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Diagnosis via BHBA measurement in blood

  • Subclinical ketosis: > 1.2 mmol/l without clinical symptoms
  • Clinical ketosis: > 3 mmol/l with clinical symptoms

Since the mean duration of SCK is about 5 days cows in risk should be checked at least twice at 5-7 d and 10-14 d p.p. 18, 75, 79

Early detection: Regular check of rumen fill as off 2 weeks before calving

  • Seen from the rear, the rumen should be bulging
  • Cows with SCK had fewer visits to the feeder in the weeks prior to calving
  • Cows with SCK ate less in the week before and 2 weeks after calving

Body Condition Scoring

  • Dry period: BCS 3.0 – 3.5 (Holstein Friesian cows)
  • During NEB p.p. they should not drop < 2.5
  • The BCS Cowdition App is a useful tool to objectively assess, monitor, and manage BCS in individual cows and on herd level

Transition period feeding

  • Far-off period: An excessive energy supply must be avoided as overconditioned animals – BCS>3.5 – eat less p.p.
  • Close-up period: Gradual increase of energy and protein content to prepare rumen for concentrate-rich feeding p.p.
  • Adjustment feeding: stimulation of food intake through
    • Gradual, slow increase of energy content
    • Providing regularly fresh TMR
    • Fibre length fit for short ruminal retention

Prevention and therapy

  • Drench animals in risk (after difficult calving; retained placenta; milk fever; high starting yields;…) preventively with glucoplastic substances
  • Minimize oxidative damages by application of vitamin E and selenium
  • Medicate glucose infusion, application of glucocorticoid and Butaphosphan & Vitamin B12 (according to national registration)

Increasing energy content

  • Feeding of rumen-protected starch
  • Feeding fat (> 3 weeks p.p.), total fat 5% of dry substance (up to 7% protected fats)

Improve cow comfort

Lipomobilization is promoted primarily by stress (adrenaline) and a high glucagon:insulin ratio 15. Stress reduction is an underestimated measure for limiting lipomobilization 79. Cows treated with Butaphosphan & Vitamin 12 showed a significant reduction of β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) concentrations compared to their placebo-treated counterparts 78.

* see also our references page

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