The effects of Fasciola gigantica infection on bodyweight gain, dry matter intake, digestibility of nutrients and feed conversion efficiency in buffalo calves were investigated. Nine male buffalo calves of the Murrah breed, aged 12 to 15 months with a mean (se) bodyweight of 166 (12.5) kg, were randomly assigned to groups of five (group 1) and four (group 2). The animals in group 1 were given 1000 viable, mature metacercariae of F gigantica orally, while the animals in group 2 served as uninfected controls. They were stall fed on diets containing a concentrate mixture and ad libitum wheat straw and were maintained by standard management practices for a period of 165 days after infection. The average daily liveweight gain of the infected animals was 110.6 g, compared with 439.4 g in the uninfected controls, and was associated with the appearance and establishment of immature flukes in hepatic bile ducts. The feed conversion efficiency declined significantly (P<001) from 41 days after infection and was lowest at the end of the experiment. F gigantica infection did not influence the digestibility of the nutrients. The impaired feed conversion efficiency was mainly due to a reduction in dry matter intake due to inappetence.
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