Cow rumen tympania: symptoms and treatment

Tympanum is a fairly common non-infectious disease in cattle, which is accompanied by significant gas formation and excessive bloating. It is able to proceed quickly enough and without timely qualified assistance leads to the death of animals. The disease has distinctive symptoms, is easily diagnosed, and can be prevented by preventative measures.

What is this disease

Tympany is the swelling of the scar in cows. The scar is called the large-capacity pre-gastric section (100-300 liters), which is actively involved in the digestion process, is extremely important for the production of B vitamins and fermentation of nutrients for the body. Important! If help is not provided on time, then after 3-4 hours, an attack of tympanum will lead to the death of the animal. The volume of accumulated gases in the rumen leads to its significant increase and mechanical stretching. Anatomically, the scar is located in the immediate vicinity of the thoracic region, therefore, impaired gas exchange and an increase in the pancreas exerts direct pressure on the lungs, makes breathing difficult and can lead to asphyxiation.

The structure of the stomach of a cow In addition, an enlarged scar in volume produces compression of all internal organs and, which is especially dangerous, of the heart, blood supply and carbohydrate-fat metabolism are disrupted.

Causes of occurrence

Like all diseases, tympania does not occur in healthy animals with proper care. For its occurrence, some prerequisites are necessary.

Among the main factors, the reasons associated with the nutrition of cattle and the rules for caring for it are distinguished:

  • non-compliance with the feeding regime can lead to unacceptable gaps in food intake, and hungry animals with fast saturation do not chew food well enough, especially if it is heavy food or succulent grass from pastures;
  • feed, which is prone to fermentation, can provoke tympanum, so it is advisable to limit the volume or completely exclude the feeding of cows with leaves of corn and cabbage, beet tops, frozen root crops. Clovers, alfalfa, shoots of winter crops, if they are abundantly moistened with dew or rain, belong to the same category of restricted feed;
  • frequent cases of the disease are observed after grazing during or immediately after heavy rainfall and in the early morning when there is plentiful dew on the pasture, especially tympanum is provoked by young grass and clover covered with moisture. It is also unacceptable to walk animals on pastures where grass is covered with hoarfrost of early frosts;
  • animals eating spoiled feed (hay, silage) or technological food waste;
  • malnutrition, a diet depleted in hay and succulent grass, incorrect calculations of daily feeding rates can also provoke bloating;
  • insufficient motor activity, absence or limited walking time negatively affect digestion and can cause gas retention in the rumen.

Forms and Symptoms

Symptoms of tympanium at the initial stage of the disease are manifested in the restless behavior of animals. Cows can refuse food, intensively fan their tail and constantly try to consider what happens to their stomach, which, due to an increase in the volume of the scar, is greatly swollen.

The animal mumbles, bends its back, tries to lie down repeatedly, but almost immediately gets up, tries to hit its stomach with its hind legs. The body temperature remains normal, but breathing quickens, becomes superficial and chest. If tympania develops, the cow will begin to breathe through the mouth, often coughing and moaning. Important! Bloating in cattle can also be a symptom of other diseases, but it is recommended that you immediately contact your veterinarian at the first symptoms. Her salivation increases, her tongue hangs out of her mouth and saliva of a foamy consistency flows. Bloating increases to such a size that visually it is very noticeable. The mucous membranes in the visible region become cyanotic, and the pulse becomes faster. The processes of burping and chewing gum completely cease. Scar tympania can be observed in both adult cows and calves and proceeds in an acute and chronic form.


In the acute form of tympanum, veterinarians distinguish two separate phases: primary and secondary. The primary phase coincides with the onset of the development of the disease. It is caused by an improper diet, the use of easily fermenting food and is accompanied by a rapid deterioration in well-being. In this phase, calf bloating is already clearly visible.

The disease develops rapidly if, after the adoption of poor-quality feed, the cow additionally receives a plentiful drink. The secondary phase of the swelling of the scar develops due to blockage of the esophagus, which is a consequence of the ingestion of poisonous plants (aconite, colchicum, cycut, etc.), whole, especially frozen root crops, accidentally swallowed inedible objects, garbage in the feed, etc.

Bloating is visually noticeable in adults, especially on the left - where the scar is located. Scar reduction is absent completely. An animal may take a bowel movement, but only a very small amount of urine and feces are excreted.

If you do not take any emergency measures, then the animal will no longer be able to stay on its feet, the cow falls and dies when convulsions occur. The acute form of tympanum is dangerous in that it develops extremely rapidly. Sometimes only a few hours can pass from the onset of the disease to the death of the animal.


The chronic form of bloating is a consequence of digestive system diseases such as gastritis. In calves, for example, tympanum can cause a transitional period of feeding from the stall to the pasture.

Chronic disease develops much more slowly than the acute form, but symptoms cannot be ignored when animals lose weight and milk production decreases. Farmers have a week, a maximum of 2 months, to respond to symptoms, seek help from a veterinarian and save the animal.


The acute course of the disease and pronounced symptoms help to correctly diagnose tympanum. During the initial examination, the esophagus is palpated and the throat is carefully examined. It is recommended that you use a probe that can simultaneously remove gases from the scar.

However, all factors should be considered in aggregate and no hasty conclusions should be made only on the swollen belly of cows. It is necessary during diagnosis to exclude the possibility of blockage of the esophagus, which is accompanied by a febrile state. You should also carefully consider the symptoms of the disease, due to the fact that tympanum may be a harbinger of a more serious disease - anthrax.


Treatment of the animal is required to be carried out immediately. When the first alarming symptoms appear, immediately call a veterinarian. However, you should not just wait for help, you can start by implementing simple emergency measures that will alleviate the condition of the animal and reduce the likelihood of death.

First, it is advisable to inspect the throat of the cow and, if it detects a foreign object, try to fill it in first by pouring vegetable or castor oil with a volume of 150-300 ml into the animal’s throat for free passage of the hand or probe, as well as for breaking the foam formed in the scar. If, for example, a whole boiled potato or other root crop is found, it is possible to gently press on the walls of the esophagus and crush the undigested vegetable.


If the veterinarian has already been called, then, without wasting time, it is supposed to start ambulance measures to reduce the pressure of the scar on the diaphragm and stop the further formation of gases if possible. They begin by forcing the cow at a slow pace to climb any hill.

If the terrain does not contribute to this, you can water the area of ​​the sigh on the left side or bring the animal into a pond or river. This facilitates the removal of gases from the scar.

A cow in the river, as one of the methods of helping with tympanum. Also, emergency massage helps with stomach massage and rhythmic forced stretching of the cow's tongue to cause burping. All these measures are aimed at trying to “get” the cow’s stomach. Ambulance can be complicated by the fact that the symptoms of the disease appeared simultaneously in several cows in the herd. It will be useful for you to find out how to treat catarrh atony in cattle.


Probing is a more serious measure in providing assistance and is especially effective in removing gases from the rumen; it is carried out only in the presence of a veterinarian. To make it easier to probe, the animal is set in such a way that its upper body is on a hill.

As a probe, you can use a thick hose. If the probe comes across an obstacle in the throat of a cow, then the tube is pulled back a little and try to perform the manipulation again.

After the introduction of the probe, the scar should be actively massage with fists for several minutes. At this time, gases will actively exit through the probe. The probe cover must be periodically cleaned of food debris so that it does not clog. If the sounding is not very effective, then foaming agents are injected through the probe or gastric lavage is performed.

Sounding the stomach A good way to extinguish the foam in the rumen is fresh milk: 2-3 liters are enough for an adult cow. The veterinarian must have special medications, such as tympanol, Sikaden and others, which are used according to the instructions. You can also use other means for introducing through a probe, for example, solutions of 5% alcohol iodine (15–20 ml per 1 liter of water), ichthyol (15–20 g per 1 liter of water) and others.

Surgical intervention

If the above measures did not take effect, perform a puncture of the scar. Only a qualified specialist performs the operation, and a trocar is used as an instrument. However, in acute foamy tympanum, the operation is not indicated, since only a small amount of foam will come out through the sleeve of the trocar.

It is better to continue measures to cause belching, gastric lavage and treatment with drugs and solutions. During the puncture operation, the site is carefully prepared by cutting the hair on the left side of the cow and disinfecting it. The removal of cicatricial gases is discharged by a tube, which is left at the puncture site for several hours.

The surgical wound is washed with boiled water and further disinfected with an alcohol solution or vodka. Processing is continued until the final healing, and the animal during the rehabilitation period is transferred to a strict diet.


Prevention of tympanum is expressed in strict adherence to a diet, which should be informed to all who care for cows:

  • Before giving the animals concentrated feed, they should first be fed with rough food - hay, straw or silage;
  • the daily dose of grain is not issued all at once, but is distributed in several doses;
  • if the grain feed has never been given to animals before, it needs to be trained gradually, and they should be fed only after watering, but not immediately, but after 15–20 minutes;
  • avoid morning grazing of cows on pastures with lush grass and clover, only after feeding for 2-3 hours in depleted meadows can animals be distilled for plentiful feeding, which lasts no more than 1 hour;
  • it is strictly forbidden to graze cows after rain and dew;
  • it is required to monitor when animals drink, when feeding lush grass, you must not water cows either before grazing or immediately after it;
  • when walking, cows should be constantly in motion;
  • you should be careful when switching to stall keeping cows for the winter and, conversely, when withdrawing from it: introducing new feed into the diet should be phased and gradual.

Feeding a cow with hay before distributing concentrated feed as a method of preventing tympanum. Proper preventive measures, observing the rules for keeping and feeding animals can prevent and exclude tympanum in cows. However, it is necessary to be prepared for a possible outbreak of the disease and always have first-aid drugs in an accessible place, as well as know the methods of emergency measures.

Interesting Articles