in cattle, and suggested that there was higher renal reabsorption of urea in buffaloes. Kawashima et al (2000) reported ammonia nitrogen in rumen fluid was higher in buffaloes. Thus, buffaloes possibly have a better ability to maintain the recycling of urea and mobilize energy from body tissue protein than cattle even during scarcity of nutrients.

 

The mean concentration of serum cholesterol in cattle as well as buffaloes was with in normal physiological range. The normal serum total cholesterol in cattle ranged from 1.60 to 5.00 mmol/l (Boyd 1984) and in buffaloes it ranged from 1.3 to 5.2 mmol/l (Dubey et al 2006). In general the serum cholesterol concentration was lower in buffaloes than that of cattle (Table 4). Similar to the present findings, Hayashi (2005) also observed higher plasma total cholesterol in cattle than in buffalo in Tarai region of Nepal. The higher cholesterol level in lactating cows has also been reported by Otto et al (2000). This lactation stress related change in cholesterol level could be attributed to corticosteroid mediated mobilization of body reserves (Swenson and Reece 1993). The difference in cholesterol level in cattle and buffalo might be due to the difference in mobilization of energy from fat reserve. Kawashima et al (2000) reported that cattle were likely to mobilize more energy from fat than buffalo. Contrary, Kumar et al (2006) observed that low milk yielder cattle had higher serum cholesterol as compared to high milk yielder.

 

The serum T3 concentration in cattle was lower in all area but in buffaloes it was only lower in rural area than the values reported by Boyd (1984) for cows. The serum T4 concentration was found within the normal physiological range both in cattle and buffaloes (Table 4). The lower T3 concentration in dairy animals may be attributed to its low nutritional status. Blum and Kunz (1981) observed that low energy intake/or negative energy balance was associated with a decrease of T4 and especially T3 level in pregnant and lactating cow. Pattanaik et al (2002) also reported that circulatory thyroid hormones were reduced when sheep and goats were fed on protein restricted diets. Similar to the present observation, Sharma and Joshi (2004) reported lower level of T3 and T4 in the serum of Garhwal region cattle of Uttarakhand.

 

Conclusion

 

Acknowledgement 

The authors are grateful to the farmers for their active participation in the research programme. We are thankful to Vice-Chancellor, N. D. U. A. and T., Kumarganj, Faizabad  and Director, Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar for giving permission and providing facilities to complete this research work.

 

References

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Received 15 April 2008; Accepted 23 May 2008; Published 5 August 2008

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