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Baking Soda For Acidosis In Cattle

Horsemen Feed Baking Soda For Varying Reasons

Horsemen Feed Baking Soda For Varying Reasons

By Denise Steffanus Horsemen’s forums on the Internet abound with misinformation. One topic often discussed is daily feeding of sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. Horsemen who train performance horses, and in particular racehorses, know that administering a large dose of sodium bicarbonate (about 18 ounces in a slurry of electrolytes, sugar, and water) can boost performance. Called a “milkshake,” it is given to a horse via nasogastric tube about six hours before a race to increase stamina by buffering lactic acid in muscles. Milkshakes are banned from racing, and trainers who use them suffer stiff penalties. But a segment of horsemen, both on the farm and on the racetrack, use a small amount of baking soda – one or two tablespoons – as a daily tonic. Reasons they give for doing this range from preventing a horse from tying up to improving the horse’s disposition. Warnings against its use include interference with digestion, colic, or sudden cardiac death. Few claims are true. Sodium bicarbonate is an alkalizing agent. When used on a daily basis, it is mixed in the horse’s feed or water. Most commonly, those who use it hope the baking soda will prevent ulcers by buffering acid in the horse’s digestive system, or help a horse get over the rigors of training by buffering lactic acid that accumulates in its muscles after a gallop or workout. Humans can identify lactic acid as the “burn” you feel when your muscles tire. Baking soda to buffer acid in the gut Dr. Joe Pagan, equine nutritionist and founder of Kentucky Equine Research, has studied the effects of sodium bicarbonate as a feed additive, particularly to treat hindgut acidosis by buffering excess acid in the large intestine. Horses suffering from hindgut acidosis may develop anorexia, colic, wood Continue reading >>

Keep Sodium Bicarbonate For Buffering In Dairy Cow Rations

Keep Sodium Bicarbonate For Buffering In Dairy Cow Rations

The modern dairy cow has a greater capacity to digest feedstuffs and convert them into milk. The genetic potential of modern dairy cows for milk production is a true balancing acts between level of milk production and supply of additional nutrients to the small intestine. Maximizing rumen fermentation increases VFA production, providing more energy and microbial protein. Still greater fermentation leads to more acid production decreasing the rumen pH. Rumen Ecosystem Dairy Cows must have a healthy rumen environment in order to achieve maximal milk production and for good health. When the rumen environment becomes impaired feed digestion is weakened and a number of metabolic diseases may occur. The rumen microbial population is the central component of the rumen ecosystem. The rumen is essentially a fermentation chamber, where pH is the central issue to a healthy flow in microbial population, stable for fiber and feed intake to be digested at a maximal rate with a pH range from 6.2 to 6.8. When the rumen pH falls below 6, fiber digestion diminishes and dry matter intake declines from a considerable loss in endogenous enzyme functionality and a drop in microbial yield and effectiveness. Modern dairy cows increase the challenges to maintain rumen pH. Relatively high grain rations are fed today for various reasons. The modern dairy cow is genetically superior for its capability to maintain levels of high production and performance cost effectively by elevated nutrient density through increased grain proportions providing necessary energy. However, a consistent reliance upon finely chopped, fermented feeds, and increased grains, retards rumen fermentation by decreased pH. Effects of Buffers/Alkalizes Buffers and alkalis are compounds, which in aqueous solution help resist ch Continue reading >>

Importance Of Lamb Nutrition Management To Avoid Acidosis Back »

Importance Of Lamb Nutrition Management To Avoid Acidosis Back »

Written collaboratively by Nicole Schwebach and Jeff Held. Acidosis (also known as lactic acidosis, grain overload, over-eating or grain poisoning) is a metabolic condition that most commonly occurs with lambs offered grain based diets, but can affect mature sheep. Over-consumption of grain causes excess production of lactic acid in the rumen resulting in pH levels falling below the threshold to maintain microbial bacteria populations and normal rumen function. Since acidosis is not an infectious or contagious disease, it is one of the easier conditions to control since it is dependent on nutrition management decisions. Nutrition management related to starch intake from feed grains is the primary cause of acidosis in fed lambs. The key risk factors for acidosis involving management are abrupt shifts in the amount and rate of starch break down, and improper transition from fiber to starch based diets. Typically lambs are offered growing/finishing diets as grain + pelleted lamb supplement or mixed diets on a self-fed basis, it is expected that either practice results in excellent lamb growth and health. To meet these expectations feeding management must be consistent by having feed access at all times and minimize changes in the physical form of the dietary ingredients. For intensively managed farm flock systems transition from creep to growing/finishing diets is generally seamless; however for lambs reared on pasture it is critical to properly transition lambs from their fiber based diet to those with high levels of starch. An inadequate transition period to starch based diets is a most common cause of lamb acidosis. Observations of acidosis are generally noted 12 to 48 hours following a disruption in good nutrition management. Common signs to look for are loose stools, Continue reading >>

Rumen Acidosis

Rumen Acidosis

Managing disease can be a frustrating proposition. This Guide can help you identify which disease is damaging your cattle. Rumen acidosis is a metabolic disease of cattle. Like most metabolic diseases it is important to remember that for every cow that shows clinical signs, there will be several more which are affected sub-clinically. Acidosis is said to occur when the pH of the rumen falls to less than 5.5 (normal is 6.5 to 7.0). In many cases the pH can fall even lower. The fall in pH has two effects. Firstly, the rumen stops moving, becoming atonic. This depresses appetite and production. Secondly, the change in acidity changes the rumen flora, with acid-producing bacteria taking over. They produce more acid, making the acidosis worse. The increased acid is then absorbed through the rumen wall, causing metabolic acidosis, which in severe cases can lead to shock and death. Cause The primary cause of acidosis is feeding a high level of rapidly digestible carbohydrate, such as barley and other cereals. Acute acidosis, often resulting in death, is most commonly seen in ‘barley beef’ animals where cattle have obtained access to excess feed. In dairy cattle, a milder form, sub-acute acidosis, is seen as a result of feeding increased concentrates compared to forage. Symptoms Acute acidosis often results in death, although illness and liver abscesses may be seen before hand. Cattle may become depressed, go off feed, have an elevated heart rate or diarrhea. Sub-acute: Reduced feed intake Poor body condition and weight loss Unexplained diarrhoea Temperature Pulse rate and respiratory rate may rise Lethargy Treatment Because subacute ruminal acidosis is not detected at the time of depressed ruminal pH, there is no specific treatment for it. Secondary conditions may be treat Continue reading >>

How To Treat Acidosis In Cattle

How To Treat Acidosis In Cattle

Items you will need Sodium bicarbonate 12% formaldehyde Magnesium oxide Charcoal Plastic container Stomach tube Ruminant animals, such as cattle, are adapted to feed primarily on forage. However, in order to increase milk production and growth rates, large amounts of grain are fed to them. A large increase in a calf’s high carbohydrate grain ration can cause overproduction of lactic acid in the rumen, resulting in acidosis, which is too much acid in the calf’s body. Environmental conditions, such as mud, heat and storms, can force cattle to eat greater amounts of grain during the night, instead of proportionate amounts throughout the day. Additionally, feedlot design and watering systems can affect the feeding patterns of the herd. Acidosis can be divided into acute and sub-acute acidosis. Diagnosis Extract ruminal fluid with a stomach tube approximately two to four hours after a grain feeding. Test a cross section of calves’ pH with a pH meter or pH indicator paper. If the pH of more than 25 percent of the tested calves is less than 5.5, then the herd is considered to be at high risk for acidosis. Consider that other factors, such as feed management, herd health problems and feed mixtures, should also be considered in the diagnosis. Treatment Call your veterinarian immediately if your calf shows signs of acidosis. Fast action may be needed to save your calf from acute acidosis or prevent founder, which is a metabolic and vascular disease that involves the inner sensitive structures of the feet. Mix 500 grams of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), 850 cc of 12 percent formaldehyde, which kills the multiplying bacteria, 20 grams of magnesium oxide and 40 grams of charcoal, according to Oklahoma State. Place the mixture in a plastic container, and mix well. Add enough Continue reading >>

Bloat In Cattle

Bloat In Cattle

Bloat In Cattle Definition and Etiology Bloat is the abnormal accumulation of gas in the ruminal forestomachs. Three categories of bloat are (1) frothy bloat caused by diets that lead to the formation of a stable froth or foam in the rumen, (2) free gas bloat caused by diets that lead to excessive gas production and concomitant low intraruminal pH, and (3) free gas bloat caused by failure to eructate from extraruminal causes of gas accumulation such as esophageal obstruction. When bloating occurs, these gases cannot escape, and they continue to build up and cause severe distention of the abdomen, compression of the heart and lungs, and eventually death. Clinical Signs and Differential Diagnosis When cattle experience a case of bloat, the degree of forestomach enlargement and distension can vary. The clinical signs associated with bloat vary from an even filling of the left paralumbar fossa to an extreme abdominal enlargement. Other clinical signs associated with bloat are colic with kicking at the abdomen, treading, frequent lying down and rising, and vocalization. Some animals may exhibit a stretched stance with the rear feet placed far back. As the forestomachs enlarge and the distended rumen compresses the diaphragm, breathing often becomes labored. Open mouth breathing, cyanosis of mucous membranes, and collapse leading to death may occur in extreme cases of bloat. Other conditions to rule out when evaluating a ruminant for bloat or abdominal pain and distension are peritonitis or an infection within the abdominal cavity, water belly or rupture of the urinary bladder, advanced pregnancy, an accumulation of abnormal amounts of fluid within the uterus during pregnancy, left or right abomasal displacement, vagal indigestion, intestinal volvulus (twisted intestines), as Continue reading >>

Intensive Feeding Leads To Rumen Acidosis – Animal Health

Intensive Feeding Leads To Rumen Acidosis – Animal Health

Feedlot operators lose millions of dollars a year from rumen acidosis, a disease brought on by the intensive feeding practices used to fatten cattle. Though some operators think acidosis is a serious disease that causes rapid death, most cases are subclinical, silently eating away at profits. The rumen, which is analogous to a large fermentation vat, works best when it is continuously supplied with forage. Rumen microbes have an active metabolism that converts this form of feed into nutrients that can be readily used. These micro-organisms don’t adjust easily to dietary changes, especially a shift to rations with too much carbohydrate and not enough forage. Because rumen microbes rapidly digest the carbohydrates in grain, large amounts of lactic acid are released into the rumen. Ground feed is broken down faster than whole grain so acid production is even higher. Lactic acid eats away at the rumen wall. As the surface becomes eroded, bacteria and moulds invade and cause infection. If these organisms burrow deeper, they enter blood vessels and migrate to the liver where they stimulate abscess formation. The high quantities of lactic acid can also be absorbed into the blood stream, affecting the body’s pH level. When a sufficient quantity of acid is produced and absorbed, blood pH can drop, sending the animal into shock. Sometimes, these events happen so rapidly that an animal can die without exhibiting signs of illness. In most cases, however, symptoms develop more slowly. The first sign is rapid breathing combined with a high heart rate. This can initially be confused with almost any infectious disease, but cattle with acidosis do not have fevers. As well, acidosis-affected animals often have a profuse watery diarrhea containing undigested feed. As more lactic acid Continue reading >>

Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium Bicarbonate

Summary All Essential Benefits/Effects/Facts & Information Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is a supplement that provides dietary bicarbonate, which can increase serum levels of bicarbonate (normally produced by the kidneys) and subsequently buffer acid production in the body. The main mechanism of action of sodium bicarbonate is in negating the effects of acidosis. It provides benefits both in situations of chronic mild acidosis, commonly seen in metabolic ailments or during aging as kidney function slowly declines, and in exercise-induced acidosis. In athletes, the standard doses of sodium bicarbonate supplementation (200-300 mg/kg) tend to reliably benefit performance when failure on the exercise is associated with metabolic acidosis, aka “the burn.” Sports where failure occurs due to the cardiorespiratory system or due to force production by the central nervous system (e.g., single sprints or rowing in elite rowers) do not appear to reliably benefit from supplemental bicarbonate. Benefits of sodium bicarbonate can be observed with a single dose taken 60-90 minutes before exercise, but supplementation should be approached cautiously as it can cause gastrointestinal side effects if too much is taken at once or, if it’s consumed too rapidly. Additionally, 5 g of sodium bicarbonate taken daily appears to be somewhat effective in reducing acidosis induced by the diet or the aging process (although using potassium bicarbonate appears to be better), and therefore it may reduce the rate of bone loss over time in susceptible populations. There are mechanisms in place for sodium bicarbonate to be a fat-burning agent (it increases ketone production and lipolysis and causes a minor increase in metabolic rate), but these have not yet been linked to actual weight loss in tr Continue reading >>

Consultant's Corner: My Show Steers Are Not Eating Very Well During The Day, But Eating A Lot At Night, And Are Developing Very Runny Manure. Should I Be Concerned?

Consultant's Corner: My Show Steers Are Not Eating Very Well During The Day, But Eating A Lot At Night, And Are Developing Very Runny Manure. Should I Be Concerned?

Yes, you should be concerned. Your calves are showing the first signs of acidosis, a condition where the rumen becomes too acidic because of the level of starch being metabolized by the rumen microorganisms. Right now your calves are just showing the first signs of acidosis. Most likely it is being caused by the different consumption levels which are being caused by the heat. As the average daily temperature rises above 68 degrees Fahrenheit, ruminant animals begin to decrease their feed intake. When temperatures get to extremes, like we have experienced this July, they don’t want to eat very much during the heat of the day. If the feed is available, ruminants will try to make up for it when the temperature cools off in the evening and night. This results in a low level of starch intake during the day followed by a much larger intake of starch at night. It’s the larger intake at night that is causing the problem. The solution to the problem is to try to find a way to reduce the acidity of the rumen, or even out their day and night feed consumption. To reduce the acidity of the rumen, you can either reduce the grain content of the diet or add something to the diet that will counteract the acidity in the rumen, such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Decreasing the grain content is the better idea, unless you need the calves to gain a rate the requires more grain in their diet. Using sodium bicarbonate, free choice if they will eat it that way, or top-dressed on the feed if they won’t, can reduce the acidity in cases where the acidosis is early and not too severe. It won’t help enough if the acidosis is severe. Trying to even out their day and night eating levels is another way to control acidosis. The simplest to reduce the night feeding level is to not allow t Continue reading >>

How To Treat And Prevent Acidosis In Cattle

How To Treat And Prevent Acidosis In Cattle

Reader Approved Acidosis is a metabolic disorder of the rumen (one of the four chambers of a ruminant's stomach [ruminants include animals like cattle and sheep]) where pH levels decrease very rapidly as a result of a sudden switch in diets from roughage (like hay and grass) to high-concentrates (like grain). Acidity below a pH of 5 to 6 supports lactic-acid producing bacteria, and consequently, as lactic acid builds up in the rumen, it can cause even more acid to be produced. Acidosis never occurs in cattle that are on a primary-forage-based diet, but it does more often in feedlot cattle, feed-tested bulls and heifers, and in dairy cows. There are two types of acidosis: acute and sub-acute. Acute acidosis is the more serious condition, as it hits both hard and very quickly, but less frequently for the animal. Sub-acute acidosis is less intense, but more frequent, and can be chronic for an animal, particularly one that is in the feedlot. Both are covered in the steps below. 1 Know the symptoms of Acute Acidosis as described below. Symptoms: Cattle with acute acidosis may go into shock and die suddenly due to a result of overwhelming increase in acidity in the rumen. Those that do not die quickly are listless and often lethargic, and wander aimlessly around the pen, or just simply don't get up from lying down. They also often appear weak and anorexic and dehydrated. Related health problems may occur from an animal having acute acidosis. Rumen lining may be damaged from the sudden drop in acidity leaving the lining of the stomach to be damaged, causing rumenitis, or an infection of the rumen wall. Inflammation also occurs in the abomasum and intestinal walls, often destroy the villi that are responsible for nutrient absorption from the digesta. Poor feed efficiency, slow Continue reading >>

Use Of Sodium Bicarbonate, Offered Free Choice Or Blended Into The Ration, To Reduce The Risk Of Ruminal Acidosis In Cattle

Use Of Sodium Bicarbonate, Offered Free Choice Or Blended Into The Ration, To Reduce The Risk Of Ruminal Acidosis In Cattle

A study was conducted to determine whether feeding sodium bicarbonate (SB) reduces the risk of subacute ruminal acidosis in cattle fed high concentrate feedlot finishing diets. The experiment was conducted as a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design with two squares and 2-wk periods. Three mature, non-lactating Holstein cows were allocated to square 1 and three mature Jersey steers were allocated to square 2. The cattle were ruminally cannulated and gradually adapted to a high concentrate diet before starting the experiment. The basal diet contained approximately 80% stream-rolled barley, on a dry matter (DM) basis, and was offered for ad libitum intake. Treatments were: control (no SB), control diet with cattle given free choice access to a SB mixture consisting of 70% SB and 30% dried molasses (free choice SB), and control diet supplemented with SB (7 g SB kg-1 DM; mixed SB). Ruminal pH was measured at the end of each 14-d period for 3 continuous days using an indwelling pH system. Dry matter intake (DMI) was not affected by treatment. However, SB intake depended upon type of cattle and method of provision (P = 0.04); cows had higher SB intake when it was mixed into the diet (57.8 vs. 17.4 g d-1), whereas steers had higher SB intake when SB was provided free choice (129.1 vs. 56.1 g d-1). Ruminal pH characteristics (mean, maximum, minimum, hours, and area under a threshold pH of 5.8 or 5.5) were not affected by treatment. Although neither method of delivering SB reduced the total time each day that pH was below the pH thresholds used to indicate subacute ruminal acidosis, the number of long (> 4 h) continuous bouts of acidosis (pH ≤ 5.8) was reduced (P = 0.01) when SB was mixed into the ration compared with the control. When offered free choice, intake of SB was high Continue reading >>

Baking Soda For Ruminant Bloat, Or How My Ram Cheats Death

Baking Soda For Ruminant Bloat, Or How My Ram Cheats Death

My first experience with bloat happened the very first morning that I had sheep. Actually it was the very first morning that I had a sheep, as in the first one we ever had here at the farm. Nigel, our East Friesian dairy ram, was two months old when we brought him home. I wanted to start my own dairy sheep herd, and I was lucky enough to find this ram only a couple of hours away. He was our first sheep, and I suppose he is fortunate to have survived this long with that dubious distinction. After we brought him home, we put him in the barn, which was wide open and had no stalls. We installed some temporary chicken wire as Nigel's stall, and felt okay about it as we left for the evening. He was just a little baby sheep, surely he would be fine until morning. When I went out to check on the little guy the next morning, I found him lying down and severely bloated. He had smashed through the chicken wire (a bit of foreshadowing here regarding his behavior), and had gotten into the bag of sheep feed, that we of course had not locked up because we thought he was secure. The lesson we learned at this point; NEVER leave any food out, no matter how secure you think your animals are. Frantic that I had killed my very first farm animal, I called around trying to find a vet in my area that knew anything about sheep. Not an easy thing to find where we live. Most people where we live keep goats; VERY few keep sheep. I finally found a veterinarian (who would not come out), who told me to give him nothing but prairie hay for the next week, and hope for the best. That's it???!!!! Surely there was something else I could do! My husband ran to the farm supply store and brought back drenching equipment, tubing equipment, bloat treatments, anything and everything he could find that might help Continue reading >>

Buffers In The Dairy Ration

Buffers In The Dairy Ration

When feeding a herd of lactating cows, the fermentation in the rumen will produce organic acids: acetic, propionic, and lactic. Higher fiber diets tend to produce relatively more acetic acid and less propionic acid. High grain diets will produce more acid, and produce relatively more propionic acid than acetic acid. Cows use all the acids as energy sources, but they specifically use acetic acid to make milk fat, and propionic acid to make milk sugar-lactose. Raising the levels of grain feeding increases energy intake, and usually milk production. When carried too far, this substitution of grain for higher fiber forages reduces the fat content of milk and causes an acidosis condition in the rumen. The ration consisting of heavy grain feeding and all-corn silage forage, especially finely chopped low-fiber silage, also appears to create an acidosis condition in the cow. As expected, a reduced intake of feed occurs, cows may occasionally go off-feed, and a depressed milk fat percent results. Feeding 12 to 15 lbs. of long stem hay daily per cow will usually overcome this condition. The hay apparently stimulates more cud-chewing and swallowing of large quantities of saliva, which serve as a buffer to create a more alkaline condition in the rumen. If it is not practical to increase hay feeding, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can serve as a buffering agent to correct the acid condition in the rumen. A combination of 0.4 lb. of sodium bicarbonate and 0.2 lb. of magnesium oxide fed daily per cow appears to be better than either one fed separately. An alternative to buffers is feeding additional soluble fiber, 12-18 lbs of high relative feed value hay, or concentrates such as Turbo Plus WCS. For more information, contact Janice Spears at [email protected] Continue reading >>

Grain Overload, Acidosis, Or Grain Poisoning In Stock

Grain Overload, Acidosis, Or Grain Poisoning In Stock

What is grain overload? Grain overload (acidosis, grain poisoning) occurs when cattle, sheep or goats eat large amounts of grain. The grain releases carbohydrate into the animal's rumen and this rapidly ferments rather than being digested normally. Bacteria in the rumen produce lactic acid, resulting in acidosis, slowing of the gut, dehydration and often death. What causes grain overload? Wheat and barley are the most common causes of grain overload, but it occasionally occurs with oats and lupins. Crushing or cracking of grain by a hammermill increases the likelihood of grain overload, because these processes result in quicker release of carbohydrates. Cases are often seen when: stock are suddenly grain fed without being gradually introduced to the grain or pellets there is a sudden change in feeding regimen or in the grains being fed stock graze newly harvested paddocks (where there may be spilled grain or unharvested areas) stock get unplanned access to grain or pellets, such as around silos. Which classes of stock are affected? Cattle sheep and goats of any age can be affected if they eat more grain than they can digest normally. Signs of grain overload: depressed appearance lying down diarrhoea dehydration and thirst bloating (of the left side of the abdomen) staggery or tender gait and 'sawhorse' stance deaths. What are the treatments for grain overload? Consult a veterinarian for a treatment plan, as treatment will vary according to the severity of the disease. Treatments include intravenous fluids, drenching with bicarbonate solution or milk of magnesia, intraruminal antibiotic injections, thiamine or steroid injections, and surgery for very valuable animals. Following grain overload, the rumen lining takes up to six weeks to repair, so recovering animals will s Continue reading >>

Assess And Treat Calf Diarrhea

Assess And Treat Calf Diarrhea

Diarrhea increases the loss of electrolytes and water in the feces of calves and decreases milk intake. This results in dehydration, strong ion acidosis, electrolyte abnormalities (usually decreased sodium and increased or decreased potassium), increased D-lactate concentrations, and a negative energy balance (from anorexia and malabsorption of nutrients). Therefore diarrhea is by far the most common indication for fluid therapy in neonatal calves. Geof Smith, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, North Carolina State University, says we see some diarrhea in young calves (around 5 days of age) but it seems like the majority of cases are 7–14 days of age. "There"s a magic window for diarrhea on many dairy farms right around day 8–10," he says. "You can have diarrhea in older calves but once we make it past 2 weeks most farms seem to do okay." (see "Treatment decision tree," under Practice tips.) Best methods for assessment The most accurate methods for assessment of dehydration in calves are eyeball recession into the orbit and skin tent duration in the neck region. Smith says to gently evert the lower eyelid and estimate the recession of the globe into the orbit. Skin elasticity is best measured on the lateral side of the midcervical area by pinching a fold of skin, rotating it 90', and measuring the time for the skinfold to disappear. Smith adds all other methods of assessment are inferior to these two methods. Those methods include things like mucous membrane color or dryness (how they feel), capillary refill time and packed cell volume (PCV). "These are things commonly used in horses and small animals but don"t seem to work well in calves," he explains. The best laboratory test is change in plasma protein concentration, which he says is better than hematocrit. Based on phys Continue reading >>

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