Energy and protein deficiencies
Deficiencies of protein and energy are the most common nutrient deficiencies, which adversely affect production and performance of farm animals. The two deficiencies often occur concurrently due to inadequate quantity or poor quality of feed. Underfed livestock receiving insufficient quantity or quality of feed are more likely to suffer from protein and energy deficiencies. The feed may be of poor quality or may be in short supply due to overgrazing, drought, flood or general scarcity. Feed of low digestibility and excess water content may also be responsible for deficiencies of protein and energy.
Clinical findings: Age, physiological status of animals, presence of concurrent deficiencies of other nutrients and environmental factors influence clinical signs of energy deficiency. In young animals, energy deficiency causes retarded growth and delayed onset of puberty. Mature lactating animals show marked decline in milk yield, a short lactation, reduced body weight, and poor reproductive performance including prolonged anoestrus. Long duration of energy and protein deficiency during late lactation causes undersized, weak neonates with high neonatal mortality. The increased intake of poor quality roughage may cause abomasal impaction in ruminants, and that of large intestine in horses. Decrease in the body fat and performance is noted in horses.Signs of protein deficiency, especially in early stages, are not as severe as those observed in energy deficiency. Young animals show poor growth rate, lack of muscle development, and prolonged onset of maturity. Anaemia, low serum total protein and albumin and associated oedema are seen in both young and mature animals. Excessive dental attrition may be observed in grazing sheep.
Diagnosis: Analysis of feed for protein and energy content vis- a- vis nutritional requirements of animals together with clinical signs and serum protein/albumin concentration are used to establish diagnosis of the protein energy deficiencies.
Prevention: Preventive measures include provision of adequate nutrients to meet requirement according to age, stage of lactation and physiological conditions of animals. Available guidelines can be followed to estimate the requirements. However, other factors such as environmental temperature and body condition scoring of cattle and sheep should also be considered to calculate dietary requirements for animals