Author(s): Gentile A, Sconza S, Lorenz I, Otranto G, Rademacher G,
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Abstract In order to test the hypothesis that ruminal drinking in calves can lead to D-lactic metabolic acidosis, ruminal acidosis was induced in nine calves by intraruminal application of untreated whole milk via a stomach tube. The amount of the daily force-fed liquid was 3 x 1 l. The experimental design called for an end of intraruminal applications if two or more of the following signs were observed: severe depression, estimated degree of dehydration >10\%, absence of sucking reflex, lack of appetite for two consecutive feedings, severe metabolic acidosis with calculated Actual Base Excess (ABE) <-15 mmol/l. The procedure was scheduled to be discontinued on the 17th day of experiment. The onset of ruminal acidification occurred rapidly, and mean pH value fell from 6.70 (+/-0.48) to 4.90 (+/-0.38) after the first application. The following days the pH values varied between 4 and 5. Rumen acidity was characterized biochemically by a significant increase in both isomers of lactic acid. The effects of the intraruminal administration on the calves were detrimental; eight of nine calves showed an acute disease process. According to the pre-established clinical standard, seven of nine calves were removed from the intraruminal feeding schedule. All but one of the calves developed severe systemic acidosis. The increase in anion gap demonstrated the net acid load. In all the calves D-lactate levels were found to show a significant and rapid increase. On the contrary, L-lactate never deviated from physiological levels. These observations confirm that, in young calves as in adult cattle, ruminal acidosis may lead to a clinically manifested D-lactic metabolic acidosis.
This article was published in J Vet Med A Physiol Pathol Clin Med
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology