Nepal Deg Nala Disease in Buffaloes & Cattle: Clinical Study

By: Dr.Kedar Karki

Clinical-Epidemiological Study of Prevalence, etiology, chemotherapy of Deg Nala disease in buffaloes and cattle in Nepal.

Dr.Kedar Karki

M.V.St.Preventive Veterinary Medicine

Central Luzon State University Munoz Philippines

Veterinary Officer

Central Veterinary Laboratory


The prevalence, etiology, chemotherapy and control of Deg Nala disease were studied. The disease occurs in winter months when fungal infested rice straw is fed to cattle and buffaloes. Buffaloes are more frequently affected than cattle and younger animals appear to be more susceptible. The possibility of mycotoxin in causation of the disease is discussed. The most frequently found fungi species recorded from rice straw were: Aspergillus, Aspergillus flavus and Penicillium notatum. Therapeutic trials with various drugs were carried out, but 2% of Antidegnala liquor orally, or5% of Antidegnala liquor S/C or I/M giving the highest cure rate.

Key words: Deg Nala disease, etiology, prevalence, chemotherapy, buffalo, Antidegnala liquor, Banke, Nepal


Raising buffaloes and cattle in Pakistan, Nepal and India is one way of augmenting the financial resources of village people.These animals are mainly raised on rice and wheat straw which are of poor nutritional quality .Rice and wheat plant when infested by fungus Fusarium causes severe health problem many researcher in this regard has documented. Infections that may be debilitating in nature can cause significant economic losses as a result ofDecreased production confounded by reduced growth rate, mortality and poor animal performance. An effort to improve animal production in the village calls for suitable control or therapeutic measures of any disease. Experimental evaluation of the immunologic properties and treatment of F. graminearum infections should be considered. The genus Fusarium contains important producing species that have been implicated in several animal.diseases including Degnala disease hemorrhagic,estrogenic, emetic feed refusal syndromes ,fescue foot moldy sweet potato toxicosis,been hulls poisoning,and Equine leukoencephalomalacia.Many of these mycotoxin producing species have been also implicated in several human disease such as alimentary toxic aleukia,urov or Kashin-Beck disease,Akakabi-byo or scabby grain intoxication and esophageal cancer.( Deg Nala disease, which causes necrosis and gangrene of the dependent parts in cattle and buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis L.) is known to exist in Indo-Pakistan, as a number of cases were recorded stemming from a monsoon rainwater stream in the area of Murdike (Sheikhpura District), near Nala Deg in Pakistan (SHIRLAW, 1939). A widespread occurrence of the disease has been reported from rice growing areas of Indo-Pakistan (IRFAN, 1971; KALRA et al., 1972; IRFAN and MAQBOOL, 1986) which caused considerable economic losses. Karki reported same disease from area of banke district since year 1990.

Materials and methods

Prevalence. The outbreaks of Deg Nala disease occurring during 1998 through 1999 were recorded in 5 villages of Bankatwa,Mahadev puri,Bethani,KhajuraKhurda Manokapur Village development commiti of Banke district of Midwestern Nepal . The observation period was from November to February.

Isolation of fungi. Samples of infested rice straw, containing multiple dark specks, were collected from areas where natural outbreaks of Deg Nala disase had been recorded. Isolation of fungi on potato dextrose agar, yeast soluble starch agar.

Therapeutic trials. A total of 80 randomly selected naturally clinically affected animals were further divided in to 4 groups of 20 animals each. The following therapeutic regimens were tried.

Treatment A. 5% Antidegnala liquor 5-10 ml S/C or I/M 4 times in a week on alternate day.

Treatment B. Daily oral administration of 2 % Antidegnala liquor 2ml for 10 days.

Treatment C. A single intramuscular injection of terramycin-LA (Pfizer; 200 mg oxytetracycline/ml) 20 mg/kg b.w. local treatment of lesions proceeded as in treatment A.



During a one year study period a total of 640 cases were recorded in 5 villages of the district. Of these 470 were buffaloes and 170 were cattle . Of the buffaloes which showed lesions, 150 were young, 320 adult; 65 were males and 405 were females. 170 Sahiwal cattle which showed lesions, 139 were young, 31 adult; 134 were males and 36 were females. The disease was prevalent from November to February. The lesions developed only in cattle and buffaloes fed continuously on rice straw containing multiple dark specks.

Fungi isolated from infested rice straw. Species of fungi were isolated from the samples of rice straw, the most frequently recorded were: Aspergillus niger, Mucor hiemalis, Aspergillus flavus and Penicillium notatum.

Signs and lesions. Severe cases lingered for 1 to 2 months, but in others the wounds healed within a few weeks. The diseased animals were invariably weak. Ulcerative wounds and gangrene developed on the limbs and other dependent parts of the body. Almost all cases showed gangrene of the tail, which was shrivelled and cold to the touch. Invariably, one or both ears showed signs of dry gangrene. In some cases the muzzle and even the tip of the tongue became gangrenous and was shed. One or more hooves showed lesions in varying stages of development. In some cases the affected feet and legs were swollen up to the knee; hair was denuded and inflammatory changes set in. Later, wounds appeared on the coronet, fetlock, pastern, knee and in the hock region. In very advanced cases the lower regions of the feet become gangrenous. In some cases the hooves were shed and bones were exposed. The gangrenous portions of the tail, tips of the ears, tongue and other affected parts of the body, dropped off, although wounds healed in the course of time.

Therapeutic trials. The highest cure rate (90%) was observed with treatment A, followed by treatment B (70%). Treatments C had an identical cure rate of 30%.


The disease is strongly associated with the feeding of rice straw containing multiple dark specks. This observation is concurs with the findings of earlier researchers (IRFAN and MAQBOOL, 1986) who reported that fungal infested straw and fungal mats of various species in different combinations, when mixed with fresh non-infested rice straw, produced the disease. Saprophytic fungi infesting rice straw produce mycotoxins possessing vasoconstriction, which produces the lesions of the disease (IRFAN et al., 1984). The greater severity of the disease in buffaloes as compared to that in cows may partly be due to the high susceptibility of this species. Therapeutic trials with an antidote Antidegnala Liquor given orally, and parentally gave highest percentage (90%) cure rate. This cure rate was in a broad agreement with the findings of SCHOENTAL (1980) who reported a cure rate of 80% with a penta-sulphate mixture. Secondary bacterial infections of the lesions were at least partially responsible for the severity of the disease. To address this complicating factor, long-acting Terramycin was injected parenterally. Moreover simultaneous use of antifungal(Diethylamine acetarsol,Acetylarson,Antidegnala liquior) induced development of immunity and was proven to be effective against infection.Taking the result of this study it is recommended that effort should be directed toward the prevention of F.graminearum infection in animals. Moreover further study should be conducted to confirm the involvement of this fungus in other animal and poultry diseases.Finaly the application of Diethylamine Acetarsol or its depravities(anti-degnala liquior) other immunomodulator for treatment of F.graminearum infection in domestic animals should be looked into.


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