Beef Cattle Nutritional Disorders
Beef Cattle nutritional disorders affect the health of animals to a great extent.
They can lead to reduced weight in animals, poor immunity to fight diseases and can even cause death in some cases.
Nutritional disorders are caused due to under or over feeding of nutrients. Mineral imbalances can cause grass
tetany, water belly, polioencephalomalacia, white muscle disease and milk fever. Major nutritional disorders
include bloat, acidosis and hardware disease.
Bloat is a very well known digestive disorder in
beef cattle, common to feedlot cattle. When cattle are not able to belch gases produced in their stomach bloat
occurs. Cattle are not able to get rid of the gases in their rumen and their stomach expands. This enlargement of
rumen presses diaphragm and lungs, making it difficult for the cattle to breathe. Cattle can suffocate to death due
to bloating. Bloating is clearly visibly in animals as their rumen seems swollen from outside. When cattle cannot
expel gases due to foam in the rumen the condition is called frothy bloat. Foam restricts the cardia blocking the
passage of gases to be expelled. High grain diets in cattle can cause frothy bloating. Damage of the cardia or
esophagus causes free-gas bloat. It is advised to consult a qualified veterinarian to treat bloating in animals.
Tannin containing legumes like arrowleaf clover, berseem clover, birdsfoot trefoil, sericea lespedeza, annual
lespedeza and crownvetch can be helpful against bloating.
Overfeeding of fermentable carbohydrates or high concentrate-based diet can cause
acidosis in beef cattle. Normally the pH of rumen has to be 6 to 7 but when it falls between 5 and 6, it aids in
the growth of lactic acid-producing bacteria. Lactic acid leads to acidosis, laminitis, liver abscesses and
polioencephalomalacia. Cattle with slow or stopped gut movement, diarrhea and dehydration indicate acidosis.
Weakness and gray and foamy manure are common symptoms indicating this condition. Heart and lung failure and even
death can result from acute acidosis. Gradual shift to high-concentrate diet is advised to prevent acidosis.
Forages and cottonseed hulls are better choices for roughage. Monensin or lasalocid, probiotics, virginiamycin, or
thiamin must also be introduced to the diet. Virginiamycin and chlorotetracycline can prevent liver abscess. Beef
Cattle nutritional disorders result when there is a sudden shift in the diet. Cattle must always be observed to
show any unusual signs to catch the diseases in initial stages. Otherwise nutritional disorders can cause heavy
damage to the cattle herd.