Baking Soda For Acidosis In Cattle

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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 ly Continue reading >>

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  1. StockDogLovr

    HELP - Emergency! Grain overload!

    I bought a 70 lb. bag of barley to supplement my new moms and moms to be. I had fed out maybe 10 lb. of that bag so far. This morning, my friend's kid let the sheep out of lock up for me. There is a side gate that goes to the feed storage barn, and he went into the barn to get hay out for them. He did not close the gate latch properly. This evening, when I arrived to lock everyone in, I found the gate wide open, and my entire herd except for one mom and her lamb were in the feed room. They had made a mess of the hay, and had binged on the barley such that there was maybe 15-20 lb left, so around 40 lb. This was shared among 12 adults (Barbs, a Kat ram, and some Kat/Barb crosses. So, each potentially ate 3.75 lb. Of course, I can't know who might have eaten more of it or less. It was raining when I arrived, and the one ewe with her lamb that was in the pasture had probably had her fill, and I worry that she was feeling punky which is why she was away from the rest.
    All I could think to do for the moment was drench everyone with bloat drench (for foamy bloat). I had this happen once before where the sheep ended up scouring but were otherwise fine, but I did lose one old ewe two days later and I now think this may have been from the bacteria toxin from over-eating. These sheep have had their CD/T; the new moms were revaccinated just a couple of weeks before they delivered.
    What more can I do? I have vitamin B injectable which I've heard can help mitigate the consumption of the body's B vitamins when the bacteria over-grows. I've also heard of giving penicillin injectible by mouth to kill the bacteria that produces the toxin that is so deadly. Should I go ahead and give these things tomorrow morning whether or not there are signs of illness. Everything I read says when they are really sick from this it is too late. But what can I do to mitigate their overeating before they get sick? I've also been told that milk of magnesia would be useful.

  2. Bearfootfarm

    I'd just keep a close eye on them and only treat any that show signs of bloating.
    Throwing a lot of medications at them can cause problems too.
    If you HAVE to treat any, I'd give them vegetable oil and baking soda for bloat and acidosis.
    NO food other than hay until you see how their stools look

  3. StockDogLovr

    Thanks, Bearfootfarm - I just panicked because I knew they'd be going overnight without observation since I don't live where they are.
    I did have a similar thing happen once before, where the flock got into grain and alfalfa pellets, and everyone scoured but they were okay otherwise....except for one old ewe who died two days later. I didn't recognize that she was having any problems, and maybe she died coincidentally, but I worry that she died from the clostridium bacteria toxins...
    I will check everyone tomorrow AM. My friend's goats help themselves to baking soda free-fed, but will sheep do the same if offered baking soda? I've never provided it before.

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