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Cow rumen acidosis


In a cow, the disease often proceeds without visible external manifestations. She may not have injuries, bruises, lameness, rash, or damage. But gradually she ceases to take food, the volume of milk production decreases and the animal loses weight. Most likely, the digestive system also failed in the cow, and rumen acidosis. How is this disorder manifested in cattle and is this ailment treated?

Cow's digestive system

Origin of the disease

The first and largest of the cow’s stomach sections is the scar. It is capable of holding up to two hundred liters of feed. The microorganisms existing in it break down fiber and other substances with the help of enzymes. Its location and structure boils down to the following:

  1. located on the left side of the abdominal cavity,
  2. divided into two bags,
  3. it contains papillae ten centimeters long,
  4. the presence of longitudinal and circular muscle layers.

More than half of the food received, up to seventy percent, is digested in the rumen. Sometimes it causes metabolic disturbances due to poor nutrition of cattle, the transition from roughage to concentrates, the lack of necessary vitamins and other reasons.

Lowering the pH level causes excessive lactic acidity. Cow rumen acidosis leads to a weakening of immunity due to increased acidity. Cattle cannot absorb lactic acid.

  1. The disease is often found on farms where there is an excess of concentrated feed and carbohydrates in the feed. Once a cow feeds too many apples, grains, beets, silage at a time, acute milk acidosis will occur. The same reaction can be observed with an excess of starch - absorption of large volumes of potato and molasses. If there is little fiber in the body, this will adversely affect the work of the stomach due to the activity of pathogenic microbes.
  2. Lack of coarse fibers. For example, the weight of a burenka is approximately four hundred kilograms. She was given about fifty kilograms of sugar beets at a time. And then two kilograms of carbohydrates were added to the diet every day. She will quickly begin to lose weight.
  3. If you mix all kinds of waste (pulp, vegetables, bard and others) and serve the cow in a reconciled form, then in a compartment with a silo, this leads to a violation of acidity.

In the first case, the owners of the animal did not take into account the moment of rearrangement of the microflora of the rumen under the changed diet. This transition should always be gradual, starting with small volumes. It is very important to follow this rule for cows that know certain nutritional standards.

If cattle have free access to food, then this will be tantamount to death for him.

In dairy cows, almost two hundred liters of saliva are formed per day. In individuals of cattle, chewing gum lasts a total of up to nine hours during the same time. The components of saliva weaken the acid reaction by controlling its amount in the rumen. The abundance of saliva causes roughage. A finely chopped, raw food leads to a failure of the natural separation of saliva and disruptions of the chewing process. With a lack of these components, the food in the rumen becomes sour. As a result, the main sign will be diarrhea, indigestion.

Acute course

The disease will appear within a few hours after eating the wrong food. The animal's mood changes dramatically:

  • lethargy, weakness, lack of appetite are observed,
  • palpitations may be rapid, inconsistent,
  • breathing becomes heavy and unstable,
  • noticeable desire to drink a lot,
  • milk yield is significantly reduced
  • the cow prefers to lie, but gets up with difficulty,
  • the stomach becomes large, the tongue becomes plaque,
  • the temperature does not rise, but there is a fever.

Symptoms of acute acidosis in cows are often accompanied by impaired functioning of other organs. Treatment should follow immediately. There is laminitis (hoof disease) and severe lameness. Increased flatulence in the stomach can sometimes crush the lungs and cause asphyxiation.

Inflammatory processes in the liver are expressed in an increase in the abdomen and general weight loss. The meat of such an animal after slaughter is not suitable for consumption.

If a cow is tested, blood and urine will show pronounced changes. Firstly, the color of the scar will be different, an unpleasant smell will come from it. The pH level in it will be four, instead of the norm of six and a half. And in the blood, the content of lactic acid is overestimated five times. Protein is often found in urine.

Chronic course

A cow refuses to eat sugary crops or cereals. She also eats very little feed or completely ignores the food. The scar ceases to contract normally, diarrhea occurs. In general, the reactions in the animal are indifferent. These symptoms indicate the presence of chronic acidosis in cows.

During this period, the fat content of cow's milk and its volumes are significantly reduced. This form of acidosis is followed by the same organ complications as acute.

In pregnant females, acidosis leads to loss of calves or premature birth. Often in sick animals, newborn babies die immediately after calving.

In some cases, the chronic course is not expressed by obvious signs. Only a slight lethargy and a decrease in milk yield are noticeable. It is not easy for the cattle owner to determine the presence of such a serious disease by such indicators.

Therefore, it either passes by itself, or flows into a more severe form. In especially severe cases, the animal cannot be saved.

Diagnosis of the disease

You can establish a rough diagnosis before the appearance of a veterinarian by cud of a cow. She needs about seventy jaw movements per feed. A smaller amount indicates the development of a pathological process.

A general inspection of the livestock should say that among the resting cows, more than half chew. In this case, there is no acidosis.

The specialist describes the signs that the farmer was able to observe. After this, a thorough examination is carried out and the contents of the scar are examined. Most often, with an acute form, the diagnosis is accurate. Especially after a laboratory study of lactic acid in the rumen.

Acidosis is often confused with ketosis. Then a blood and urine test will help. In the first case, there will be no ketones in the urine. And with ketosis, ketone bodies will be found in the blood.

Cattle Acidosis Treatment

Attentiveness to animals will play a good service for the prudent owner of the farm. If he notices the symptoms of acidosis in the cow at the very beginning, the first twelve hours, then the hope of a speedy recovery increases. A veterinarian must participate in assisting a burenka in acute acidosis:

  1. First you need to rinse the scar with a food probe. After this, the introduction of alkaline solutions begins. This is approximately 750 grams of soda, mixed in five liters of water. You can add five hundred grams of yeast and cicatricial juice from healthy relatives. The volume of the latter does not exceed four liters,
  2. when the remnants of grain and other food do not come out, you will have to make an incision on the abdominal wall. The operation is performed by a specialist. Do not hesitate, because a fatal outcome is very likely. When the scar is released through the incision, they also start washing with soda,
  3. after the manipulations, the water balance in the animal's body should be maintained. To do this, the cow is poured water with salt. It is also recommended to inject a solution of sodium bicarbonate into a vein. This can be repeated eight times in twenty-four hours,
  4. if there is a strong muscle twitching, fever, enter B vitamins and the drug prednisone,
  5. at the first sign of improvement, you need to give the cow as much warm alkaline solutions as possible. It is given up to five times a day at the rate of one hundred grams of soda per liter of water.

During the course of the chronic form, the death of a cow is unlikely. Accordingly, treatment methods are chosen not so operational:

  • animal feed is being studied. It is supplemented with fiber. It is necessary to remove rotten silage and other spoiled feeds, if any,
  • drugs are selected to combat chronic acidosis,
  • enzyme preparations are chosen to better assimilate food and restore normal acid levels. This must be done for at least two months,
  • bred mineral-yeast drink. This supplement is mixed with feed in the amount of one hundred grams for one individual per day.

There are alternative methods of treatment, if it is not possible to call a specialist, and the condition of the animal is close to critical. Here is one of them:

  1. in three liters of warm water, half a pack of soda is bred,
  2. the solution is given to a cow to drink, if necessary, while holding it by force,
  3. then you need to pour another liter of sunflower oil,
  4. You can massage the scar to start the process of its reduction. To do this, press on the soft area of ​​the abdomen with hands and knees,
  5. if vomiting begins, then the actions are performed correctly, the stomach will begin to work.

In order not to conduct such experiments, it is better not to bring the animal to acidosis. To do this, do not abuse carbohydrates and starch. In general, you need to take care of a high-quality and varied diet of the cow. Long-fiber feed contributes to saliva production. And this is a good prevention of acidosis.

Causes of Acidosis

The use of large amounts of crushed feed disrupts the digestive system. Acidosis develops if there is not enough coarse fiber in food. The use of wet silage leads to negative consequences. The presence of such food can cause digestive upsets.

Pathology occurs due to a sharp change in diet. Do not overfeed cows with boiled vegetables. Cereals, beets and potatoes should not dominate cattle.

Cow rumen acidosis is accompanied by the formation of lactic acid. Pathology leads to disruption of the digestion of food. The disease causes a sharp decrease in immunity. Excess lactic acid destroys liver cells.

Pathological processes have a negative effect on the intestinal microflora. On the mucous membrane of the digestive organs, microorganisms that process starch begin to multiply actively.

Gradually they displace bacteria that feed on cellulose and lactic acid. This complicates the process of digestion of roughage. In a sick animal, the pH level changes. The number of pathogenic microorganisms in the rumen increases. The disease is dangerous for pregnant animals.

Important! The decrease in the protective functions of the placenta increases the risk of infection of the fetus with various infections. Sick born calves often die in the early days.

Symptoms of the disease

Acidosis in cattle can be recognized by the following signs:

  1. Animals lose their appetite.
  2. Pay attention to the behavior of cows. Sick individuals almost all the time lie motionless.
  3. The disease has a negative effect on respiratory function.
  4. When palpating the abdomen, you may notice a tightness.
  5. A sign of pathology is a change in the frequency of the stool. Sick animals suffer from intense diarrhea. The condition is complicated by convulsions.

If untreated, the cow may die within 24 hours.

Sick animal loses weight

The subacute form of acidosis is accompanied by a change in the intestinal microflora. A sick animal loses weight, its muscles begin to weaken. A decrease in immunity leads to the development of mastitis. The subacute form can cause various complications. In sick cows, the mucous membranes of the rumen become inflamed. Excess lactic acid affects liver function. In most cases, highly productive breeds of animals suffer from the disease. Acidosis is indicated by a drop in milk yield and a change in cow behavior. They lose their previous activity and prefer to lie indoors.

In a chronic form of acidosis, the animal refuses to feed. Patients develop anemia, mucous membranes noticeably turn pale. The cow quickly loses strength, his milk yield falls. Sick individuals are not suitable for the reproduction of offspring.

Treatment methods

To cope with an acute form of acidosis, it is necessary to rinse the scar of a sick animal. The procedure for cleansing the digestive system is carried out using a probe. The veterinarian releases the scar from the remnants of the incompletely digested food.

However, treatment will not bring positive results if you do not adjust the diet of the cow. After cleansing, an alkaline solution is introduced into the scar. In the process of its preparation, 150 g of baking soda should be added to a liter of water.

As an additional component, flax decoction is used, which protects the mucous membrane from irritating substances. To eliminate unpleasant symptoms, a sodium bicarbonate solution of 7% is used as an injection.

If the cramps started in the cow, then Prednisone should be used. A sick animal needs B vitamins.

Important! You can get rid of acidosis with the help of Maserobacillin. The drug should be given 10 g per day. The duration of treatment is 3 days.


Acidosis is the result of malnutrition in cows. The breeder should monitor the ratio of proteins and carbohydrates in the diet of animals. Cows should not be given too much concentrate. Their volume should not exceed 40% of the daily diet.

It is recommended to feed cows with foods that are rich in plant fiber. To avoid disruption of the digestive system, do not add more than 25 kg of beets per day to the feed.

Scar acidosis is accompanied by a sharp drop in milk yield. Most often, highly productive breeds of cows suffer from pathology. The disease develops due to improper selection of feed. Coarse fiber deficiency leads to excessive production of lactic acid. It disrupts the work of not only the digestive organs. Pathology has a negative effect on liver function.

Cows acidosis: what is it

Acidosis is a scar disease in cows due to metabolic disorders. As a result, lactic acid accumulates in the animal’s stomach, and the pH is disturbed. With the development of the disease, lactic acid enters the bloodstream, causing destructive processes in the cow's liver. If acidosis is not treated, cattle will die.

A disease cannot occur without symptoms. Patency of food is disturbed, characteristic pain occurs, the animal becomes susceptible to other diseases, as immunity decreases. A cow with acidosis becomes lethargic, eats poorly or completely refuses food, the amount of milk decreases sharply.

Acidosis is especially dangerous for a pregnant cow, since the development of the placenta is impaired. The fetus receives all harmful products, as a result of which its immune system does not function as expected. Calves are born sick, die in the early days. If they survive, they noticeably lag behind other cows in development. As a rule, they are sent for slaughter.

It is important to understand that the disease is not contagious, but it affects several individuals at once or the whole herd, since the whole livestock is fed.

Important! Acidosis of cows is considered to be an alimentary disease, which occurs due to malnutrition.

Form of acidosis

Acidosis in cows is closely related to the digestive system of the animal, so its symptoms can be confused with another gastrointestinal disease. To prevent this from happening, you need to know that 3 handicaps are distinguished in veterinary medicine, each of them appears in its own way and requires some treatment.

It is impossible to miss the acute stage of the disease. Its easiest to determine. Symptoms occur within 2-6 hours after the use of poor-quality food. For acute acidosis is characteristic:

  • sudden lethargic state of the cow,
  • shortness of breath
  • refusal of food
  • the presence of a seal in the scar area,
  • trembling body
  • loose and frequent stools,
  • cramps.

Acidosis treatment for these symptoms should be started immediately. If a sick animal lies motionless, stops chewing, grinds its teeth and later falls into a coma, then death occurs in a day.

Attention! In acute acidosis, the body temperature of the cow remains normal.

Subclinical or subacute acidosis is not so dangerous, but it cannot be left without attention. This form occurs in cows after calving, when the animal changes the diet. If the changes occurred abruptly, then the microflora in the rumen did not have time to rebuild. As a result, acidosis begins.

Symptoms in the subacute form are similar to the acute course of the disease, but they develop slowly. The weight of the cow is gradually reduced, the muscles are weakening, and mastitis is possible.

A warning! Body temperature during subclinical manifestation of the disease can remain elevated for a long time.


The advanced form of acidosis goes into the chronic stage. Complications join the disease:

  • hoof ailments
  • reproductive disorders,
  • inflammation of the mucous membrane of the scar,
  • liver abscess
  • heart trouble.

The cow becomes lethargic, does not respond to external stimuli, eats poor food. She develops anemia.

The danger lies in the fact that for a long time, acidosis of a chronic form does not manifest itself in any way, expressed symptoms are absent. You can suspect an ailment by the appearance of the cow - it quickly gets tired. In addition, milk in a sick animal of low fat content.

Comment! A cow with chronic acidosis cannot tolerate offspring or gives birth to sick calves. As a rule, it is rejected.

Чтобы вовремя начать лечение, важно знать общие симптомы ацидоза КРС. В первые часы заболевания дыхание животного резко учащается. После чего через 10-15 минут восстанавливается. Это наблюдается в течение суток. In severe cases, rapid breathing remains.

In addition, the symptoms of acidosis are:

  1. A sharp rejection of the animal feed. This condition can last 2-5 days.
  2. Change the color of the surface of the tongue. It takes on a dirty yellow hue.
  3. Saliva becomes cloudy.
  4. The area of ​​the scar during the examination is painful, filled with gases. You can notice this symptom in a day from the onset of the disease.
  5. Feces change color and texture. By the end of the first day they become liquid, dirty gray in color, contain the remains of undigested food. The smell of feces is sour.
  6. The cow lies motionless.
  7. The animal begins conjunctivitis, purulent or serous contents are released from the eyes.

If you start treating the cow in time, then with a mild course of the disease, the animal will return to normal life after 4-5 days. With the advanced form of acidosis, it will take more than 10 days to recover.

Treatment of rumen acidosis in cows

A key factor in the recovery of the livestock is timely diagnosis and timely treatment of cicatricial acidosis in cows. To start, the scar should be thoroughly washed with a special probe. The contents are removed, and then alkali is added. It is allowed to apply a 15% solution of baking soda. If a simple treatment does not help, then an opening of the scar cannot be dispensed with. The operation is performed under general anesthesia. The contents of the pancreas are cleaned surgically with the subsequent administration of the drug. For a day, you can enter alkali 8 times.

In addition to the above treatment, the veterinarian will prescribe blood substitutes or sodium bicarbonate. It is necessary to restore the water balance in the body. It is useful to give the sick animal water with salt up to 7 times a day.

With severe fever and muscle cramps, it is necessary to drip B vitamins or give an anti-shock drug from those allowed in veterinary medicine, for example, Prednisolone.

Before the arrival of the veterinarian, you need to try to alleviate the condition of the cow yourself. To do this, it does not hurt to give her 1 liter of vegetable oil to relax the stool. The head of the animal must be kept tilted.

If acidosis has already turned into a chronic form, then deaths are practically excluded. The treatment will be different:

  1. Gastric lavage.
  2. Feed replacement.
  3. A course of enzymes that regulate the production of lactic acid and normalize digestion. It is designed for 2 months.

In addition, vitamin supplements and strict control over the components of the mash are required.

There are alternative methods of treating cow acidosis, but they are suitable for subacute and chronic stages of the disease, when there is no threat to the life of cattle:

  1. Gastric lavage with soda.
  2. Massage.
  3. Yeast feed.

At the first symptoms of acidosis, the cow is forcibly drunk with a solution of soda, after which vegetable oil is poured to induce vomiting and, thus, empty the cattle’s stomach.

After cleansing, massage is performed if the abdomen is not greatly swollen. This will help start the process of digesting food. They make it with soft pressing movements.

In the chronic course of the disease, it is useful to give the cow 100 g of mineral yeast per day. This contributes to the digestion of food, improves patency of the stomach, and prevents acidification of the feed.

What happens to a cow’s body in an illness

With acidosis, lactic acid accumulates in the rumen (the first part of the stomach), and natural substances become less than normal. The digestion of the animal is disturbed, along with this, immunity drops. Lactic acid begins to enter the bloodstream, causing destructive processes in the liver. The microflora in the rumen changes.

Organisms that process cellulose and lactic acid give way to those that “specialize” in starch. The consequence is the inability to digest roughage, an imbalance of substances in the body of ruminant, a change in pH. Sometimes with the accumulation of harmful bacteria in the rumen, sudden death of the animal may occur.

Acidosis is extremely dangerous for pregnant cows. The reason is a change in the placenta. She loses her protective functions, passing to the fetus all the substances circulating in the mother's body, including harmful products of impaired metabolism. They, in turn, affect the metabolism of the fetus, undermine its immune system.

Very often, calves born from sick cows die in the first days of life - their body is not able to cope with environmental threats. If the calf survives, it will lag behind in development from peers.

Symptoms of the acute form of the disease

Acidosis in cows is associated with disruption of the digestive system, so it is easy to confuse it with other gastrointestinal diseases. It is necessary to carefully monitor the condition and behavior of the diseased animal.

There are three forms of the disease: acute, subacute (subclinical) and chronic.

With an acute illness, it develops very quickly, it is easiest to recognize it. It is also easy enough to understand what caused acidosis. Symptoms appear very quickly after eating food, which provoked the disease, literally a few hours later.

The animal sharply becomes lethargic, stops eating, all the time lies without movement. Difficulty breathing; a cow can also grit her teeth. If you feel her stomach, in the area of ​​the gastric scar there will be a clear compaction. Body temperature does not usually rise.

A little later, the animal begins to tremble, gum stops, stool becomes frequent, loose. Cramps and coma are possible. This is the most dangerous form. If active treatment is not started immediately, the cow may die within 24 hours.