How to treat ketosis in cows

The constant development and improvement of the processes of organizing animal husbandry has led to a sharp increase in milk production and an increase in the genetic potential of cattle. However, such changes affected the established types of feeding and keeping animals, which is often a source of metabolic disorders in cows. Increasingly, farmers are forced to seek help from veterinarians and often hear the same diagnosis - ketosis.

What it is

Ketosis, or acetonemia, is considered one of the most common diseases among ruminants, namely: dairy cows. Most often, cows whose age reaches 5–8 years are at risk in the first months after calving.

This is due to metabolic disorders in the body of the animal and is accompanied by the accumulation of ketone bodies in the blood. Such a disease can lead to general intoxication of the body, disruption of the liver, heart and endocrine glands.

The consequences of the late diagnosis of ketosis can be a sharp decrease in milk productivity by more than 50%, disruption of the reproductive functions of cows, a sharp loss in animal weight.

Causes of occurrence

Ketosis refers to diseases, the occurrence of which is caused not by one cause, but by a number of factors. The root cause is a poor diet of animals. Excessive feeding with concentrated feeds and a lack of easily digestible carbohydrates in the diet lead to a deficiency of glucose in the body, i.e., energy in highly dairy cows.

Rare walking and, therefore, atrophy of the animal’s muscles due to lack of mobility, as well as the lack of the necessary amount of sunlight and oxygen, have a great influence on the manifestation and development of the disease.

Did you know? Ketosis is not considered a seasonal disease, but more often manifests itself in the autumn-winter period. This is due to a deterioration in the quality of cow food, as well as reduced motor activity of animals.


Ketosis has several forms of course: acute, subacute and chronic.

Depending on each of them, the symptoms can vary, however, common signs are inherent in any form:

  • nervous excitement in the animal, which is replaced by apathy;
  • frequent grinding of teeth and excessive salivation;
  • muscle tremors and cramps;
  • decreased appetite and rejection of quality food;
  • frequent, intermittent breathing;
  • violation of the reproductive system.

With acetonemia, an increase in the percentage of ketone bodies in the blood is characteristic, so breathing, urine, and also cow's milk have a characteristic smell of acetone.


To correctly diagnose, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the nutrition of animals, as well as the conditions of their maintenance. You should know that even with the first manifestations of the disease, it is worth paying special attention to the quality of cow's milk.

Such a product will have a bitter aftertaste, a very thin layer of cream, as well as an almost complete absence of foam on the surface of the milk. A more accurate diagnosis can be obtained in the laboratory using an analysis of milk, urine or blood of an affected animal.

Often use the opportunity not to wait for a veterinarian and test results, but to carry out diagnostics directly on the farm. In this case, they resort to the Lestrade test - ammonium sulfate, sodium nitroprusside and anhydrous sodium carbonate are mixed in a ratio of 20: 1: 20 g.

10 ml of milk or urine is introduced into the resulting solution. If the permissible percentage of ketone bodies is exceeded in the animal’s body, the solution acquires a purple hue. Thus, it becomes possible to control all animals that are at risk of having this disease.

How to treat

Since the occurrence of ketosis has a number of reasons, its treatment is complex.

Nutrition correction

At the beginning of treatment, the main goal is to increase the level of glucose in the animal's body - this can be achieved only by correcting the diet of cows. It is necessary to remove concentrated feed from food and replace it with fresh grass and hay.

Important! Rotten, low-quality hay cannot act as a balanced diet.

Vegetables are also added to the food: beets, carrots, potatoes, turnips.

Drug treatment

To achieve quick results in therapy, it is also necessary to add medication treatment. A good effect is given by the introduction of an intravenous 40% glucose solution of 400 ml. To normalize the reproductive system and restore its mechanisms, adrenocorticotropic hormone is used, which is administered intramuscularly.

Homeopathic remedies are often used, for example, “Karsulen” - this medication helps the liver more actively process the protein entering the body (it is administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously at the rate of 1 ml per 100 kg of animal weight, but not more than 5 ml at a time).

To raise general immunity in cows, physiotherapeutic procedures are used, for example, quartz lamps - the irradiation zone is directed to the udder of the animal with a distance of 1 m. Such procedures are carried out every other day with a duration of not more than 10 minutes per day.

Folk remedies

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and the appointment of the right treatment. Very often, farmers have to cope with animal diseases on their own.

In such cases, instead of drugs or in combination with them, folk remedies are also used. Since the main cause of ketosis is the lack of glucose in the body, you can use the cows with sugar solution (400 g dissolved in 1 liter of water), followed by (after an hour) intramuscular administration of insulin.

Enema is also used based on water and baking soda (100-150 g of soda dissolved in 0.5 l of water) 2-3 times a day, or give the same solution as a drink.


The treatment of diseases in animals is time-consuming and troublesome, so ketosis is always better to prevent and prevent.

For this, livestock owners should adhere to the following rules:

  1. Cow nutrition should be balanced and quality, in which concentrated food should occupy only a small fraction of the total diet.
  2. To replenish energy in cows waiting for calving and immediately after it, the volume of feed should be doubled.
  3. Boxes containing animals must be spacious and clean.
  4. The animals should be provided with regular walking - such exercise helps to improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
  5. Constantly monitor the weight of the wards. Excess weight gain leads to many adverse consequences, one of which can be acetonemia.

Ketosis is a disease that takes a lot of time and energy to treat. Correct and quick diagnosis, as well as knowledge of the general methods of treatment, will help to identify the disease at an early stage, preventing it from developing into a chronic form.

But still, it should be remembered that the disease is easier to prevent than to treat - this will help the general recommendations for the prevention of ketosis, which will allow cattle owners to avoid large losses in their farms.

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