When it comes to your cattle, you should be wary of what they’re consuming. During periods of high pasture growth, your livestock can potentially suffer from bloating.
Bloating is one of the most prevalent conditions in these animals. If you happen to be in a similar situation, you have come to the right place.
Since you want to give the best care to your cattle, it’s essential to know the kinds of bloating they can face. But the question is, can you do it without professional help?
The answer, quite simply, is yes. Before we can dive into the various possible home remedies, let’s take a look at what bloating is and what causes it.
What are the Causes of Cattle Bloating?
A bloat is a form of indigestion identified by an overabundance of gas in the rumen.
The digestion process produces gases in the rumen shortly after cattle ingest a meal. Eructation removes the majority of the emissions, which is also known as belching.
If there is any hindrance in normal gas expulsion, it can lead to gas buildup and eventual bloating.
The usual causes of bloating include:
- genetic inheritance leading to a tendency of bloating
- enlarged lymph nodes within the respiratory system, leading to vagus nerve obstruction or esophagus compression
- a host-parasite reaction induced by grub treatment choking
- dietary roughage’s quantity, rate of consumption, and coarseness
There are two types of bloating that are common in cattle.
This bloat type is also known as primary ruminal tympany.
You can see frothy bloating by cattle consumption of pasture legumes, canola seed, cereal crops, kale, and legume vegetable crops.
As the highly digestible plant content breaks down rapidly, the released cell material becomes available for microbes to assimilate.
Since the abrupt rise of nutrients causes microbial blooming, the rate of digestion doubles indirectly. However, any excess of carbohydrates that these microbes can’t break down undergoes storage as slime.
With the fermentation and degradation of these plant tissues, microbes also release a lot of gas. However, as more slime accumulates, gas is trapped within these extremely stable, slimy bubbles. The more slime and gas form, the higher the rumen pressure.
The greater the pressure in the rumen, the greater the pressure on the lungs. If not treated quickly, the animal would succumb to suffocation due to its inability to breathe.
Feedlot cattle that have been on a high-concentrate ration for one or two months may develop a foamy kind of bloat. The cause is unknown, but it’s thought that some rumen microbes can cause persistent slime.
Free Gas Bloat
Physical obstruction of eructation causes esophageal obstruction due to a foreign body, stenosis, or pressure from enlargement outside the esophagus in secondary ruminal tympany, or free-gas bloat.
This form of bloat is often associated with a blockage, restricting the esophagus (such as enlarged lymph nodes), preventing the animal from naturally burping up gases from the rumination method.
When cattle have an allergic reaction to a drug or material, it can result in secondary ruminal tympany if the animal suffers from anaphylaxis.
It may also occur as a side effect of an acute case of grain overload or acidosis when a decrease in rumen pH induces rumen and esophageal inflammation, preventing normal eructation.
The Signs and Symptoms of Bloating
When it comes to looking out for bloating in your cattle, you should look out for certain things.
You can tell if an animal is in distress by the following possibilities.
An irregular expansion of the upper left side of the animal is the first and foremost significant indication to look for in bloated cattle. The entire rumen can enlarge, resulting in a wide left-side dilation.
You can also stay on the lookout for signs of discomfort. For pain alleviation, bloated cattle will kick at their abdomens with their rear legs, act agitated, defecate frequently, and sometimes even roll over to improve their condition.
Since breathing becomes more challenging with the protruding rumen rubbing against the lungs and diaphragm, animals will attempt to breathe via their mouths.
These animals may also have excessive salivation, their tongue protruding as if they’re panting, and their heads stretched to bring in as much oxygen as possible.
When an animal starts bloating, death can happen fast, although it ordinarily takes two to four hours for it to happen.
The distended rumen presses against the animal’s diaphragm and restricts inhalation, which results in death. When bloat gets severe enough, an animal can fall and die instantly, almost without any resistance.
Once you have identified the underlying problem with the animal, you can try one of the effective home remedies.
Home Remedies to Treat Bloating
The most dangerous kind of cattle bloat is frothy bloat.
Nonetheless, there is a range of home remedies for bloated cattle that you can try.
The presence of foam after injecting the needle or tubing indicates a froth bloat. As a result, if the foam is minor and drains quickly, dry bloat therapies are applicable.
But if the foam doesn’t dissolve because of its thickness, it indicates a stable clog that can block the tubing, which would prevent any treatment.
In any such case, as mentioned above, you should always seek veterinary medical help.
Frothy bloating has a high mortality rate, meaning any delays in treatment could result in the animal’s death.
Treatment by Penetration
When you follow this method, you have to penetrate the rumen with a sharp blade. For precision, your knife should be 8-10 cm long and 1-2 cm broad.
Also, a bamboo tube about 30 cm long and as wide as your thumb is required. Once you have the equipment, wash properly and disinfect accordingly.
Stab the largest size of the bloated section with the blade on the left-hand side of the cow. After withdrawing the knife, immediately insert the bamboo tube.
At this stage, you will be able to see that gas is exiting the rumen.
Afterward, fill the bamboo tube with a combination of vegetable oil and turpentine oil. The oil mixture shakes up the rumen bubbles that induce bloat and stops it from happening again.
Since animal skin is thick, the wound heals by itself. To prevent potential infections, powdered charcoal, fresh from the stove and cooled, could be beneficial.
Treatment through Tubing
A tube helps to release the gaseous pressure stuck in the rumen in this process. The treatment tube should be about one and a half meters long.
Inserting the tube through the mouth should be an extremely rigorous process. This caution is crucial because if you accidentally spill the tube’s contents, the animal can die from pneumonia.
Using the tube’s curve as a guide through the gut, carefully make your way to the rumen. Once you’re there, a stench will verify that you’re in the right place.
Since some animals can suffer from chronic bloating, you should keep a watchful eye over your cattle post-treatment.
Treatment by Syringe Injection
This procedure requires about 15 minutes and is one of the quickest and simplest home remedies for bloated livestock. It is a frequent choice to treat gas bloat in cattle.
To perform this home remedy, you need a one-and-a-half-inch needle, along with a 14-16 gauge bore. Since you need a firm grip during the process, a large syringe is advisable.
First and foremost, you have to identify the sub-lumbar fossa. Once you have distinguished its location, inject the syringe a few inches in front of it.
As a result, the gas will start to escape from the rumen and provide relief to the animal.
Treatment by Liquids
You should know that even though this treatment is widely popular, it’s only applicable for cattle that can still stay on their feet.
You have to combine half a packet of bicarbonate soda per litre of water. However, you can use vegetable cooking oil and a 500ml long-necked bottle filled with water as a substitute. Later you can add it to a cattle waterer.
You should note that usage of glass bottles isn’t a recommendation as animals could clench their jaw around the bottle and break it.
Following the treatment, the cow will burp to release the gas. Massaging the rumen’s region can help speed along this process and bring quick relief to your cattle.
Follow-up Period of Home Remedies
After you have successfully performed whichever treatment you opted for, keeping a check on the cattle is crucial. You can let the animal stand or walk around to relieve the buildup of pressure.
Your home remedy is effective if the animal can release gas shortly after the treatment. This follow-up period helps check the effectiveness of different home remedies.
Prevention of bloating
Preventing bloat is much more successful than treating affected animals. With proper management and planning, the number of cases drastically decreases.
Make sure your cattle get the correct quantity of food to avoid bloat. Persevere as stress-free an environment as feasible for them. Introduce new feed steadily, and bring an ample water supply with you when relocating cattle from one place to another.