Phosphorus Deficiency Problems in Dairy Animals and Their Management

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Livestock is the major contributor to Gross domestic Product (GDP) of Pakistan. This sector contributes 58.55% value addition in agriculture and 11.9% to national GDP according to national economic Survey of Pakistan. In Pakistan livestock sector majorly depends on economy from the dairy sector. Most livestock of Pakistan is reared by small dairy producers and mostly for milking purpose. Pakistan is fourth largest milk production country of the world producing 50.990 billion liters annually. In these scenarios proper production of dairy animal demands special attention because of their high economic importance.

Milk production depends on a number of factors. For proper milk production all of the factors need special attention. Availability of nutrients is also a major factor for proper milk synthesis. Minerals have a key significance in the milk production. Minerals are the very important source of blood synthesis, hormone structure, normal reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation, and immune system integrity. The livestock population mainly depend upon seasonal crops which are deficient in many macro and micro minerals. When there is deficiency of these minerals in the animal lot of problems may occur that lead to decreased efficiency of animal in weight gain reproductive and lactation statuses.

The minerals required by livestock is fulfilled by the continuous feeding regime of animal that is provided by green fodder as well concentrates. Nowadays due to excessive use of soil for fodder production the minerals are going to be depleted day by day. A major drawback is that farmers do not use fertilizers in the soil according to recommendations and fodder originated from this type of soil becomes deficient in nutrients. There are various type of minerals (macro as well micro) deficient in the soil in various regions of Pakistan. When minerals are deficit they cause a lot of problems in dairy animals.Among all the minerals phosphorus has special role in milk production and its deficiency can be disastrous.

Phosphorus is the macro mineral that is found in combination with calcium Ca:P that is 2:1 respectively. When there is any disturbance in calcium it ultimately disturbs the phosphors. Major issues resulted due to phosphorus (P) deficiency are pica and post parturient Haemoglobinurea in dairy animals. Normal phosphorus value is 4mg/dl in blood but falls to 0.4-1.5mg/dl in blood which results in development of PICA and post parturient Haemoglobinurea.

PICA

This is a condition in which animal start eating objects (like mud, stones as well as clothes) which they usually not eat even after full meals. This situation is mainly seen in the cattle and buffalo particularly the pregnant and lactating animals. The affected animals having a tendency to lick the other animals as well walls. They can chew and even may eat mud, sand, bones and even excreta. In lactating animals, milk production decreases up to mark. The animal looks restless, feel uneasy, loss body condition, weakness, debilitated conditions, constipation, loose feces, heavy worm Burdon, tympani, indigestion and anemia. Sometimes diarrhea with offensive odor, pale mucous membrane, dry and rough skin. If this condition may remain untreated the animals become weak and ultimately death occurs due to malnutrition. The depraved appetite may lead to osteomalacia as well fracture chances increase.

Post parturient Haemoglobinurea

This is the metabolic disorder that progress due to P deficiency or unavailability of P in the diet. When P shortfall occurs in the diet animals become susceptible to the post parturient Haemoglobinurea. In this condition animal passes red urine, straining during defecation, Haemoglobinurea, deprived of appetite, decreased milk production, anorexia, pale mucous membrane, laziness, dehydration, low oxygen carrying capacity, increase in heart rate and rapid respiration. Moreover, there will be dyspnea and tachycardia. Course of disease is 3 to 5 days. The color of urine turns turbid and brown to red, while skin becomes rough and loses its condition day by day if animals remain untreated then more lysis of RBCs in blood and high level of Hemoglobin wastage occurs and consequently animal becomes anemic which in severe cases results in death.

The diet deficient in phosphorus leads to post parturient Hemoglobin urea this deficiency in mostly in soils most of the plants that are deficient in “P” are turnip Brassica, reddish and beat pulp. Mostly animals that are in 3rd or 4th stage of lactations are more prone to deficiency of “P”. It is more common in 2-4 weeks after parturition.  Phosphorus is an integral part of RBC cell membrane so its deficiency makes the cell membrane fragile in that way RBC Lysis occurs.

Prevention and control measures

The traditional treatment strategies being used by veterinary point of view is the Na2H2PO4 60-100gm given intravenously by mixing 1000ml dextrose 5% solution respond quickly. Sodium acid phosphate 100gm can be given orally in drinking water for 5 days. CuSo4 acidified can also be given orally 1-2g for 10-15 days that helps in haemopoiesis.Vitamin B complex, dextrose 5% should be given as infusion for normal capillary revilement to enhanced status of body. Bone meal containing Calcium phosphate should be given 120g daily for 3 to 5 days.

Suggestions:

Control of Post parturient metabolic disorders that occur due to deficiency of phosphorus in the diet is very much necessary as they may be fatal for animal health. In order to overcome this issue following strategies should be applied then it will be favorable to avoid such case of metabolic disorder

  1. Soil should be supplemented with phosphorus contain fertilizers routinely.
  2. Avoid use of such fodders that are rich in saponins which affect the continuity of erythrocyte membrane.
  3. Adequate level of phosphorus should be supplemented to animal regularly to pregnant animals
  4. In lactating or newly part rated animals phosphorus supplementation should be made compulsory
  5. To avoid such condition mineral mixture should be fed regularly to animals.
  6. Single super Phosphate juice should be given in “P” deficient animals.

Animals during their peak production 2nd to 3rd lactation are commonly affected by “P” deficiency. Maximum chance of infection is there during 24-48 hours after parturition and occasionally after 6-8 weeks of lactation. We should manage the metabolic disorders by consulting the dairy and veterinary experts for that we should avoid production, reproduction and lactation losses.

This article is collectively authored by Dr. Rashid Fayyaz*, Dr. Adil Farooq#, Dr. Rao Zahid Abbas1,  Dr. Zohaib Saeed* , Dr. Asghar Abbas* _ *Research Scholar Department of Parasitology University of Agriculture Faisalabad # Research ScholarDepartment of Clinical medicine and Surgery University of Agriculture Faisalabad 1 Associate Professor Department of Parasitology University of Agriculture Faisalabad; Editor Pakistan Veterinary Journal.


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