Cattle acidosis: what is it, treatment

Cattle acidosis: what is it, treatment

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Acidosis in cows is a common disease that lowers the performance of an animal. It is harmless if recognized in time. Otherwise, it is close to death. That is why anyone involved in cattle (cattle) should know the symptoms and treatment of acidosis in cows.

Cow acidosis: what is it

Acidosis is a rumen disease in cows due to impaired metabolism. As a result, lactic acid accumulates in the stomach of the animal, 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, the cattle will die.

The disease cannot proceed without symptoms. The permeability of food is disturbed, characteristic pains occur, 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 disrupted. All harmful products are delivered to the fetus, as a result of which its immune system does not function as expected. Calves are born sick, die in the first days. If they survive, then they lag behind other cows in development. As a rule, they are sent to the slaughter.

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

Important! Cow acidosis is considered to be an alimentary disease that occurs due to nutritional disorders.

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 manifests itself in its own way and requires certain treatment.


The acute stage of the disease cannot be missed. It is the easiest to define. Symptoms appear within 2-6 hours after eating poor-quality feed. Acute acidosis is characterized by:

  • sudden lethargic state of the cow;
  • shortness of breath;
  • refusal to eat;
  • the presence of a seal in the area of ​​the scar;
  • trembling in the body;
  • loose and frequent stools;
  • convulsions.

Treatment of acidosis with such 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 cow's body temperature remains normal.


Subclinical or subacute acidosis is not so dangerous, but it cannot be ignored. This form occurs in cows after calving, when the animal's diet is changed. 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 cow's weight gradually decreases, the muscles weaken, and mastitis may develop.

Warning! Body temperature with a subclinical manifestation of the disease can remain elevated for a long time.


The neglected form of acidosis becomes chronic. Complications join the disease:

  • hoof ailments;
  • violations in the reproductive organs;
  • inflammation of the scar mucosa;
  • liver abscess;
  • heart problems.

The cow becomes lethargic, does not respond to external stimuli, and does not eat well. She develops anemia.

The danger lies in the fact that for a long time acidosis of the chronic form does not manifest itself in any way, there are no pronounced symptoms. You can suspect an ailment by the appearance of the cow - she gets tired quickly. In addition, milk from a sick animal is low in fat content.

Causes of acidosis in cows

Acidosis appears only through the fault of the owner of the herd. This is the result of illiterate or improper nutrition of cattle. You cannot drastically change the diet of cows or the ratio of its components. The main causes that lead to acidosis:

  • poor quality silage;
  • finely ground feed;
  • excess of quickly digestible carbohydrates;
  • too wet food;
  • violation of microflora in the rumen.

These include the abundance:

  • apples;
  • beets;
  • potatoes;
  • cereals or vegetable waste.

The cow should not be allowed to eat anything. Feed should not be readily available.

One of the causes of acidosis is a lack of coarse food. This should not be allowed. Such food causes an abundance of saliva, without which normal digestion cannot be. Too soft and crushed feeds lead to decreased salivation. As a result, the food in the cow's stomach becomes sour, indigestion and loose stools occur.

Advice! Fresh feed should be included in the cow's diet. An abundance of cooked food leads to the development of acidosis.

Pathogenesis of acidosis in cows

In the first section of the stomach of cows - the rumen - up to 70% of the total feed is accumulated and digested. If its quality leaves much to be desired, then a lot of lactic acid is released, which should accelerate the breakdown of food. Gradually, lactic acid becomes in excess, the pH of the stomach decreases. Instead, the acidity rises. An imbalance of substances occurs. It is this state of the animal that leads to the onset of acidosis.


In order to start treatment on time, it is important to know the general symptoms of bovine acidosis. In the first hours of the disease, the animal's respiration sharply increases. Then, after 10-15 minutes, it is restored. This is observed during the day. In severe cases, rapid breathing remains.

In addition, the symptoms of acidosis are:

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

If the treatment of the cow is started on time, then with a mild course of the disease, the animal will return to normal life in 4-5 days. With an advanced form of acidosis, it will take more than 10 days to recover.

Diagnosis of acidosis in cows

The owner alone will not be able to accurately diagnose a cow, since acidosis can be easily confused with other diseases, the symptoms of which are similar. This will require the advice of an experienced veterinarian who will conduct a series of studies and prescribe treatment.

For an accurate diagnosis, an analysis of the contents of the rumen, blood and urine of the animal is done. A sick cow has acidic urine, it contains protein, which is especially characteristic of a severe course of the disease. Lactic acid residues can be found in the blood.

In addition to the described procedures, the veterinarian may prescribe an electrocardiogram. Tachycardia is observed in 80% of sick cattle. The heart rate reaches 136 beats per minute. This condition lasts 12-15 days.

Important! Microscopic changes occur in the tissues of the brain, liver, kidneys. Vascular thrombosis occurs.

Treatment of rumen acidosis in cows

The key factor in the recovery of the livestock is timely diagnosis and timely treatment of rumen acidosis in cows. To begin with, the scar should be thoroughly washed with a special probe. The content is removed, after which alkali is introduced. It is allowed to use a 15% baking soda solution. If simple treatment does not help, then opening the scar is indispensable. The operation is performed under general anesthesia. The contents of the proventriculus are cleaned surgically, followed by drug administration. Alkali can be injected 8 times per day.

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.

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

Before the arrival of the veterinarian, you should 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 loosen her stools. At the same time, the head of the animal must be kept at an angle.

If acidosis has already become chronic, then deaths are practically excluded. The treatment will be different:

  1. Gastric lavage.
  2. Change of feed.
  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 ingredients of the mash will be required.

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

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

At the first symptoms of acidosis, the cow is forcibly watered with a solution of soda, after which vegetable oil is poured in to induce vomiting and, thus, cleanse the stomach of the cattle.

After cleansing, massage is performed if the stomach is not very swollen. This will help kickstart the process of digesting food. Do it with soft pressing movements.

In case of a chronic course of the disease, it is useful to give a cow 100 g of mineral yeast per day. This promotes the digestion of food, improves the permeability of the stomach, and prevents souring of the feed.


Cow acidosis is a disease that is easy to prevent, it is enough to monitor the quality of feed and correctly form the animal's diet:

  1. Eliminate spoiled, rotten or rotten silage from the diet.
  2. Add coarse feed so that there is more than half of it.
  3. Control the moisture content of the mash, which should be at a level of 45-55%.
  4. Reduce consumption of molasses and fodder beets. Their share in the mash is 7% of dry matter.
  5. Reduce the amount of wheat, add corn to 50% of all ingredients.

In addition, it is necessary to deprive the animal of the opportunity to eat food selectively. All components are thoroughly mixed and distributed in the form of a wet mash.


Symptoms and treatment of acidosis in cows helps to cope with the disease in a short time. It is important to adhere to all the recommendations of the veterinarian and further revise the diet of cattle, otherwise it is not far from the chronic form of the disease.

Watch the video: Research on Acidosis in Cattle (December 2022).

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