The influence of types of roughage, barley straw (diet B) versus lucerne hay (diet L), on the patho-physiology of a T. congolense infection was compared in eight pairs of Scottish Blackface male twin lambs. One animal of each twin pair was infected and the other used as a pair-fed control. Voluntary food intake, body weight, digestive function, various blood haematological and biochemical measurements were made.
Voluntary organic matter intake decreased significantly after the T. congolense infection, the decrease being greater in the diet L group than in the diet B group lambs (P < 0·01). The apparent digestibility coefficients of crude protein and organic matter were significantly lower in the infected lambs (P < 0·01). Mean retention time of the roughage through the digestive tract in the animals given barley straw was significantly longer (P < 0·05) due to a lower rumen outflow rate constant (P < 0·01). Infection resulted in longer mean retention times (P < 0·01).
Packed cell volume (PCV) was significantly lower before infection in the animals given diet B (P < 0·01). After infection, diet (P < 0·01) and infection (P < 0·01) had an additive effect on PCV. The anaemia was both macrocytic (P < 0·05) and hypochromic (P < 0·01).
Diet B resulted in higher plasma cholesterol (P < 0·05), but lower plasma urea (P < 0·01) and albumin (P < 0·01) concentrations before infection than diet L. The T. congolense infection significantly lowered plasma cholesterol (P < 0·01) and increased plasma urea (P < 0·01) concentrations compared with the uninfected controls. Plasma albumin concentrations decreased, but were more affected by nutrition (P < 0·01) than by infection (P < 0·05).
It ivas concluded that the patho-physiological effects of the T. congolense infection in the Scottish Blackface lambs were affected by the type of roughage offered, but that these effects were additive rather than interactive to the effects of infection.