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HomeBeef4 cull cows die from acute rumen acidosis due to grain overload
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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4 cull cows die from acute rumen acidosis due to grain overload

Limerick RVL (Regional Veterinary Lab) confirmed a case of ruminal acidosis in four cull cows, two of which had been found dead in a pen of ten, according to a report.

The cattle were introduced to heavy feeding of crimped wheat, concentrates and silage in the previous week before their death.

Necropsy of both disclosed rumenitis with a “large” quantity of grain present and transmural haemorrhages.

The abomasum of both animals contained undigested grain, and the intestines of both were segmentally hyperaemic with bloody contents, the report, which is published in the Veterinary Ireland Journal, notes.

Vets obtained samples for clinical pathology, including:

  • Ruminal fluid for pH;
  • Renal cortex sampled for lead analysis;
  • aqueous humour for Calcium, Magnesium, Nitrates and Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB);
  • Intestinal contents for toxins of Clostridium perfringens (one of the most common causes of food poisoning).

pH testing of ruminal contents by the lab returned results of 4.3, 4.1, 4.0 and 5.7 in the four dry cows.

Normal ruminal pH is 5.5-7.0, the report notes, but, after death, the pH of the rumen contents begins to increase, which it factored into its findings.

In conclusion, the lab diagnosed acute rumen acidosis due to grain overload.

RVL network and report

The six-strong RVL network consists of Athlone, Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Kilkenny, and Silgo.

The objective of the report, which is published in the Veterinary Ireland Journal, is to provide feedback to veterinary practitioners on the pattern of disease syndromes by describing common and highlighting unusual, cases.

The reports describe a selection of cases investigated by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine’s (DAFM) veterinary laboratories.

The reports aim to assist with future diagnoses, encourage thorough investigations of clinical cases, highlight the available laboratory diagnostic tools, and provide a better context for practitioners when interpreting laboratory reports.

Note – This article is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice – always seek the expertise of your vet.

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