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close this bookEthnoveterinary Medicine in Asia - Ruminants (IIRR, 1994, 143 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCollaborating organizations
View the documentParticipants and workshop staff
View the documentHow to use this manual
View the documentLack of appetite
View the documentFever
View the documentCoughs and colds
View the documentDiarrhea
View the documentDehydration
View the documentBloat
View the documentConstipation
View the documentPoisoning
View the documentInternal parasites: Stomach and gut worms
View the documentLiverflukes
View the documentTick infestation
View the documentScabies (mange)
View the documentLice
View the documentFungus infections of the skin
View the documentInfectious diseases
View the documentFoot rot
View the documentEye diseases
View the documentWounds
View the documentBleeding
View the documentSnake bite
View the documentSprains
View the documentDifficulty in urinating
View the documentHousing
View the documentFeeding
View the documentMineral deficiency
View the documentBreeding
View the documentPregnancy and birthing
View the documentCare of mother animals after birthing
View the documentCare of newborn
View the documentUdder infection
View the documentDecreased milk flow


Animals sometimes have too much gas in their stomach. This is called bloat.


· The animal's abdomen is big on the left side. It sounds like a drum when you tap it.
· Thick and foamy saliva.
· Loss of appetite.
· Animal stops eating or chewing.
· Fast breathing.
· Restlessness.
· Kicks with hind legs.


Two main causes of bloat are the wrong type of feed and presence of infectious diseases. An animal may have bloat:

· After eating a lot of leguminous plants, young grass, or grass that has been extensively fertilized with nitrogen.

· After sudden changes to certain types of feed ration.

· After eating ripe fruits and other foodstuffs that ferment easily.

· After eating poisonous plants or feed with chemical residues. .

· After drinking water contaminated with poisonous chemicals or waste materials.

· When something blocks off the passage of food.

· When it has constipation.

· After eating plastic or other foreign matter.

· Because of paralysis of the nerves.

· Because of infectious diseases such as hemorrhagic septicemia.

Bloat can occur in adult animals, especially cattle, when the weather changes, because this means a change from dry to wet feed.

Sudden bloat

Bloat that starts suddenly is very dangerous. It can kill the animal within a few hours if you do not treat it immediately. Watch for these symptoms:

· The animal lies down on the ground.
· The legs are stiff and spread out when standing. The animal refuses to move.
· When you look in its eyes, the pupil (the dark part of the eye) is partly or completly invisible
· Green discharge with chewed feed comes out of its nose and mouth.

If you see these symptoms, pierce the rumen immediately. Then consult an expert straight away.

Sudden bloat

Piercing the rumen

You will need a sharp knife (1 - 2 cm wide and 8 - 10 cm long) and a bamboo tube about 30 cm long (the length of a man's foot) and as wide as a man's thumb.

Wash these thoroughly with soap and clean water. Disinfect the knife by heating it over a fire and cool it before use. Hold the knife in one hand and the bamboo in the other. On the left side of the animal, stab the highest point of the swollen (bloated) part with the knife. Push the knife blade all the way into the hole. Remove the knife and immediately insert one end of the bamboo into the hole. Gas will come out through the tube. Release the gas for 30 minutes. Then, pour a mixture of 300 ml vegetable oil and 30 ml of turpentine oil into the bamboo tube. The mixture of oil will break up the bubbles in the rumen which cause the bloat and help prevent its recurrence. Remove the bamboo, and the wound will immediately close and heal on its own because the skin of the animal is tight. However, to avoid possible infection, you may apply powdered charcoal, fresh from the stove and cooled.

Piercing the rumen


· Do not give water to the animals before or immediately after they have grazed on wet pasture.

· Put grasses that are wet in the sun for 2-3 hours before you give them to the animals.

· During the rainy season, feed the animal with dry fodder first before sending it onto wet pasture.

· If you are changing the feed ration, mix and feed half of the previous ration with half of the new ration on the first day. Increase the proportion of the new ration while decreasing that of the old ration for the next 2-3 days until you feed the new ration completely.

· Do not give too much feed that can cause bloat (such as clover and lucerne).

· Keep animals away from contaminated water sources.


· If constipation is the cause of bloat, see Constipation.

If the bloat is not too serious, give any of the following remedies to facilitate the release of gas. The amounts given are for adult cattle or buffaloes. For calves, goats and sheep, use one-third or one-half of these amounts. If the bloat remains for more than 2 days even after treatment, seek professional help.

· Drench 300-500 ml of any of these oils: coconut oil, vegetable oil or peanut oil, once a day for 2-3 days. Repeat the treatment once after the bloat is gone. (India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand. 1, 2, 3, 4)

@ Caution

Drenching should be done carefully since the animal's rumen is already full of gas. The animal will refuse to swallow any liquid. Forcing the animal may result in the liquid ending up in the lungs rather than the stomach. To prevent this, give the fluid slowly. Observe if the animal swallows. If it does not, try to stimulate the tongue as you pour the liquid, or massage the rectum to stimulate belching.

· Mix 3 tablespoons or 30-40 ml of turpentine oil with any edible oil (see list in the previous remedy). For adult cattle and buffaloes, drench 2-3 cups for the first dose. Repeat for a second dose after 4-5 hours. Give the last dose the next day. (India. 1, 2)

· Give 200 ml of castor oil to an adult animal. Do this once only. If the bloat persists, use any of the other remedies. (India. 1, 2)

· Drench warm vinegar twice a day. For adult cattle or buffalo, use 1 ½ to 2 cups (½ liter) of vinegar. Force the animal to walk to help release the gas. (Cambodia. 1, 2, 3)

· Mix 1 tablespoon of detergent (washing powder) with ½ liter (1 ½-2 cups) of water. Drench once. (India. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

· In treating mild bloat, you can chop up 2 fresh banana leaves (for calves) or 3-5 leaves (for adult animals). Feed the chopped leaves 2-3 times a day for 2 days. (Philippines. 1, 2, 3, 4)

· 2 handfuls of fresh leaves of Acacia concinna. 3 tablespoons of dried seeds of Trachyspermum ami. 3 tablespoons of resin of Ferula assa-foetida.

Grind or pound these ingredients separately. Mix the powder together and add 50 g of brown sugar to make a bolus. Put into the mouth of the animal, twice a day for 2-3 days. (India)

· Mix 2 handfuls of pulp of ripe Tamarindus indica fruit in 1 cup of water. Extract and add the juice to 1-2 matchboxfuls of ground and dried Terminalia chebula fruit. Add 4 more cups of water. This makes enough liquid to dose an adult animal once. Drench the mixture to a sick animal twice a day for 2-3 days. (India. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

· Fresh or dried ginger rhizome. Resin of Ferula assa-foetida. Seeds of Peucadenum graveolens. Seeds of Trachyspermum ami. Fruit of Embelia ribes. Resin of Gardenia gummifera. Baking powder (sodium bicarbonate).

Take equal amounts of the ginger, Peucadenum graveolens seeds, Embelia ribes fruit and baking soda. Add l/4 of this amount of Ferula assa-foetida resin and half of the amount of baking soda. Mix all the ingredients and grind them to a powder. Mix 2 tablespoons of this powder with brown sugar and 300 ml water. Feed 2-3 times the first day. Repeat this dosage once a day for the next 2 days. (India)

After treatment

· Open the mouth of a healthy animal until you can fit your hand inside. Take the chewed cud and mix it with ½-1 liter (3-5 cups) of water. Drench the diseased animal. This helps the bloated animal digest feed. (India. 1, 2, 3)

· Put a rope the thickness of your thumb in the animal's mouth and tie it around the head. The animal will chew the rope. This will stimulate salivation and help release the gas. (Philippines. 1, 2, 3, 4)

Applying the treatment

After treatment