Acidosis results from the sudden unaccustomed ingestion of large quantities of carbohydrate-rich feeds, typically grain or concentrates and, much less commonly, potatoes and by-products such as bread and bakery waste.
The severity of clinical signs depends upon the amount of grain ingested, whether the grain was rolled or whole and the rate of introduction of the dietary change. Colic signs may be observed soon after grain engorgement and cattle appear restless. Cattle are weak and may fall and experience difficulty rising. Tooth grinding is frequently heard. Cattle have a distended abdomen due to the enlarged static rumen; fluid also becomes sequestered within the intestines. There may be no diarrhoea for the first 12 to 24 hours after carbohydrate ingestion, thereafter there is profuse diarrhoea with a sweet-sour odour and may contain whole grains. The most severely affected cattle become recumbent and may die within 24-48 hours. Cattle that recover have a protracted convalescence.
Your veterinary surgeon may also consider:
Diagnosis is based upon the history and clinical findings, particularly once diarrhoea is evident.
In most situations therapy is restricted to oral fluids, intravenous multivitamin preparations and antibiotic therapy. Proprietary antacid products (such as Agger's antacid) contain 220 g sodium bicarbonate, 110g magnesium oxide and 40 g yeast cell extract diluted in 20 litres for a cow.
Intravenous multivitamin preparations
Penicillin injections are given daily for up to 10 days in severely affected cattle to counter potential bacterial spread via the bloodstream
Grain/concentrate feeding must be gradually increased over a minimum of six weeks before ad-libitum feeding. Allow more than 10 per cent good quality roughage in the diet.
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