Overview Of Ketosis In Cattle
(Acetonemia, Ketonemia) By Thomas H. Herdt, DVM, MS, DACVN, DACVIM, Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, Michigan State University Ketosis is a common disease of adult cattle. It typically occurs in dairy cows in early lactation and is most consistently characterized by partial anorexia and depression. Rarely, it occurs in cattle in late gestation, at which time it resembles pregnancy toxemia of ewes (see Pregnancy Toxemia in Ewes and Does). In addition to inappetence, signs of nervous dysfunction, including pica, abnormal licking, incoordination and abnormal gait, bellowing, and aggression, are occasionally seen. The condition is worldwide in distribution but is most common where dairy cows are bred and managed for high production. Etiology and Pathogenesis: The pathogenesis of bovine ketosis is incompletely understood, but it requires the combination of intense adipose mobilization and a high glucose demand. Both of these conditions are present in early lactation, at which time negative energy balance leads to adipose mobilization, and milk synthesis creates a high glucose demand. Adipose mobilization is accompanied by high blood serum concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs). During periods of intense gluconeogenesis, a large portion of serum NEFAs is directed to ketone body synthesis in the liver. Thus, the clinicopathologic characterization of ketosis includes high serum concentrations of NEFAs and ketone bodies and low concentrations of glucose. In contrast to many other species, cattle with hyperketonemia do not have concurrent acidemia. The serum ketone bodies are acetone, acetoacetate, and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). There is speculation that the pathogenesis of ketosis cases oc Continue reading >>
Ketosis (Acetonemia, Ketonemia) is a common multifactorial disease resulting in downer cow syndrome in adult cattle worldwide. Causes which predisposed to ketosis include: Ketosis is a common disease of dairy cows in early lactation caused by a negative energy balance that results in high concentrations of circulating nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs) (acetone, acetoacetate, and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB)). This disease is usually associated with fatty liver. Clinical signs Clinically affected cattle shows signs of anorexia, reduced milk yield and may present as downer cows. Neurological signs of restlessness and ataxia may sometimes be noted. A sweet breath may be observed by an observant farmer or veterinarian. Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs supported by laboratory tests such as urinalysis and milk detection of ketones. During the first month of lactation, ratios of glycerophosphocholine:phosphocholine less than 2.5 in the milk indicate a high risk for developing ketosis. Blood tests showing elevated NEFAs can assist diagnosis in more valuable cattle. Bolus IV administration of 500 mL of 50% dextrose solution is a common therapy. Glucocorticoids including dexamethasone or isoflupredone acetate at 5–20 mg/dose, IM, generally results in a more sustained response. Oral propylene glycol (250–400 g) may be effective as ketosis therapy. Continue reading >>
Minimizing The Risk For Ketosis In Dairy Herds
En Español: Minimizando el Riesgo de Cetosis en el Ganado Lechero This article is part of our series of original articles on emerging featured topics. Please check here to see other articles in this series. Introduction Although most cases of ketosis occur in fresh dairy cows, feeding practices and cow health prepartum can predispose cows to experiencing ketosis after calving. Most cases of primary ketosis occur within the first 2 weeks of calving, and even most secondary ketosis (occurring after the onset of another disease) occurs within the first 30 to 60 days in milk. In general, less than 5% of the cows in a herd should experience clinical ketosis. However, some reports have indicated that the incidence of subclinical ketosis may affect 40% of cows, with the incidence rate varying widely among farms, and may be as high as 80% on individual farms. The major focus prepartum to reduce the risk for ketosis after calving is maintaining feed intake in late gestation and avoiding overconditioning cows during late lactation and the dry period. Cows should dry off and freshen at a body condition score (BCS) of 3.5. Cows with a BCS equal to or greater than 4.0 will likely have lower intake prepartum and be at higher risk for fatty liver and ketosis at and after calving. Recent work at the University of Minnesota indicates that cows with a BCS greater than 3.5 and producing over 16 lb of colostrum are at a higher risk for ketosis. Feeding programs for far-off and close-up cows should be designed to maintain intake during late gestation, i.e., minimizing the drop in intake during the last week of gestation, to reduce the risk for ketosis after calving. These prepartum diets should contain high-fiber forages and provide adequate but not excessive amounts of energy. A 20% or gr Continue reading >>
New Tools Help Us Spot Ketotic Cows
The author is a dairy practitioner and owner/partner in Countryside Veterinary Clinic, Lowville, N.Y. When a cow's intake of energy does not meet her energy needs for maintenance and milk production, she begins to burn fat as an energy source. One common form of ketosis (Type I) occurs when a cow is in negative energy balance. She is not consuming enough energy to meet her metabolic needs. This generally occurs in early lactation when the cow's feed intake is unable to keep up with climbing milk production. When a cow's intake of energy does not meet her energy needs, she begins to burn fat as an energy source. The liver is the necessary organ to convert fat into usable energy (sugar). Think of the liver as a factory with an output limit. It can only convert so much fat into sugar. Once this pathway is overwhelmed, the liver produces ketones. Ketones can be used as an energy source, but they are much less efficient, and they cause the cow to feel sick. This becomes a downward spiral . . . the cow does not feel well, eats less, burns more fat, and makes more ketones. She now has clinical ketosis. Two other forms of ketosis can occur as a result of either "fat cow syndrome" or the consumption of forages high in butyric acid. "Fat cow" (or Type II) ketosis occurs when dry matter intake declines before freshening. This most commonly occurs in overconditioned cows but can also occur when dry matter intake is restricted to cows prior to freshening. This often is the result of overcrowding or improperly balanced prefresh rations. Cows with Type II ketosis are very difficult to manage and don't respond well to treatment. Butyric acid-induced ketosis is caused by the direct consumption of ketones in the diet. This causes poor dry matter intake and the obvious downward spiral as Continue reading >>
Ketosis And Fatty Liver
Mary Beth de Ondarza, Ph.D., Technical Services Nutritionist F.A.R.M.E. Institute, Homer, NY What Is Ketosis? Ketosis is caused by the incomplete metabolism of body fat which has been mobilized to supply energy demands. The characteristics of ketosis include: reduced milk yield, loss of body weight, loss of appetite, and occasionally, signs of nervousness. Sometimes these signs are clearly recognized (clinical) but, often, they are not easily seen (subclinical). By nature of their high energy demands, most of today's high-producing dairy cows experience some sub-clinical ketosis during the first 5 to 7 weeks of their lactation. In general, fatter cows (BCS > 3.75) will experience more ketosis. A Little Biochemistry...... In the rumen, grains are generally broken down by the microbes to form propionate. Fiber is mostly converted to acetate or butyrate. All three of these volatile fatty acids are absorbed through the rumen wall and transported to the liver. Propionate is used by the liver to make glucose. Glucose is used by the cow to make lactose, the sugar in milk. For this reason, total milk production is very closely related to the total glucose supply at the udder. Propionate's second function involves the cow's fat metabolism. When the cow's energy demands for milk production exceed the amount of energy she is eating, she begins to break down some of her body fat stores. Fats are first broken down into smaller pieces, called non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA's), and carried to the liver. At the liver, they are broken down to form acetate and through this process, energy is generated. Acetate must then be broken down to carbon dioxide and water to yield more energy, however, this process requires some propionate. If there is not enough propionate available (which is o Continue reading >>
Farming: Why Are Most Cows Fed Corn Instead Of Grass?
Most cows are not fed corn. As a matter of fact most cattle aren't even on a high-grain diet for most, if not all, of their lives. Most cattle are actually grass-fed. Just not grass-finished. There's around 89 million beef cattle in the US, 9.3 million dairy cattle and 12.1 million cattle currently in the feedlot being finished (that according to USDA statistics from July 1, 2015). The 89 million beef cattle are breeding cattle: Beef cows, replacement heifers, and bulls. The 9.3 million dairy cattle are primarily dairy cows used in milk production. And the 12.1 million cattle and calves in the feedlot are both beef and dairy of various ages. Now, look at the 89 million number again. That's 95% of the total cattle herd inventory of the United States (which is currently sitting at 93.4 million cattle). That equates to "most cows/cattle." And what most people don't know (nor have most acknowledged here, except for one) is that those 89 million cattle are grass or forage-fed. That means that those cattle are on pasture or range from spring until fall and fed hay in the winter. They are being fed and eating grass and forbs on either an extensive or intensive (all depending on grazing management, most operations choose an extensive to a happy medium between extensive and intensive) grazing system. Corn or other grains are optional, and only fed when and if the animals need it if feed supplies are low and straw is only to be fed (cattle can do quite well on straw if supplemented with grain for added carbohydrate and protein) but never as a main constituent of their diet. Certainly not like finisher or dairy cattle. The other interesting thing most people miss is that cattle in the feedlot have not been raised in the feedlot. Most cattle, which are largely beef with only maybe Continue reading >>
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Not to be confused with Ketoacidosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which some of the body's energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis in which blood glucose provides energy. Ketosis is a result of metabolizing fat to provide energy. Ketosis is a nutritional process characterised by serum concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 mM, with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose. It is almost always generalized with hyperketonemia, that is, an elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood throughout the body. Ketone bodies are formed by ketogenesis when liver glycogen stores are depleted (or from metabolising medium-chain triglycerides). The main ketone bodies used for energy are acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate, and the levels of ketone bodies are regulated mainly by insulin and glucagon. Most cells in the body can use both glucose and ketone bodies for fuel, and during ketosis, free fatty acids and glucose synthesis (gluconeogenesis) fuel the remainder. Longer-term ketosis may result from fasting or staying on a low-carbohydrate diet (ketogenic diet), and deliberately induced ketosis serves as a medical intervention for various conditions, such as intractable epilepsy, and the various types of diabetes. In glycolysis, higher levels of insulin promote storage of body fat and block release of fat from adipose tissues, while in ketosis, fat reserves are readily released and consumed. For this reason, ketosis is sometimes referred to as the body's "fat burning" mode. Ketosis and ketoacidosis are similar, but ketoacidosis is an acute life-threatening state requiring prompt medical intervention while ketosis can be physiological. However, there are situations (such as treatment-resistant Continue reading >>
Why Are Cows Considered Holy Animals In Hinduism(sanatana Dharma)?
It is not just India that has a taboo on beef. Cows are greatly respected in Nepal and Burma too. People in the Vedic period were primarily pastoral. They relied on the cows for milk and dung. Cow dung is one of the main fuels in rural India and also served as a fertilizer. Cow dung and cow urine is also thought to be an disinfectant among ancient Indians and used to clean up home. Thus, cow provided the food, fuel, disinfectant and fertilizer for the Vedic people. Hindu scriptures have always considered milk as among the highest forms of food - Satvic. Cow's milk is believed to have a great calming effect and improves meditation. A product of cow's milk - ghee (clarified butter) - is used for Yajna (fire worship). Fire worship is the highest form prayer for Hindus. This adds religious significance to cow's products. Despite its big size, a cow is a calm animal and non-threatening - you could see cows quietly roaming Indian roads. Hindus have always appreciated the tolerance, patience and calmness of the cow. Thus, cows stood for the goodness of Hindu religion and considered a representative of Dharma. Also, a cow's affection to its calf is a beautiful thing and Vedas greatly appreciated this bonding. Sustainability: Ancient Indians probably ate meat when they wandered in the grasslands. However, as soon as they settled and the population near Ganges exploded, they saw the issues cropping. The key was water pollution from the slaughterhouses. Both the leather industry and slaughter industry hugely polluting industries and thus taboos quickly came. In some ways, cows for Indians are like the pets in the Western Culture. You don't see dog meat, cat meat or even horse meat in the US as these are the animals people have in their homes and form a special bonding with. For so Continue reading >>
If Cows And Sheep Only Eat Grass, Why Do They Get Fat?
A couple similar questions have been asked on this already, and my responses to both can be seen here: Why do cows grow so big eating only grass? and How do cows get enough nutrition by just eating grass? Both animals are ruminants, which means they have multiple forestomachs designed for digesting plant matter, and to house quite the ecology of anaerobic bacteria, fungi and protozoa all which actively break down the bonds of cellulose with an enzyme only they (primarily bacteria) can produce to release the carbohydrate within. When the carbohydrate is utilized, it goes to the millions of rumen microflora first, then to the cow. The cow uses it first for maintenance, then for growth (if a young growing animal, not a mature one, unless said cow is growing a fetus in her), reproduction and lactation. If there's still enough energy (carb) left over, that gets converted and stored as fat. So it's all thanks to those millions of microbes that live and die in the sheep and cow's rumen. There are many animal species which eat only grass, grains and vegetable matter yet gain body fat. The reasons are that the animals have the ability to digest grasses and convert to energy, protein, bone and fat. In order to create fat they just need to eat in excess of daily calorie needs. Continue reading >>
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Preventive Strategies For Ketosis
Parturition and the onset of lactation challenges calcium and energy homeostasis in dairy cows predisposing them to periparturient disorders that affect health, production and reproductive performance says Carlos Risco, DVM, Dipl. ACT, University of Florida. Dairy cattle experience a negative carbohydrate balance, from -3 weeks and + 3 weeks from calving and are at risk to develop ketosis, Risco explained at the 2010 Western Veterinary Conference. Milk production, in particular, drives the high requirements for glucose because other fuels cannot substitute for lactose in milk. To counteract this, the cow mobilizes body fat and protein stores in the form of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and amino acids. This promotes gluconeogenesis and occurs under the influence of low serum concentrations of insulin. Volatile fatty acids (acetate, propionate, butyrate [BHBA]) produced in the rumen are also presented to the liver as fuels. Acetate and butyrate are ketogenic, and propionate is glycogenic. The key to prevention of ketosis is to maximize dry matter intake before and after calving to prevent excessive NEFA mobilization. Preventing ketosis in the first place is key to avoid some post-partum issues. Risco outlined some preventive strategies: The transition ration. To prevent ketosis the transition ration should maximize DMI, provide adequate energy density, and minimize ketogenic precursors. Silage with a high butyric acid content should not be fed. Introduce ration changes gradually. Manage transition cows to maximize DMI, e.g., provide adequate bunk space. Avoid over-conditioning of cows in late lactation and the early dry period. Niacin (nicotinic acid) fed in transition rations at 6–12 g /d may help reduce blood ketone levels. Propylene glycol may be administered pr Continue reading >>
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OIEGON sure tt.,. HIM .'"., OW. Coml. aad the U S. Cyan.. 1.4516),Nn Ketosis in Dairy Cows Prepared by D. E. ANDERSON and H. P. EWALT Extension Dairy Specialists, Oregon State University, Corvallis Ketosis, or acetonemia, might well be called a prob- lem of high production since prevention and control is more difficult with high milk production. Few animals are challenged to meet the metabolic demands that a high- producing dairy cow must adapt to during the early part of lactation. Common observations and experimental evidence show that cows may be in a negative balance for both protein and energy shortly after calving and for about the first 60 days of lactation. The following data on ketosis are taken from a summary of recent research published in the July 1968 issue of the Journal of Dairy Science. What Is Ketosis? Ketosis is a metabolic disorder in which something goes wrong with the normal body processes and the cow becomes sick. There are no inflammatory organisms involved and the condition is not contagious. There seems to be a situation where the cow is temporarily pro- ducing more milk and thus requiring more feed nutrients than her feed intake provides. Nature may attempt to correct this situation by using body reserves of fat. When this occurs, some intermediary products of fat metabolism, called "ketone bodies," may build up in the system. These can be detected in the milk and urine and are indications of how serious the condition may be. Ketosis may even develop in average-producing animals when the energy needs exceed the energy intake. Ketosis usually occurs more often in winter feed- ing, and three weeks after calving seems to be a very critical period for high-producing cows. Symptoms The first symptom of ketosis is a loss of appetite first for grain a Continue reading >>
Why Do Cows Moo?
Cows vocalize for a number of reasons and usually if they are mooing it's because they are unhappy. A group of happy cows is usually silent other than the munching sound they make while chewing cud or eating. In my years spent around cows (28) I have noticed they have a couple of groups of different vocalizations with many variations within the groups. 1. First is the most distinct, and some say annoying, call of a bull (male) or cow (female) looking to hook up for some mating action. It starts as a low moo followed by a bunch of ooo's separated by pauses. Something like moooooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo with the ooo's being a much higher pitch. 2. Another call is that of a cow looking for herdmates. It could be classified as a separation/searching call. It starts out high pitch and goes as high as a cow's voice will allow, usually cracking at end. 3. A cow that is uncomfortable will make low, almost vibrating moo's which they make without opening their mouths. Usually hear this if they are squashed between other cows or really pregnant and uncomfortable. 4. Calves that are playing (running around kicking up heels) will make a short vocalization that sounds like maaw. It usually starts out low and ends at the middle of their vocal range. This is one of those exceptions where cattle make a happy noise. 5. Calves that are separated from their mother will make a meeeh or bleeeh sound. It is similar to a sheep sound but continuous rather than vibrating and drawn out rather long. There are more but it will take a little thinking as I've picked out the easy ones. Any farmers out there that care to chime in with others they've noticed please do. Continue reading >>
Negative Energy Balance
Starting at two weeks before calving, dairy cattle can already get in negative energy balance due to the growth of the calf, start of the colostrum production and a strong decrease in dry matter intake. Especially fat cows with a Body Condition Score of 4 or greater are at risk. Dairy cows in negative energy balance will start to mobilise body fat. Massive mobilisation of body fat reserves can result in metabolic problems, related to the fact that the liver can’t cope with the high amounts of fatty acids mobilised from the fat tissue. The consequences of a negative energy balance Dairy cows in negative energy balance have an increased risk to develop clinical or sub-clinical ketosis. Ketosis in dairy cows will have a negative impact on dry matter intake, health, fertility and production of the lactating cow. Recent evidence suggests that sub-clinical ketosis in cattle is much more common than clinical ketosis. Signs of ketosis in dairy cows Signs suggestive of sub-clinical ketosis in dairy cows are: A drop in body condition score of more than 1,0 point A disappointing milk production in combination with a fat:protein ratio above 1.5 A reduction of dry matter intake Reduced fertility Managing the negative energy balance correctly can therefore have a strong positive effect on farm profitability. Most of the problems occurring in the first few weeks after calving are related to dry cow management. Aim at a dry cow period of 8 weeks. During the first 6 weeks (far-off period) feed intake should be reduced to ensure the body condition score does not increase above 3.5. During the last two weeks (close-up period), the diet should be similar to what is fed after calving. Ensure energy density of the diet is high, this compensates partly for the lower dry matter intake immedi Continue reading >>
General information Ketosis in cattle is associated with an inadequate supply of the nutrients necessary for the normal carbohydrate and fat metabolism that is seen mainly in times of high milk production in early lactation. The excessive ketone bodies in the bloodstream come from the breakdown of fat when the animal is forced to draw on its bodily reserves for energy. Although the metabolism of body fat provides energy for cows, the nervous system is dependent on glucose, and the ketones produced as a result of excessive fat metabolism can have toxic effects. The excess ketone bodies are eliminated in the urine, milk and breath of the animal. Overview Cause Ketosis may develop from poor diet or periods of stress such as cold, wet weather. It may also affect apparently well-fed cows producing very large volumes of milk. In pasture-fed cows the condition is usually seen when the grass is drying off and green feed is scarce. The disease is relatively common in lactating cows in Australia but often goes unnoticed in its mild forms. The mortality rate in affected cattle is low and spontaneous recoveries occur in many cases. The disease is usually seen in early lactation (within the first 2 months after calving) and may cause significant production losses. Five types of the disease are recognised: Primary underfeeding or starvation ketosis - feed quality inadequate. Secondary underfeeding ketosis - inadequate feed intake due to another disease or condition. Ketogenic or alimentary ketosis - from feeds high in ketogenic material. Ketosis due to a specific nutritional deficiency - cobalt and possibly phosphorus deficiency have been suspected as causes. Spontaneous ketosis - where causes are not able to be established. Predisposing factors Age - cows of any age may be affected Continue reading >>
Transition Cow Metabolic Problems
Proper dry cow nutrition focuses in large part on reducing the incidence of metabolic problems around calving time. Metabolic problems are caused primarily by nutrition. They usually require treatment by a veterinarian or producer. One metabolic problem often leads to others and the final result is lost milk, poor reproduction, and maybe even a lost cow. Milk Fever Milk fever, also known as parturient paresis, is low blood calcium. On average, 5-6% of cows will experience clinical milk fever. When the level of calcium in the blood gets too low (<5 mg/dl), nerve and muscle function is lost; the cow goes down and if untreated, can die. Milk fever is fairly easy to treat using intravenous calcium injection. Mild cases in which the cow is not down may be treated with oral calcium chloride or calcium propionate. The real problem is that milk fever predisposes cows to other health problems including ketosis, retained placenta, displaced abomasum, and mastitis. Cows experiencing milk fever release more cortisol. This inhibits the immune system promoting retained placenta, metritis and mastitis. Also, the effects of low calcium on muscle function include the muscle at the end of the teat, opening up the teat to more infection. Weak muscle contractions in the stomach can result in displaced abomasums. Finally, milk fever will reduce intake, promoting ketosis. It has been estimated that 50% of cows have sub-clinical milk fever on calving day ( 5-7 mg/dl). These cows have no noticeable milk fever symptoms but they eat less and are more susceptible to other health problems. Many times I have been called to a farm to figure out why so many cows are having retained placentas and ketosis and found that these problems were caused by low blood calcium at calving time. Cows need a lot of Continue reading >>