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Incidence of Postparturient Indigestion (PPI) Associated With Hepatic Disorders and Production Diseases in Buffaloes

K Padmaja D. S. T. Rao
Vol 2(1), 201-207

Of 320 buffaloes within 60 days after calving, with the history of reduced feed intake and decreased milk yield presented, 90 (28.13%) buffaloes were found suffering with PPI. On detailed clinical examination and urinalysis, it was observed that 43 (47.78%) buffaloes had hepatic insufficiency, 27 (30 %) buffaloes had production diseases and 20 (22.22 %) buffaloes had PPI alone. Out of 43 buffaloes of hepatic insufficiency, 23 (25.56 %) had hepatic insufficiency alone, 20 (22.22 %) had hepatic insufficiency and production diseases, 10 (11.11 %) had hepatic insufficiency with sub clinical hypocalcaemia and 10 (11.11 %) had hepatic insufficiency with sub clinical ketosis. Out of 27 buffaloes with incidence of PPI in relation to production diseases, 14 (15.56 %) had sub-clinical hypocalcaemia and 13 (14.44 %) had sub-clinical ketosis. Thus, indicating that PPI in buffaloes is primarily associated with hepatic disorders followed by sub-clinical production diseases.

Keywords : Postparturient indigestion Buffaloes Incidence Hepatic Disorders Production Diseases


In modern dairy farming, every effort is being made to attain maximum milk production by providing moderate to minimum input. This imposes severe stress on the metabolic homeostasis of high yielding animals making them vulnerable to metabolic disorders during postparturient period. High producing dairy animals are challenged postpartum with large metabolic demands, which cannot be met by feed intake alone (Knegsel et al, 2007).   Postpartum diseases adversely affect high yielding dairy animals. Any delay in treatment or improper diagnosis may lead to irreparable losses and milk production may not reach the optimal levels thus leading to economic losses to the farmer (Choudhuri, 1990). The postpartum period is the time interval from parturition to subsequent heat (Dhami and Kodagali, 1988). Little attention has been paid for management of subclinical forms of production diseases such as Postpartum Anorexia (Gupta et al., 1995). Postparturient anorexia is a subclinical in existence, undiagnosed production disease resulting in huge losses in the form of milk. The present paper reports the incidence of postparturient indigestion in buffaloes associated with hepatic disorders and production diseases.

Materials and Methods

The present study which lasted for 19 months, 320 cases of buffaloes within two months of calving, without any systemic involvement, with the history of reduced feed intake and decreased milk yield, presented at Ambulatory Clinic, Mylardevpally; Campus Veterinary Hospital, College of Veterinary Science, Rajendranagar and a few periurban dairy farms located in and around Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, were selected, subjected to detailed clinical examination as per Kelly (1984) and screened for PPI by conducting urinalysis and physical examination of the rumen.

Urine was collected in all buffaloes while they were voiding it naturally in clean, sterile glass beakers and subjected for Wallace- Diamond test, Ross modified Rothera’s test and Sulkowitch test in respect of bile pigments, ketone bodies and calcium respectively as per procedure described by Benzamin (1997).

No. of PPI Cases

The incidence of postparturient indigestion (PPI) and the incidences associated with hepatic insufficiency and production diseases were calculated by the following formulae.

Total No. of buffaloes screened

Incidence of PPI             =   ————————————- X 100

No. of cases of liver involvement
Incidence of hepatic insufficiency
Total No. of PPI cases

=   ————————————- X 100

No. of cases of production disease


Incidence of production diseases


Total No. of PPI cases

=   ———————————————– X 100

Results and Discussion

The incidence of postparturient indigestion in buffaloes associated with hepatic disorders and production diseases is depicted in Table 1. In the present investigation, out of 320 animals examined, 90 were found to be suffering with PPI. Thus, giving the incidence of 28.13 %, which was high when compared to the observations of Pillai et al. (1995), Rao et al. (2000) and Reddy (2009) as 5.38, 5.70 and 23.37 % in buffaloes and cows respectively. The reason for high incidence of PPI could be attributed to the lack of good managemental practices among the farmers. The present study comprised of animals that belonged to farmers of small holdings that lack organized farming system. Based on urine analysis, it was observed that the incidence of PPI because of hepatic disorders accounted for 47.78 %, of which hepatic disorders alone and hepatic disorders with production diseases were 25.56 and 22.22 %, respectively. Higher incidence of PPI with hepatic insufficiency was recorded in buffaloes (36.26 %) than in cows (14.6 %) by Pillai et al. 1995. Reddy (2009) recorded hepatic insufficiency as 44.12 %, while Haloi et al. (1997) reported in 22 out of 27 crossbred cows. The reason for the higher incidence of 47.78 % was coinciding with the observations of Pillai et al. (1995) and Reddy (2009) concluded that hepatic dysfunction leads to indigestion postpartum. The incidence of hepatic disorders with subclinical hypocalcaemia and hepatic disorder with subclinical ketosis were 11.11 and 11.11 %, respectively.   The incidence of PPI on account of production diseases was 30 %, out of that the incidence of subclinical hypocalcaemia and subclinical ketosis were 15.56 and 14.44 %, respectively. There was higher incidence of PPI because of production diseases i.e., 30 %, of which subclinical hypocalcaemia accounted for 15.56 %. The observations are in accordance with Enemark and Jorgensen (2001), who recorded 1 5% of hypocalcaemia. Higgins and Anderson (1983) and Andrews et al. (1991) recorded 30 to 40 % and 23 %, respectively. While, Singh et al. (1994) reported an incidence of 3.10 %. The findings also corroborate with Prasad (1977), who observed that rumen dysfunctions were associated with hypocalcaemia. The incidence of subclinical ketosis accounted for 14.44 %. The findings are in accordance with Higgins and Anderson (1983) who recorded an incidence of 14.7 %. However, Nagarajan et al. (2007) recorded 16 % in cattle while Venkateswarlu (1996) and Balakishan (1994) recorded 43.56 and 20.97 %, in cows and buffaloes, respectively.



Table 1:          Incidence of PPI associated with hepatic disorders and production diseases

S. No. Item No. of buffaloes Incidence (%)
1 Hepatic disorders

i.               Hepatic disorders alone

ii.             Hepatic disorders and production diseases

a.             Hepatic disorders and subclinical hypocalcaemia

b.             Hepatic disorders and subclinical ketosis











2 Production diseases

i.              Subclinical hypocalcaemia

ii.            Subclinical ketosis







3 PPI alone 20 22.22
  Total 90 100.00

Reduced appetite in early lactation was also associated with subclinical ketosis (Steen, 2001). PPI might be a common finding in subclinical forms of production diseases but it has no systemic role. The incidence of PPI as single entity was 22.22 %.   However, lower incidence of 12.09 % was reported in buffaloes (Reddy, 2005). Such variations may be ascribed to the lack of organized managemental practices and also the sample size. The inadequate supply of nutrients to the body due to ruminal disorders was thought to be the cause of insufficiency of liver (Gnanaprakasam, 2000), while Pienkowski (1970) concluded that ruminant indigestion is invariably associated with functional disturbance of hepatic cells. The present study showed that PPI in buffaloes is primarily associated with hepatic disorders followed by sub-clinical production diseases.



The opportunity given to the first author to pursue in-service PhD programme by the authorities of Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University, Tirupati is duly acknowledged.


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