Bulletin of Animal Health and Production in Africa

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Effect of ruminal plastic bags on wellbeing of goats

H.R. Otsyina, J Nguhiu-Mwangi, P.G. Mbuthia, E.G.M. Mogoa, W.O. Ogara


Clinical manifestations due to presence of plastic bags in the rumen of goats were studied. Sixteen (16) one year old male (castrate) small East African goats with an average weight of 24.5kg were used for the study. The animals were divided into 4 groups of 4 animals each (n=4). Three of the groups had, 129g, 258g and 387g of plastic bags, respectively, introduced into the rumen through rumenotomy, while the fourth group without implants served as control. All animals in both test and control groups were observed daily for changes in vital parameters and clinical manifestations for a period of 6 weeks following implantation. Presence of plastic bags in the rumen of the goats was clinically characterized by anorexia, severe depression, discomfort (grunting sounds), dehydration, firmness and asymmetrical distention of the abdomen, reduced ruminal movements, diarrhoea with intermittent constipation, recumbency and death. Severity of the observed clinical signs increased with the quantity and duration of the plastic bags in the rumen. The animals lost varying degrees of body weight proportional to the quantity of plastic bags in the rumen. Generally, presence of plastic bags in the rumen imposed a serious health burden on the goats affecting their overall wellbeing and weight gain subsequently leading to mortality of some of the animals. Presence of the plastic bags in the rumen could affect the overall productivity and production of goats. The significance of this research is in its contribution to understanding the effects of ingestion and accumulation of plastic bags in the rumen of goats.

Keywords: Clinical signs, goats, plastic bags, rumen, wellbeing

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