• Ketone bodies are “the killers” being responsible for all subsequent negative effects (oxidative stress/ oxygen radicals)

  • Early detection and interference are key to prevent clinical effects and economical losses caused by ketone bodies! Go and check your dry cows’ feed intake and BCS on regular scale

  • Undetected subclinical ketosis can also lead to cellular damages, immunosuppression and in consequence increased incidence of secondary diseases e.g. mastitis, metritis and ketosis Go and check regularly blood BHBA levels of your fresh cows!

  • Did you ever wonder about your poor first service conception rates? SCK could be one of the causes you can fix to improve reproductive outcome.

  • Did you already know? Latest investigations reveal a strong correlation between excessive loss of BCS and increased risk of lameness. Go for our updated BCS Cowdition App to get in control of your herd.

  • Negative impact of (subclinical) ketosis on milk yields and subsequent diseases still seems to be underestimated Take your time to make a cost-benefit calculation

Hints and Tools

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