Ruminal acidosis in cattle- Symptoms, prevention & treatments

Ruminal acidosis in cattle- Symptoms, prevention & treatment. This problem occurs in most of the cattle farms in the world. Ruminal acidosis is usually caused by a change in the diet of cattle. It is a disease of the digestive system of cattle. Excessive carbohydrate and protein intake has been shown to cause ruminal acidosis in cattle. This problem causes bloating and indigestion in cattle. This is the common problem in livestock farming.

Acidosis is usually caused by consuming huge amounts of highly fermentable, carbohydrate-rich diets, resulting in an excess of lactic acid generation and accumulation in the rumen. This condition is referred to as grain overload, rumen overflow, overeating sickness, and founder. The condition is characterized by severe toxemia in its acute stage.

Type of ruminal acidosis in cattle

Rumen acidosis has two main forms.

  1. Acute ruminal acidosis
  2. Subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA)

Acute ruminal acidosis

Acute rumen acidosis is very common in feedlots. During acute ruminal acidosis the pH depression is more severe. Clinical symptoms are more prominent. Rumen acidosis in its subclinical form (also known as SARA, or SubAcute Rumen Acidosis) is more common than the acute type. When newly calved cows are given to a diet that differs significantly from that fed during the dry period, it is common to see this.

Subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA)

Subacute ruminal acidosis is the most important nutritional disorder disease in dairy cattle. It can negatively impact the dairy industry by decreasing dry matter intake, milk production, weigh gain & profitability. Subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) is more common on dairy farms.

Rumen pH

Rumen pH has a significant effect on the digestion of cattle. pH is the ratio of acidity to alkalinity. The need for proper pH to exist for the beneficial bacteria of rumen is much higher. The pH value of 6.2-7.0 is ideal for rumen microbes. If pH below 6.2 fibre-digesting bacteria slow down and pH below 5.4 fibre-digesting bacteria die out, lactic acid bacteria increase, and create ruminal acidosis in cattle.

Ruminal acidosis in cattle
Cattle rumen

The balance between the acids produced by feed fermentation and the bicarbonate and phosphate buffers in saliva that neutralize these acids determines the pH of the rumen. Chewing is stimulated by physically efficient fiber, and chewing stimulates saliva flow.

The cause of ruminal acidosis in cattle

The disease is dependent on cattle feed management in farm. This disease can be caused due to the following errors in food management.

  1. Cattle suddenly eat more food grains.
  2. Sudden changes in food or food-making ingredients occur.
  3. If you change the eating habits of cattle.
  4. If you provide a large amount of carbohydrates in feed.

Symptoms of ruminal acidosis in cattle

  • Food intake decreases or stops.
  • The animal stops chewing.
  • The animal does not defecate.
  • Constipation occurs.
  • Respiratory rate increases and dehydration is seen to occur.
  • The stomach of the animal is swollen.

Disease prevention

  • The animal needs to be given food like its eating habits.
  • Eating habits cannot be changed suddenly.
  • Caution should be exercised when using food preparation ingredients.
  • Measures should be taken to keep the digestive capacity of cattle normal.

Ruminal acidosis treatment

  • The infected animal should be given electrolyte or oral saline.
  • Sodium bicarbonate injection should be given intravenously.
  • Medicines available to cure stomach gas in cattle can be used.
  • Milk of magnesium suspension can be used.

Diets heavy in highly fermentable carbohydrates and low in effective fiber are often linked to rumen fermentation diseases that result in acidosis. What goes up in front of the cow, even with high-quality ingredients and proper diet formulation, is still at the mercy of those in charge of feed bunk mixing, delivery, and management.

Feeding non-structural carbohydrates-rich meals to animals that aren’t well-adapted can lead to rumen acidosis.


Acidosis in goats
Acidosis in cow

1 thought on “Ruminal acidosis in cattle- Symptoms, prevention & treatments”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *