Ontario-based veterinarian Wayne Shewfelt has highlighted the importance for farmers and practising vets to recognise the very negative impact of sub clinical ketosis on freshly calved dairy cow performance.

Speaking at an Elanco-hosted meeting, held recently in Thurles, he confirmed that the metabolic disorder is at the very heart of a complex series of interactions which can lead to a number of important production and health related disorders, including retained placentas, LDAs and a significantly reduced immunity to many diseases.

“Clinical symptoms represent the very small tip of a very large ketosis iceberg,” he stressed.

“It is, therefore, vitally important to test for subclinical ketosis in cases of reduced fresh cow performance and the development of what are most likely to be ketosis-related post calving, health disorders.”

Research has confirmed that Ketosis can result, on average, in milk losses of around 350-500 litres per cow per lactation. The cost of production losses and disease related consequential losses due to subclinical ketosis has been estimated to range from €300 to €600 per case.

Wayne Shewfelt continued: “The development of the new Keto-Test® by Elanco allows the immediate identification of the metabolic disorder using milk stripped from individual cows. Both high risk herds and individual high risk cows can be identified using the test, which I use routinely as part of the service available to my dairy farming clients.

As Wayne Shewfelt went on to point out, identifying the challenge of ketosis is only stage one of a two step process. Treating the problem is the other piece of the jigsaw puzzle. And, here again, Elanco has made significant strides with the recent launch of Kexxtone, a new bolus for veterinary use only.

The new product ensures a continuous and regular release of the active ingredient into the rumen, which forms a gel when exposed to rumen fluid. This gel is progressively released into the rumen by a pressure sensitive spring in the device. The active ingredient shifts the microbial balance in the rumen to increase glucose delivery, ultimately increasing the energy available to the cow. This buffers dairy cows against the tendency to drop into negative energy balance during the transition period around calving and early lactation.

“The Kexxtone bolus has worked well under Canadian conditions,” Wayne Shewfelt confirmed.

“And I see no reason why it cannot deliver in a similar manner here in Ireland. There is no doubt that sub clinical ketosis has been significantly reducing the production potential of many dairy herds. The good news is that Kexxtone an effective way of getting to grips with this challenge.”