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Parasitology. 2000;120 Suppl:S73-85.

Impact of nutrition on the pathophysiology of bovine trypanosomiasis.

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  • 1University of Glasgow Veterinary School, UK.


Trypanosomiasis is a major veterinary problem over much of sub-Saharan Africa and is frequently associated with under-nutrition. There is growing evidence that nutrition can have a profound effect on the pathophysiological features of animal trypanosomiasis. These features include anaemia, pyrexia, body weight changes, reduced feed intake and diminished productivity including reduced draught work output, milk yield and reproductive capacity. Anaemia is a principal characteristic of trypanosomiasis and the rate at which it develops is influenced by both protein and energy intakes. Pyrexia is associated with increased energy demands for maintenance which is ultimately manifested by reductions in voluntary activity levels and productivity. Weight changes in trypanosomiasis are markedly influenced by the levels of protein intake. High intakes allow infected animals to grow at the same rate as uninfected controls providing energy intake is adequate whilst low energy levels can exacerbate the adverse effects of trypanosomiasis on body weight. Reductions in feed intake are less apparent in animals which are provided with high protein diets and where intake is limited by the disease animals will often exhibit preferential selection of higher quality browse. Further studies are required to evaluate the minimum levels of protein and energy supplementation required to ameliorate the adverse effect of trypanosomiasis, the nature and quality of protein supplement to achieve these benefits and the influence these have on digestive physiology.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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