Tanzania Veterinary Journal

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Haematological and metabolic profiles of smallholder dairy cows in relation to weather patterns in southern highlands of Tanzania

ECJ Phiri, RT Chibunda, AE Pereka, EJ Mtengeti, NA Urio, AA Katakweba


A survey was carried out on 36 lactating Bos taurus/indicus crossbred dairy cows on smallholder dairy farming in Njombe district, Tanzania to assess seasonal variations in haematological and metabolic profiles. Blood was taken at an interval of two months for one year and analysed for haemoglobin concentration (Hb), packed cell volume (PCV%), total protein (TP), glucose (Glu), calcium (Ca), inorganic phosphate (Pi) and zinc (Zn) using standard methods. Hb, PCV %, plasma TP and Glu were within normal ranges. There were no differences (p>0.05) for Hb and plasma Pi. The effect of season was apparent (p< 0.05) on PCV%, plasma TP, Glu, Ca and Zn concentration. Packed cell volume percentage and Glu were higher during dry season as compared to wet season. Plasma TP was lower during the dry season but high during wet season. High levels of plasma Ca were recorded during the wet season and lowest during the dry season but these values were below the normal ranges of Ca. Plasma inorganic phosphate was below normal range in both dry and wet season and no difference (p>0.05) was observed in the levels between the seasons. Plasma Zn was high but at lower side of normal ranges in the wet season and below normal in the dry season. It is concluded that there is deficiency in minerals and protein in both dry and wet season. It is important to supplement minerals and protein to the animals to improve health, reproductive performance and milk production.

Keywords: TP, protein, glucose, mineral, seasonal variation, PCV% haemoglobin

Tanzania Vet Journal Vol. 25 (2) 2008: pp. 111-120
AJOL African Journals Online