Ketosis icon



Ketosis is a metabolic disease that occurs as a result of negative energy balance due to a failure to adapt to the energy demands of early lactation.

Hidden ketosis affects around 30% of cows or more1,2 with a large degree of variability between herds.

Whilst clinical ketosis was hardly detected at < 3%, the average herd prevalence of hidden ketosis was 29-58%2. This can be assessed through various means from BHB’s present in the blood through to a simple milk test for freshly calved cows. The higher the level of ketones present, the greater the likelihood of ketosis.

Affected cows may have reduced conception rates,3 longer calving intervals3 and produce significantly less milk.4

They are at risk of developing not just clinical ketosis5 but also other harmful and costly health problems.

Cows with or at risk of developing hidden ketosis are at increased risk of having displaced abomasum,5 retained placenta6, metritis5 and cystic ovaries7 and consequently face a higher culling risk.8 Additionally hidden ketosis means that the cow's immune system is compromised.9

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1 Macrae, et al. 2012. Prevalence of clinical and subclinical ketosis in UK dairy herds 2006-2011. World Buiatrics, Lisbon, Portugal.

2 Elanco Farm Audit 2011, No. GN4FR110006. Data on file.

3 Walsh 2007. The effect of subclinical ketosis in early lactation on reproductive performance of postpartum dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 90:2788-2796.

4 Ospina 2010. Association between the proportion of sampled transition cows with increased nonesterified fatty acids and ß-hydroxybutyrate and disease incidence, pregnancy rate and milk production at the herd level. J. Dairy Sci. 93:3595-3601.

5 Duffield 2009. Impact of hyperketonemia in early lactation dairy cows on health and production. J. Dairy Sci. 92:571-580.

6 Le Blanc S. J. 2008. Postpartum uterine disease and dairy herd reproductive performance: A review. The Veterinary Journal. 176 102-114

7 Dohoo 1984. Subclinical ketosis prevalence and associations with production and disease. Can. J. Comp. Med. 48:1-5.

8 Leblanc 2010. Monitoring metabolic health of dairy cattle in the transition period. J. Repro. Dev. 56:S29-S35.

9 Grinberg, Elazar, Rosenshine, Shpigel 2008. ß-Hydroxybutyrate Abrogates Formation of Bovine Neutrophil Extracellular Traps and Bactericidal Activity against Mammary Pathogenic Escherichia coli. Infec. and Immun. 76:2802-2807.