PROFILING PHYSIOLOGICAL, HAEMATOLOGICAL AND SERUM BIOCHEMICAL PARAMETERS OF DONKEYS (Equus asinus) IN NORTHWESTERN NIGERIA

217
CHAPTER ONE1.0 INTRODUCTION

In Nigeria, like anywhere else, donkey (Equus asinus) has been used as a work animal

mainly for transportation; conveying farm produce to the market or pulling of carts and other

farm tillage equipment (Starkey and Starkey, 2004; Blench et al., 2004; Hassan et al., 2013)

and of recently for production of milk for children, who are allergic to bovine milk (Carrocio

et al., 2000; Caldin et al., 2005; Mansueto et al., 2013), and in animal assisted therapy and

activity in humans (Borioni et al., 2012). However, donkey production is constrained by many

production factors such as poor nutrition, disease, poor genetic potential, management and

harsh environmental factors (Ademosum, 1994; Yilma et al., 1997; Simenew et al., 2011). Of

all the factors, poor nutrition and disease conditions are rampant with significant impact on

the performance of animals (Ademosum, 1994; Crane, 1997). Donkeys are known to survive

with little management. Their body conditions may fluctuate during the year as feed supply

fluctuates resulting in poor body condition, weight loss and delay in resumption of ovarian

cycles after parturition (Pearson et al., 1999).

The low productivity of livestock on pasture-based extensive grazing systems needs to

be improved, and this entails an evaluation of their nutritional status. The assessment of

nutritional and health status of animals can be made by determining the concentrations of

certain blood metabolite such as non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB),

glucose and cholesterol (Ndlovu et al., 2007). Their concentrations indicate the extent of the

metabolism of energy, proteins and other nutrients in the animals (Pambu-Gollah et al., 2000;

Agenas et al., 2006). Changes in the concentration of circulating nutrient-sensitive

metabolites are important signals of the metabolic status of the animal and the organs function

(Lindsay et al., 1993; Wettemann et al., 2003). Other blood metabolites, such as total protein, albumin, globulin, creatinine and urea, are indicators of the protein status. Factors including the physiological status of an animal, health status, breed, nutrition, season and age may affect the concentration of these metabolites in the blood (Ndlovu et al., 2007).

It has been established that rectal temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate are

relevant body parameters for immediate evaluation of stress and health status and adaptability

of animals (Ayo et al., 1996; Minka and Ayo 2007; Dey et al., 2010). Disease diagnosis in

animals is largely dependent on physiological examination and laboratory results expected to

reflect biological variations. This in turn requires understanding of the basal physiological,

haematological and serum biochemical profiles of an apparently healthy animal whose

measurement provides invaluable information concerning the health status of an animal (Mori

et al., 2003; Mori et al., 2004).

Haematological evaluations were carried out for a variety of reasons such as screening

procedure to determine the general health and nutritional status of the animal, as an adjunct to

an infection and to ascertain the progress of disease conditions (Friday et al., 2014) and

distinguish between normal and stress conditions (Olabanji et al., 2007). Haematological

values provide baseline information for comparison in conditions of nutrient deficiency,

physiology and health status of farm animals (NseAbasi et al., 2014) and help in providing

information on the relationship between blood characteristics and the environment (Ovuru and

Ekweozor, 2004; Isaac et al. 2013).

However, unlike other livestock species, there is very scanty information on the

baseline physiological, haematological and serum biochemical parameters of the donkey in

Nigeria, some of the works published includes; Yakubu and Chafe (2005); Garba et al.

(2015); Zakari et al. (2015) and Zakari et al. (2016). Therefore, a study on the donkey to

 

determine the parameters is necessary, and it will be the basis for providing interventions that

may improve the productivity of the donkey.

1.1 JUSTIFICATION

The assessment of nutritional status, stress and disease diagnosis are mainly dependent

upon deviation from the normal range of physiological, haematological and serum

biochemical values. However, in the absence of established reference value of any

physiological and blood parameters, one can be exposed to misinterpretation of nutritional

deficiencies, and in diagnosing and treating different disease conditions (Simenew et al,

2011). Despite the extended use of haematology in equine nutrition and medicine,

interpretation may be a challenge in some cases, because it can be significantly influenced by

a great number of factors such as sex, age and location (Jain, 2003; Rose and Hodgson, 2004;

Messer, 2005; Kramer, 2015). In Nigeria, there were scanty reported works that determined

the normal physiological, haematological and biochemical profile of working donkeys under

traditional management system. Therefore, this study was designed to evaluate and establish

these parameters in donkeys found in Northwestern Nigeria.

1.2 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The broad objective of this study was to determine physiological, haematological and

serum biochemical profiles and their variations with age, sex and location in donkeys reared

in Northwestern Nigerian

1.2.1 Specific Objectives of the Study

  1. To determine physiological, haematological and serum biochemical profile of

donkeys in Northwestern Nigeria.

 

4
  1. To assess the variation in physiological, haematological and serum

biochemical parameters among different ages and sexes of donkeys in

Northwestern Nigeria.

  1. To assess the variation in physiological, haematological and serum

biochemical parameters among donkeys in three states of Northwestern

Nigeria.

1.1 Experimental Hypothesis

  1. Null Hypothesis (H o) = Location has no effect on physiological, haematological and

serum biochemical parameters of donkeys in Northwestern Nigeria.

Alternate Hypothesis (H a) = Location has effect on physiological, haematological and

serum biochemical parameters of donkeys in Northwestern Nigeria.

  1. Null Hypothesis (H o) = Sex has no effect on physiological, haematological and serum

biochemical parameters among male and female of donkeys in Northwestern Nigeria.

Alternate Hypothesis (H a) = Sex has effect on physiological, haematological and serum

biochemical parameters among male and female of donkeys in Northwestern Nigeria.

  1. Null Hypothesis (H o) = Age has no effect on the physiological, haematological and serum

biochemical of Northwestern Nigerian donkeys.

Alternate Hypothesis (H a) = Age has effect on the physiological, haematological and

serum biochemical of Northwestern Nigerian donkeys

______________________________________