Ketosis: State Of The Nation Pt 2

Last month we looked at different ways of monitoring the level of ketosis. This month we look at monitoring it at the herd level.

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Research has shown that ketosis levels vary throughout the UK, with an average level of 30% but ranging from 10% to 60%. This will vary dependent on several factors including housing pressure, environmental pressure and nutritional pressure; one farm can vary month-to-month, which is why regular sampling is important.

Addressing Ketosis At The Herd Level

Ensuring that the environment, housing and nutrition are as good as they can be will help to reduce ketosis at a farm level. Working with your regular vet to investigate the transition period is beneficial (this can be worked into your routine fertility visits).

Addressing ketosis at a herd level will ensure you cater for the average cow in your herd, however there will always be outliers who need special attention through the transition period in order to adapt to Negative Energy Balance and avoid Ketosis.

The Outliers

What is an outlier? As a rule of thumb, cows that are ‘Sick Old Fat or carrying Twins’ (SOFT) require special attention. Treating these animals with TLC will help e.g. ensuring that they have more than adequate feed space and water access, but Kexxtone Boluses can also be used at 3-4 weeks before calving to target cows at risk of Ketosis. According to TSDG (Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group) guidelines, Kexxtone use is permitted and should be used on a targeted basis. Its use does not form part of the TSDG Dairy Health Index measurement of antibiotics and is included for monitoring purposes only.

Warning: the active ingredient in Kexxtone (monensin) is very toxic to dogs so it is recommended to keep dogs away during bolus administration and to keep cows in a holding pen for an hour after treatment to make sure they haven’t regurgitated the bolus.

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