Animal Nutrition

Animal Health Matters

The term "animal nutrients" refers to the dietary requirements of animals, which include vitamins, minerals, enzymes, eubiotics, macronutrients, amino acids, and minerals necessary for effective production of milk and meat, healthy bone structures, and reproduction. Animal nutrition is crucial as animals can't create their own food and must rely on plants or other living things for food. Herbivores acquire their sustenance directly from plants, while omnivores get it via eating other creatures that have consumed plants (carnivores). Omnivores are those animals that consume plants and other animals to survive. The manner in which animals are fed affects how well they are nourished. The act of consuming food is called ingestion. Different ways of food absorption are used by various animals. Animal nutrition makes a significant contribution to nutrient-efficient livestock production, promoting the safety and dietary quality of animal products for human consumption, and enhancing the health and welfare of farm animals. These nutrients are required for a number of biological processes, including transport, the storage of other nutrients, and the synthesis of proteins.

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Nutritional Approaches to Animal Health:

Nutritional approaches refer to how an organism obtains nourishment. Primarily, two methods of nourishment exist, which are as follows:

  • Heterotrophic Mode of Nourishment: It is commonly recognized that in a heterotrophic environment, some organisms must depend on other organisms in order to survive. They depend on other living creatures for food. This is referred to as the "heterotrophic mode of nourishment." Creatures known as heterotrophs depend on other organisms for nutrition. Heterotrophic nutrition comes in three different forms, which are as follows:
    • Saprotrophic Nutrition: Saprophytic or saprotrophic nutrition is the process through which non-green plants obtain nutrients from dead and decaying substances. Saprophytes include bacteria, yeast, and fungi.
    • Parasitic Nutrition: It is the feeding behavior in which living things consume their hosts—other living things—without harming them. Parasites are organisms that acquire food in this way. The host, which can be a plant or an animal, is harmed by parasites. Mankind, domesticated animals, and crops are all sickened by parasites. Some of the microorganisms, such as fungi, bacteria, along with other plants, such as Cuscuta, and also animals, which include plasmodium and roundworms, all feed parasitically.
    • Holozoic Nutrition: In the holozoic mode of nutrition, organisms consume solid food. The food could be either an animal product or a plant product. During this process, an organism takes in complex organic food material, digests it, and then absorbs the food into its cells. Egestion is the process by which organisms expel the food that hasn't been absorbed from their bodies.
  • Autotrophic Mode of Nourishment: The words "autotroph" and "troph" both mean nutrition, and together they make up the word autotroph. Self-nutrition is the definition of autotrophic nutrition. With the help of sunlight and a few basic inorganic ingredients such as water, mineral salts, and carbon dioxide, an organism can manufacture its own food through the process of autotrophic nutrition.

Most Important Nutrients in Animals:

Animals consume nutrients using a wide range of feeding habits. Some of the major nutrients that are consumed by animals include nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins and minerals.

  • Proteins: They compose the animal body's framework. Twenty different types of amino acids make up animal proteins. Although many amino acids can be produced, a large number still need to be consumed through diet. Proteins are disassembled into their individual amino acids during digestion, and the body absorbs these amino acids.
  • Lipids: Cellular and organelle membranes, the sheaths covering nerve fibers, and certain hormones are all made of lipids. Fats, one kind of lipid, are incredibly helpful energy providers.
  • Carbohydrates: Animals eat carbohydrates that come from their surroundings (compared with plants, which synthesize carbohydrates by photosynthesis). Every animal consumes between 50 and 70 percent of its daily caloric intake from carbs. The carbohydrate that provides the most energy is glucose. Animals eat carbs to get their energy from sugar as glucose serves as the main energy source for some of the tissues of animals. Glucose is also used to produce lactose by the mammary glands.
  • Nucleic acids: Nucleic acids are obtained by animals from plant and animal tissues, particularly from cells that have nuclei. The nucleic acids are converted during digestion into nucleotides, which are then taken up by the cells.
  • Vitamins: Pertaining to organic substances that are necessary in minute quantities for animal health. Vitamins can either be fat- or water-soluble. While fat-soluble vitamins are kept in the liver in the form of fat droplets, water-soluble vitamins must be regularly taken.
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Importance of Supplements to Boost Nutrition:

  • By fortifying their bones and enhancing bone and joint health, supplements containing minerals such as calcium and phosphorus play a crucial part in the skeletal and structural development of the animals.
  • Different additives cater to various nutritional needs, they all work to promote the animal's overall growth. Supplements also strengthen the immune system and aid in disease prevention.
  • Supplements support the animals' numerous biological processes, which increases production as healthy animals produce more.

Are Probiotics and Prebiotics Good for Animals?

Prebiotics are dietary components that the host microbiota can selectively ferment, changing the composition in a way that is helpful. Prebiotics typically consist of fiber-rich substances of various chemical compositions, such as fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), which have been shown to selectively increase lactobacilli and bifidobacteria populations while lowering the colonization of Salmonella spp. and other pathogenic microbes in the guts of chickens and pigs. The performance of the animal itself is consistently enhanced by the use of probiotic strains, in which live bacteria help the host. It has been demonstrated that particular strains of the bacteria Bacillus and Lactobacillus spp. improve the general health of pigs exposed to Salmonella and lower the number of Campylobacter infections in poultry. During pet food processing, both these prebiotic and probiotic dietary components are used to balance out the diet of the animals.

Problems Faced by

Animals with Nutrients Deficiency:

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  • Energy and Protein Deficiency: The most typical nutrient deficiency is an energy shortage. Energy and Protein deficiency results in:
    • Young animals' growth is slowed down, and puberty takes longer to start.
    • It's possible for calves and lambs to be born frail and small.
    • Prolonged anoestrus that lasts for several months and has a noticeable impact on a breeding herd's ability to reproduce.
    • Animals that are mature have weight loss and reduced milk supply.
    • Muscular underdevelopment
  • Deficiency of Anemia: Iron insufficiency is the most prevalent deficit detected in dogs and piglets. Rarely is iron deficiency dietary in nature; it usually results from ongoing blood loss. Milk contains extremely little iron, and young animals have very little stored iron. This can be crucial for piglets, who frequently grow quickly and are kept indoors without access to iron. Treatment for iron insufficiency involves injectable or oral iron supplements, and any sources of blood loss need to be stopped. The deficiencies that will most likely result in anemia are:
    • Iron
    • Niacin
    • pyridoxine (B6)
    • riboflavin
    • cobalamin (B12)
    • vitamin E
  • Deficiency of Copper: The iron metabolism depends on copper. In addition, pigs fed whey diets may suffer copper insufficiency as a result of excessive dietary molybdenum or sulphate levels in cattle. Diagnostic criteria include low copper levels in the blood or (more conclusively) in liver biopsies. Oral or injectable copper supplements are used as a treatment.
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