Quebec Farmers' Advocate Volume Number June 15, 2019
Débora SantschiPh.D., Agr.

An increase in ketone bodies slows down reproductive performance.

 An increase in ketone bodies slows down reproductive performance.

This article was written in collaboration with YASMIN SCHUERMANN, Research Professional. 

The Lactanet laboratory, tests thousands of milk samples from individual cows daily to detect ketone bodies, which are indicators for ketosis. 

It’s common, it’s costly, and it’s a nuisance, but it can be monitored… It’s ketosis! This metabolic disease is characterized by elevated levels of b-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Typically, elevated BHB levels are present in animals that experience a high degree of fat mobilization, a consequence of calving at a body condition score above recommendation (3.0-3.25), and insulin resistant cows, namely those who consumed too much energy during their early dry period. This form of ketosis (Type II) begins during the dry period and progresses into early lactation. Less widespread is Type I ketosis, a disease observed in high-producing cows that lack nutritional energy in early lactation. It is important to address the fact that both types of ketosis can be subclinical or clinical. Ultimately, all ketotic cows are at an increased risk of suffering from other metabolic diseases including mastitis and displaced abomasum.