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Cattle Deaths Attributed to Urea Poisoning

6 February 2012, at 9:01am

MEXICO - The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (SAGARPA) has confirmed that the death of 600 head of cattle in Actopan was caused by urea poisoning.

Poultry manure contains large amounts of urea, which is transformed into ammonia inside the stomach of the animal and generates amino acids or proteins, substances that cause excessive intoxication, reports ProMED.

The delegate of SAGARPA, José Vicente Ramirez Martinez, said the death of 600 head of cattle in the municipality of Actopan was caused by poisoning by consumption of a cheap food of bad quality called ‘pollinaza’ (manure), which the stock ranchers gave to their livestock without realising the consequences.

He commented: “After conducting a study of dead animals, it was discovered that cause of death was the consumption in excessive quantities of a feed comprising a cheap and shoddy chicken litter which poisoned the animals that died.”

“The results showed traces of urea, which involves a pattern of intoxication, however, independently of this we are awaiting the outcome [of the investigation] of the manure," explained the federal official.

According to studies by SAGARPA, the manure contains large amounts of urea, which is transformed into ammonia within the stomach of the animal and produces amino acids or proteins, substances that in excess lead to poisoning.

A moderator from ProMED added: “Much of the nitrogen in poultry litter is in the form of non-protein nitrogen (uric acid, urea and ammonia) and is therefore of lower biological value than true protein.

“Urea toxicity (poisoning) may be a problem if urea is fed at high levels. Most cases of urea poisoning are due to poor mixing of feed or to errors in calculating the amount of urea to add to the ration. Accidental overconsumption of urea-containing supplements also has resulted in some cases of urea toxicity. If the proper level of urea is added to the ration and it is mixed uniformly, no problem should arise.”