Subacute ruminal acidosis: prevalence and risk factors in Greek dairy herds

Document Type: Full paper (Original article)

Authors

1 MSc Student in Ruminants’ Medicine, Clinic of Farm Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Stavrou Voutyra 11, 54627, Thessaloniki, Greece

2 Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, BOX 393, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece

3 Clinic of Farm Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Stavrou Voutyra 11, 54627, Thessaloniki, Greece

Abstract

Subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) represents one of the most important metabolic subclinical disorders
of high producing dairy cows, having serious impact in both animal health and herd profitability. The aim of
this study was to confirm the presence of SARA in Greek dairy herds and record its prevalence and risk
factors. Ruminal fluid samples, via rumenocentesis, were obtained from a total of 153 Holstein dairy cows,
from 12 herds (≥12 cows per herd). Rumen pH was measured on-site with a portable pH-meter in order to
establish a SARA diagnosis. Almost sixteen percent (24/153) of the sampled cows were found with rumen
pH ≤5.5, which is indicative of SARA. Thirty three percent (4/12) of the herds were SARA-positive, 8.33%
(1/12) of the herds were SARA-marginal, and 58.33% (7/12) were SARA-negative. Number of lactating cow
groups, order in which the feeds were added into the mixing wagon, particle length size, ration composition,
housing type (free stall or bedded pack) and stocking density significantly influenced the presence of SARA.

Keywords