Fatty Liver Syndrome in Cattle
Fatty Liver Syndrome is a condition characterized by an accumulation of fat in a cow’s liver. The condition occurs when the cow breaks down too much fat for the liver to process properly, resulting in a negative energy balance. A fatty liver can develop within just 24 hours after the cow goes off of feed. This typically occurs around calving time. The concentration of fat will not fall until the cow gets back into a positive energy balance, which can take over ten weeks after calving.
Some of the symptoms of Fatty Liver Syndrome include:
- Reduced milk yields
- Lowered appetite
- Reduced fertility
- The development of other conditions, including ketosis, milk fever and retained fetal membranes
Without proper treatment, Fatty Liver Syndrome has a mortality rate of as high as 25 percent. The condition is treated with longterm IV infusion of glucagon, which is the only known treatment for the condition. Certain steps can also be taken to help prevent the condition, namely ensuring that the cows are calving at the correct body condition. The ideal body condition score is between 2.5 to 3 and the cow should be dried at the score with the weight maintained during the dry period in order to prevent Fatty Liver Syndrome.
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