Cut displaced stomach risk…
TO REDUCE the risk of left-displaced abomasa, ensure fresh calvers eat well and dry cows do not lay down fat in winter.
Cumbrian vet Neil Frame of Frame and Swift, Penrith, warns that cows are at highest risk of left-displaced abomasa between seven and 14 days after calving and when silage quality is poor.
Tony Andrews suggests that left-displaced abomasa may be becoming more common, and a recent UK Vet report indicates a doubling of incidence in January, despite fewer calvings.
Mr Frame explains that after calving there is more space for the rumen. In summer this is filled with lush, fresh grass. But in winter, feed intakes are often low and the abomasum can slip under the rumen, disrupting digestion.
"Left-displaced abomasa do not cause a major economic loss. Most producers see one or two cases a year, so avoid spending too much time on prevention."
But avoid drops in appetite around calving by feeding palatable high fibre feed, and fatty liver syndrome, which occurs when dry cows put on weight, by drying off in the correct condition for calving. Dry cows should not be fed ad lib silage, as this provides too much energy, warns Mr Frame.
"Retained placentas and mastitis also seem to predispose cows to left-displaced abomasa, which rarely occurs on its own." Often cows suffering left-displaced abomasa are noticed for a retained placenta or metritis, but they are also off their feed.
In winter, Mr Frame believes operating is the most successful cure, because low intakes of silage cause the abomasum to displace again after a few days when treated by rolling. In summer, when cows are at grass, rolling tends to be sufficient, he adds.