Sunday, June 16, 2024
Home Farming Tips What To Do When Your Cow Eats A Plastic Bag 

What To Do When Your Cow Eats A Plastic Bag 

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Umar Nsubuga

Grace Nakityo, a resident of Kiteezi in Wakiso rears indigenous cows in public grazing areas which are littered with plastic bags (buveera).

“Inevitably I fear it might have swallowed some polythene. This is because it has developed persistent diarrhoea. Are there any drugs that can lubricate my cow’s intestines so that the polythene can be passed out, or should I dispose of the animal before it dies? The cow has not shown any negative signs except the diarrhoea,” says.

Muhammad Kiyemba, a veterinary doctor says it is likely but not certain that your cow has swallowed a plastic bag (buveera). You need to have an open mind as you investigate the cause of the problem.

“The fact that the pasture is littered with buveera does not necessarily mean your cow has eaten it. Some cows graze on grounds littered with buveera but when slaughtered they do not have any (buveera) in the stomach. Indigenous cattle in particular seem to successfully avoid eating buveera, but this needs to be investigated,” he explains.

Besides, he says buveera are not the only cause of persistent diarrhoea in cattle. There are several other causes, an example is johne’s diseases (a bacterial infection similar to T.B), bovine viral diarrhoea, and some other poisonous substances.

So, you need to get a veterinarian to do an investigation. Should it be what you suspect, your cow will need a surgical operation, he says.

“So far no drug can dissolve polythene in the stomach of a cow, or enable it to go through the gut. Neither can you pull it out through the stomach, says Kiyemba.

According to Kiyemba, a qualified vet should be able to cut through the stomach and remove the buveera. This operation can be performed on your farm.

“Often people do not want to spend money on operating indigenous cattle because it is too expensive. They would rather slaughter or sell them. This argument is not valid, particularly considering how many calves the cow is likely to deliver or how much milk it is going to produce if you save it,” he says.

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