Bloat in animals, causes, symptoms, remedies.

Bloating in a cattle jpg

Bloat is the accumulation of gases as a result of food fermentation in the rumen. It is brought about by indigestion of food. Bloating may result in the death of animals.

What causes bloat in animals?

Bloating is caused by:

  • Obstruction of the Oesophagus due to bulky food particles such as potatoes, carrots, and mangoes, among others.
  • Abnormal pressure is exerted on the Oesophagus by a swelling in the wall of the chest.
  • Indigestion- This happens when there is an accumulation of gases due to paralysis of the rumen and the valve at its entrance. This may be due to the animal eating poisonous herbs or due to a sudden change of feeds especially soft green forage which is taken in large quantities. However, the condition is worsened if the forage Is wet with dew or rain. Such forage includes clover, beans, peas, Lucerne, cabbage, leaves, beetroots, and lush grass.

Which animals are affected by bloat?

Animals which are most likely affected are ruminants such as

  • Cattles
  • Sheep
  • Goats

Symptoms of bloat

When the left side of the abdomen is excessively distended, it is filled with gases and this can be felt by pressing with the hand. Therefore death may occur within hours due to too much pressure exerted on blood vessels, lungs and heart.

What are the remedies?

Trocar and cannula used to relieve bloating
Trocar and cannula
  • You are supposed to feed the ruminants with dry roughage during the wet season before grazing on the lush pastures.
  • Treatment involves the lease of accumulated gases.
    • Manual means-This is by exercising the animal by rubbing its abdomen with both hands and making slow prodding movements with fists. In this way, the movement of the rumen is stimulated and thus helps to eject gases.
    • Surgical means-Where there is excessive gas accumulation in the rumen. The gases can be ejected either by the use of a stomach pump through the Oesophagus into the rumen or by piercing the abdominal wall directly over the blown-up part. This is done using a trocar and cannula. In case of an emergency, one can use a Sharp knife or spearhead.
    • Chemical means—This is applied in various ways such as
      • Drenching of the animal using suitable oils such as turpentine oil mixed with vegetable oil,(28 to 96gms of turpentine oil in a half little vegetable oil).
      • Administering Epsom salt to clear the remaining rumen contents. This is also given as a drench.
      • Administration of methyl silicone as an injection directly into the rumen prevents the frothy(bubble)type of bloat by increasing the surface tension of the food mass in the rumen.
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