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Byline: A. S. Chaudhry, M. A. Khan, M. S. Khan, K. Ashraf, M. H. Saleem, N. U. Khan, T. Usman and I. Ahmad


The study was designed to detect the effect of SARA on hematobiochemical parameters and efficacy of some allopathic and herbal antacid drugs against SARA. A total of 16 sheep of the same age and weight were divided randomly into four groups. Group A was placed as a control group and fed on routine diet while Group B, C and D were fed on Barseem with 250 gm, 500 gm and 750 gm ground wheat flour, respectively to induce SARA. Blood samples were collected three times per day for five consecutive days and analyzed for blood parameters using calibrated blood gas analyzer. A significant increase was recorded in WBC count, whereas, non significant differences were observed in all other blood parameters. During therapeutic trials different concentration of antacids were used and their efficacy was analyzed.

The 12 animals in which SARA were induced were selected and divided into 3 groups. The Group 1 and Group 2 were treated with different concentration of sodium bicarbonate, whereas, Group 3 was fed with monensin and SAFI. The ruminal fluid showed marked decrease in pH and increase in serum haptoglobin and WBC counts, but no change in other blood parameters was observed in any of the three groups.

Key words: SARA, prevalence, herbal buffer SAFI, ruminal fluid pH.


Detection of changes in hematological and biochemical parameters act as identification markers for SARA in sheep (Gonzalez et al. 2010). As showed by Gianesella et al. (2010), there is a strong relationship between the rumen pH and blood pH. Acidosis is defined by a blood pH lower than the average range (Rose, 1995). In newborn calves, a decreased maintenance of colostrum because of hypercapnea is a clinical sign of acidosis (Bleul et al. 2007). In adult mammals (especially in ruminants), blood pH depends upon a variety of factors, like accumulation of different salts in the blood and mainly depends on the bicarbonate concentration (Owens et al. 1998). Direct pH testing of rumen fluid is considered to be the gold standard in SARA diagnosis, Measuring CO2 levels in blood has been positively correlated to rumen pH, and retrieval of blood samples is less laborious than extracting rumen fluid samples (Morgante et al. 2009).

In order to keep acidosis in check, nutritional management is crucial, particularly with respect to feed composition. As SARA is considered to be an economically significant factor in the bovine and ovine agronomy, the present study aimed to determine if acid neutralizing substances added to feed could help alleviate artificially induced SARA in sheep, and if increases in rumen pH (SARA mitigation) were accompanied by, and correlated to, concomitant increases of blood pH.


Ethics Statements: All the ruminal, blood and fecal samples were collected observing all the ethical formalities and the pain management of the animals was done effectively.

Animal sampling: The present investigation enlisted 16 sheep examined in two regions (Lahore and Okara) of the Punjab territory, Pakistan. 16 sheep 1-3 years old and measuring 28-35 kg was purchased from a nearby livestock market in the Lahore and Okara areas. The sheep were housed in individual boxes. Each sheep was given berseem twice a day i.e. at 9 am and 5 pm and water in adequate amount. The animals were adopted for this meal over a period of 20 days. These animals were then isolated into four groups-A, B, C and D.

The four animals in group A was kept as control and was fed on the same diet throughout the study period, while the Berseem allotments were decreased to 90 % of optimal levels for next 3 days to stimulate hunger in 12 of the sheep groups B, C and D. SARA was then induced by administering 250 g of ground wheat flour to animals in test group B, 500 g to group C, and 750 gm to group D, all thrice daily. The amount of berseem was cut in half. SARA was confirmed to have been induced in the test animals via routine clinical signs and monitoring of ruminal pH.

Blood profile of experimentally induced SARA in sheep: Blood tests from these sheep (n=12) and control group (n=4) were collected from jugular vein in vacuum tubes containing EDTA (BIO-VAC). Three ml samples from all sheep were obtained and tested for the following parameters; Hemoglobin (Hb), RBCs count, WBCs numbering and PLTs. The specimens were processed in an aligned blood gas analyzer (EasyStat, Medica, USA). The analyzer was set at the body temperature of the sheep before investigation. Ruminal pH was measured with portable pH meter.

Therapeutic trials to find out efficacy of different concentrations of antacids: Once the animals in all the three induction groups B, C and D were confirmed positive for SARA through rumenocentesis then they were further subjected to treatment trial. Hence, when animals of group B becomes positive for SARA they were treated with treatment regimen 1, animals of induction group C and D were given treatment regimen 2 and 3 respectively, so the effect of three treatments was compared between all the animals positive for SARA. Thus, the treatment was compared not on the basis of severity but on basis of disappearance of clinical signs and change in ruminal pH to normal range. The Group B was treated with treatment regimen 1, which was comprised of Berseem, Sodium Bicarbonate 5% (Soda Bicarb. Symans Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.) and monensin (Sinosin Ghazi Brothers, 20 mg/ animal /day for 10 days).

Animals from group C were treated with treatment regimen 2 i,e Berseem , sodium bicarbonate 10% and monensin (Sinosin Ghazi Brothers, 20 mg/host/day for 10 days), while group C animals were given treatment regimen 3 that was comprised of Berseem, monensin (Sinosin Ghazi Brothers, 20 mg/host/day for 10 days) and SAFI (Hamdard Pakistan Limited; ingredients are: Cassia angustifoli, Smilax China, Sphaeranthus indicus, Nymphaelotus, Daldergia sissoo, Fumaria varbiflora, Dauhinia variegata, Melia azadirachta, Swertia chirata, Tephrosia purpurea, Canscora decussata, Chrozophora Plicata, Curcuma caesia, Cuscuta reflexa, Ipomoea turpethum, Lavandula stoechas, Ocimum canum, Pterocarpus santalinus, Rosa damascene, Terminalia chedula, and Tinospora cordifolia) at a dosage of 20 ml/d.

Treatment impacts upon host animals were evaluated by monitoring the following hematobiochemical parameters: Blood pH, Ruminal fluid pH, Serum Amyloid A and Haptoglobin, hemoglobin (Hgb), WBC, RBC counts and PLT.


Experimental animals were divided in to 4 groups. Group A was kept control to compare the values of blood pH (BpH), ruminal fluid pH (RpH), hematological parameters red blood cell count (RBCs), hemoglobin (Hb%), platelet count (PLT) and white blood cell count (WBCs). The groups B, C and D were subjected to induction of SARA with rations 1, 2 and 3. The data revealed slight decline in blood pH from7.3 to 7.2 in group B 7.1 to 7.3 in group C and 7.3 to 7.1 in group D. The major decline was noted in ruminal fluid pH. 6.92 to 5.63 pH decline was noted in induction group B, while in group C it declined from 7.10 to 5.58 and in group D it was observed from 7.24 to 5.51. As for as hematological parameters were concerned, no significant change was noticed in RBCs and Hb % among control and inducted groups.

There was a significant increase (p<0.05) observed in the WBCs count after the induction of SARA in experimental groups C and D. Significant change (p<0.05) in Haptoglobin was also noted in all induced groups.

Efficacy of different concentration of antacids on blood pH, different blood parameters and ruminal fluid pH: Experimental animals were isolated into four groups. Group A was kept as a control to establish baseline marks for the physiological parameters monitored in this study. Groups B, C and D were the experimental treatment groups induced with SARA via the application of three different dietary regimens. Animals in group B experienced a reduction of blood pH from 7.2 to 7.1. This was accompanied by an increase in the ruminal fluid pH. A decrease of blood pH was noted in treatment group C from 7.3 to 7.2 with increase ruminal pH from 5.58 to 5.99. While Group D exhibit no change in blood pH but ruminal pH increased from 5.51 to 6.03 after treatment. With respect to hematological parameters slight increase in RBC was observed in all the groups after treatment.

There was an increase in WBC counts in groups B, C and slight decrease was observed in group D. Noteworthy was the change (P0.05). The study depicts the importance of buffers in feed rations for adjustment of the ruminal pH. Mould et al. (1983) in their study treated mild cases of acidosis through withholding concentrates and feeding hay. The authors emphasized on the supplementary therapy with oral antacids (magnesium hydroxide, magnesium oxide or sodium bicarbonate) at 1 g/Kg body weight. Similarly, oral solutions (electrolyte) containing sodium bicarbonate was also advised.

Conclusions: In the present study significant differences were recorded in WBC counts and in the haptoglobin levels in SARA afflicted and healthy sheep and non significant differences in the other blood parameters i.e. Hb estimation, RBCs count and PLT count. The highest WBC counts were recorded in animals suffering from SARA while lowest were recorded in control group. After administration of different concentrations of sodium bicarbonates and local herbal drugs a light sudden drop in blood pH (7.3 to 7.1) was recorded whereas a major decline was recorded in the pH of ruminal fluid i.e. 1.29, 1.52 and 1.73 in groups B, C and D, respectively.

As a result of therapeutic trials with different antacids, it was concluded that there was non significant difference in efficacy of different concentrations of soda bicarbonates and local herbal drugs although pH levels were increased in three different groups of animals. We conclude that SARA may be diagnosed via the measurement of key hematobiochemical parameters.

Acknowledgments: We acknowledge the staff of Clinical Medicine and Surgery (CMS) department, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore, Department of Livestock and Dairy Development Punjab in the collection of fecal samples in district Okara and Lahore. In addition, we are thankful to Higher Education Commission (HEC), Islamabad, Pakistan for providing research funds for various research activities to fulfill the study project.

Financial Disclosure: The authors declared that this study has received financial support from HEC Islamabad, the Government of Pakistan.

Authors Contributions: ASC, MAK, MSK and KA designed and plan the study. ASC and MHS collected the samples and data from the field, ASC executed the experimental work and wrote the initial draft of paper, TU, NUK and IA helped in analyzing the data and in writing of manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Conflict of interest statement: All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Publication:Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Feb 28, 2018

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