Title:- Metabolic Disorder of Ruminants
(Msc Student Candidate at Animal Nutrition Program)
Instructor : Dr. Abegaz Beyene
Course :Ruminant Animal Nutrition
June 1, 2023
College of Agriculture and Veterninery Medicine
2. Presentation outlines
• Some types of metabolic disorder in ruminants
• Some general clinical signs of metabolic disorder of ruminants
• Method preventation and treatements metabolic disorder of
• metabolic disorder was Changes to the reticulo-rumen
environment can influence the metabolism of the micro-
organisms present, resulting in disease conditions for the
• Metabolic Disorders cause major losses for individual cows
• A metabolic disorder case exposes the cow to a cascade of
• Metabolic disorders in ruminant animals occur at varying
rates on different farms, but all result in lost profitability.
• An individual metabolic disorders usually signal more costly
sub-clinical problems across the whole herd.
5. Types of metabolic disorder of ruminants
• Acidosis is a pathological condition associated with the
accumulation of acid or depletion of alkaline reserves in
blood and body tissues, and characterized by increased
hydrogen ion concentrations (Blood and Studdert 1988).
• Ruminal acidosis is a series of conditions that reflect a
decrease in pH in the rumen of cattle.
It is the most important nutritional problem that feedlots face
daily and is a major challenge for dairies as well.
Both the dairy and feedlot industries have continued to move
to the use of more grains in their feeding programs.
• Feeding diets that are progressively higher in grain tends to
increase milk production.
• The result is a decrease in ruminal pH due to an increase in
lactic acid concentration.
• This occurs due to rapid growth of organisms such as
Streptococcus bovis and Lactobacilli which overgrow other
species whose growth causes an acid environment to develop.
• In situations where excessive sugar or starch is consumed,
lactic acid will be overproduced and accumulate, those lactic
acid produced are leading pH decline in rumen fluid and this
prevent or inhibit the growth of other organisms.
• Because most bacteria in the rumen are pH sensitive, not being
able to survive below pH of 6.0.
• As the rumen pH declines, Lactobacillus bacteria will start to
reproduce rapidly more lactic acid
10. Acute Acidosis
• Acute ruminal acidosis is characterized by an extended period
of time that pH in the rumen remains very low (usually less
than 5.2)and more severe.
• This is occurs when animals diet on feed material high in
starch or other rapidly fermentable carbohydrates.
• Overeating carbohydrate fermentation progresses rapidly and
the growth of Streptococcus bovis and Lactobacilli increase
• Hence, the risk of acute acidosis appears greatest during the
period of transition from high forage to high grain diets and
when feed delivery is inconsistent, conditions that promote the
excess consumption of rapidly fermented diets
• Due to unexpected increase in the intake of rapidly
fermentable carbohydrates there depression of ruminal pH .
• This results in an accumulation of volatile fatty acids (VFA)
and lactic acid in the rumen.
• Then excessive build-up of short chained fatty acids in ruminal
fluid increases the osmolality of rumen contents which in turn
inhibits feed intake, salivation, and the onset of rumination
following meals (Carter and Grovum, 1990).
• High osmotic pressure in the rumen pulls water from the blood
into the gastrointestinal tract causing diarrhea.
• Loss of water from the blood increases blood osmolality and
packed cell volume leading to dehydration of the animal.
13. Subacute Acidosis(SARA)
• Subacute Acidosis(SARA) is when a pH of rumen is
between 5.2 to 5.8
• Its high prevalence has been correlated with the use of diets
that contain substantial quantities of processed grains.
• It is difficult to identify animals suffering from subacute
acidosis because clinical signs are not unique to acidosis.
• Cattle with sub acute acidosis can experience diarrhea,
weight loss, reduced milk production, and increased
susceptibility to other metabolic disorders.
14. Ruminal pH profile in a dairy cow.
• Subacute acidosis was defined as pH < 5.8 and acute acidosis
as pH < 5.2. The prolonged period of subacute acidosis that
occurred on day 5 developed into acute acidosis on day 6
(Beauchemin, unpublished data).
15. Clinical signs
• Reduced feed intake(the major).
• Other signs that may indicate subacute acidosis include:
lethargy (lack of energy and sleepiness),
kicking at the belly and
general signs of discomfort and stress.
• Avoid including too much high energy feeds, too large of feed
particles, and adding unsaturated oils.
• Adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to the diet can
raise the rumen pH.
• Increasing the amount of long forages (fiber) to increase
saliva production can also help, as the saliva works as a buffer
in the rumen.
• Supplementing the diet with direct-fed microbials that enhance
lactate utilizers in the rumen .
• The amounts of forage in the diet should be calculated to
provide more than 32% NDF, with greater than 80% being
sources from long forage
Figure.2 Two different methods for providing additional fibre to
• Ruminal acidosis can cause lameness in cattle due to laminitis
and associated hoof lesions (Cook et al., 2004; Nordlund et al.,
• It is occurs when the blood vessels in the tissue of the hoof
become inflamed and dilate.
• It can be caused by environmental and/or dietary factors.
• In dietary cases many studies have identified nutritional
factors that increase the risk of laminitis, including feeding
diets high in rapidly fermentable carbohydrates (Nocek 1997;
• The others factors a) if rumen pH falls below 5.5, or b) if the
blood vessels become inflamed due to a blood poisoning, the
bone inside the hoof will swell. Because the hoof cannot
expand, but the bone can, a cow can experience intense pain
from this situation.
• Laminitis can be categorized in to three forms depending on
the severity and duration of the condition:
1. Acute laminitis
2. Sub-acute laminitis
3. Chronic laminitis.
1. Acute laminitis, like the name suggests, is an attack of
laminitis on a very short term basis. Acute laminitis will be
severe and will occur unexpected time, usually because of
2. Sub-Acute Laminitis
• Sub-acute laminitis is the most common form of laminitis in
dairy cows. This mainly occurs around calving. The calving
process is the onset of the laminitis.
• It starts about 7-10 days before calving and lasts until 7-10
days after calving.
• The lameness signs often appear 2 – 4 weeks after calving.
3. Chronic laminitis
• Chronic laminitis is the result of acute and/or sub-acute
laminitis and shows often a few months after the attack of
• This is the damage to the lamellae that is deforming the dorsal
wall of the claw and can be recognized by a buckled toe.
• Bloat is the results from the accumulation of gas in the rumen
due to fermentation.
• This risk was increases when rapid changes occur in diet
composition or in feed delivery that increases the supply of
rapidly fermented carbohydrate (Schwartzkopf-Genswein et al.,
• A sudden increase in fermented carbohydrates in the rumen
leads to rapid microbial growth rates and subsequent cell lysis.
• Extracellular bacterial mucopolysaccharides (slime) and stored
carbohydrates released during microbial cell lysis increase the
viscosity of ruminal fluid trapping gas and forming the stable
foam that leads to bloat (Cheng et al., 1998).
• There are two major categories of bloat, frothy bloat and
Frothy bloat - This type of bloat can be brought about by
overeating lush, damp feeds such as wet, green pasture with a
high proportion of legumes cause excessive gas bubbles in the
• Foam forms in the rumen with tiny gas bubbles making it
impossible for an animal to belch and rid themselves of gas.
• Green feed that has grown warm in a stack, poorly digestible
feed material and sudden changes in feed can cause frothy bloat.
• Dry or free-gas bloat: usually caused by:
Blockage of the esophagus (Choking):Sometimes an animal
may swallow something large enough to block the esophagus,
preventing removal of gas by belching and resulting in bloat.
The symptoms of choking are plentful salivation, very rapid
bloating, restlessness and gasping (difficulty in breathing).
Displacement of one of the "stomachs":
It is a fairly common problem in pregnant ewes/does.
General Clinical Signs of bloat
an inability to belch (lack of eructation)
distended abdomen, mostly on the left side,
signs of pain such as grinding teeth, depression, getting
up and down,
extending its neck, frequent urination or defecation and
even make grunting sounds
• Legume-based pastures (e.g. soybeans and alfalfa) can
increase the production of gaseous foam, in part due to the low
saliva production that results from this diet.
• If legume-based bloat occurs, gradually introduce animals to
• To minimize grain bloat, keep the grain consumed per serving
to less amount.
• Seek a veterinarian immediately for severe bloat. Some
animals may develop chronic bloat (lifelong reoccurring
bloat); culling should be considered in these cases.
• In extreme cases the pressure in the rumen can be reduced by
stabbing the animal on the left-hand side behind the ribs, using
a sharp knife or, preferably, a trocar and cannula.
33. Displaced Abomasum(DA)
• In up to 90% of these cases, the abomasum (fourth stomach
chamber; the one most like human stomach) will become
inflated with gas and will move from the lower right side of
the cow to the left side.
• In rare cases, the stomach will twist to the right, causing the
stomach to completely twist and block the flow of food and
blood. Immediate veterinary surgery is needed in this case.
34. Symptoms of DA
• Dramatically decreased feed intake
• Drastic or having a strong drop in milk production
• Pain (stand with back arched)
• Appears to be in pain or in discomfort
• keep the cow’s rumen full of feed by allowing constant access
• Avoid sudden increases in grain to avoid gas formation in the
• Cows should be in proper body condition at parturition
• Cows fed to encourage maximal intake
• Encourage cows to lie on left side
36. Ketosis/Fatty Liver Disease /Pregnancy Toxaemia
• a condition characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies
(acetone, acetoacetate, and beta -hydroxybutyrate) in the body
of animals, associated with abnormal fat metabolism.
• It is a common disease of adult cattle. It typically occurs in
dairy cows in early lactation& last six weeks of gestation in
• The most prevalent of ketosis in dairy cows was during the
first 30 days of lactation as glucose is in high demand for the
conversion to lactose (needed in the milk).
• ketosis is when high energy demands force a cow to break
down bodily stores of fat too quickly. If too much fat is
needed, the digestive tract will not be able to break it down
efficiently, causing a by product called a ketone to form in the
Clinical Signs of kitosis
The cow will appear thin, and milk production will drop.
Dullness and lethargy, Reduced milk yield
Loss of body weight and Reduced dry matter intake
Peardrops smell on breath/urine
• Most accepted ketosis treatments attempt to increase blood
sugar levels. Usually,about 500 ml of a 50 percent glucose
solution is used.
• When this is the sole treatment, relapses are frequent. As a
result, most veterinarians recommend taking administered
injection of glucose with the incorporation of insulin as a part
of the therapy.
• Also, some veterinarians supplement corticosteroids for a few
days following treatment to boost blood glucose levels.
39. Hypocalcemia (Milk Fever):
• Hypocalcemia (low blood calcium concentration) is simply
when the bodily Ca levels of a cow drop too low.
• Milk fever is a condition of older, third to sixth lactation, high-
producing dairy cows.
• It is associated with parturition, usually within 72 hours of
giving birth. Because of the high volume of milk produced
during this time, and subsequent demand for calcium, these
cows often develop hypocalcaemia, or abnormally low levels
of calcium in the blood.
40. Etiology(cause agents)
• Over supply of calcium in the diet during the dry cow period
• Inadequate magnesium/vitamin D supply in dry cow diet
• Calcium:Phosphorus ratio is too low
• Cows at more than 2 lactation
• Avoid feeding excessive calcium during a cow’s dry period. If
a cow has limited access to calcium before calving, her body
will become better at utilizing the stores of calcium in her
• Supplement large amounts of Vitamin D for three days before
calving to help her body utilize calcium more efficiently.
• Feed a balanced mineral ration designed that focuses on
magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and of course calcium.
42. Hypomagnesaemia/ lactation tetany / grass tetany
• Grass Tetany is low blood Magnesium caused by low levels
and availability of Magnesium in pasture.
• Magnesium is a widely distributed metal and is prominent
• Almost half of the magnesium in the body is present in the
• The normal concentration range in plasma is 1.8-3.5 mg per
• spring pastures are often low in magnesium. This is most
common in wheat and rye that is heavily fertilized. Adding
inorganic magnesium or supplying legumes such as alfalfa or
soybeans will help as well.
• Dietary magnesium should not exceed 0.4% of dry matter. A
suggested ratio of dietary potassium to magnesium of 4:1 is
44. Excessive Fiber
• Basically a cow consumes too much fiber, causing her feces
to lose its normal consistency. This can result in anal
blockage (compacted bowels) and digestive obstruction. A
solid roughly or stool softener can help her pass her feces.
• Prevention: avoid diets that are too high in fiber.
45. Johnne’s Disease (Chronic Enteritis )
• Infection and swelling of the intestinal tract prevents the
absorption of water and nutrients into the blood.
• A cow slowly starves to death with a stomach full of food.
• It is spread by manure-contamination of food and water.
• The feces of the cow will look like green-ish brown hot water.
This disease is can be thought of as highly severe diarrhea
with no cure.
Remove all infected cows as soon as possible.
Prevent the introduction of fecal matter into feed and
Separate calves from cows within 24 hours of birth.
• Ametabolic disorder case exposes the cow to a cascade or
especially one in a series of subsequent problems.
• Metabolic disorders in ruminants animals occur at varying
rates on different farms, but all result in lost profitability.
• Ration adjustments, daily animal inspections, and a good
VCPR (Veterinary Client Professional Relationship) can
prevent many of these problems, but these problems can never
be completely eliminated.
• Therefore the overall goal is to minimize the occurrence of
these disorders as much as possible.
• However, good nutrition, particularly during the dry period,
can prevent many problems.
• Therefore Critical nutrition issues are:-
1. Body Condition
2. Mineral nutrition
3. Early lactation feeding
4. Grass Tetany control