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Ketosis occurs when there is deficiency of glucose. There is high incidence in high producing animals because they have negative energy balance as energy is utilized for milk synthesis. They require balanced diet for producing good milk. So whenever glucose is utilized in the form of lactose and no glucose available then hypoglycemia occurs. Then protein and fat of body will be utilized and there will be formation of ketone bodies. There are three types of ketone bodies: acetoacetic acid, β hydroxy butyric acid, and acetone. These produce ketonemia and ketouria. Normal ketogenic and glucogenic ratio is equal. In ketosis ketogenic acids are 4 times higher than propionic acid.

Huge shift of energy from dam to offspring occurs after parturition and animal goes in negative energy balance. Adrenal gland disfunction leads to deficiency of glucose due to lack of glucocorticosteroids and cortisole. Hypothyroidism leads to increased metabolism of glucose, protein and fat causing hypoglycemia and ultimately ketosis. Hay and silage also have ability to produce VFAs but hay is less ketogenic and silage is more. Silage contains more butyric acid. Starvation also leads to ketosis.


Predisposing Factors of Primary Ketosis:

  • Animal fed inadequate rations

  • Some nutritional deficiency of soil

  • Genetics

  • Deficiency of TDN

  • Deficiency of vitamin B12

Predisposing Factors of Secondary ketosis:

  • Right after disease

  • Metritis

  • Off feed

  • Any disease in which fever act for long time can provide condition

Clinical Findings:

Wasting Form:

  • It is the most common form

  • It is manifested by moderate decrease in diet

  • Milk yield low for 2-4 days. 25 % loss in milk production  

  • Refuse silage but accept hay and then totally deprived of hay

  • Rapid loss in body weight

  • Body coat becomes thin

  • Due to loss of subcutaneous fat there is no elasticity

  • Zero subcutaneous fat may occur and you can name it as woody appearance

  • Feaces are firm and dry

  • Utilization of body protein and fat.

  • Animal may have constipation

  • Cow is depressed and gives appearance of hang lock, hypoglycemia is the cause of it

  • Cow is unable to move and cannot eat properly

  • Temperature and respiration are normal but have low ruminal movements

  • In wasting form mild type of nervous signs may found in some cases like staggering gait and partial blindness.

Nervous form:

  • Animal walk in circle

  • May cross its legs

  • Head pushing

  • Apparent blindness

  • Animal move aimlessly and may wander

  • Licking of skin and inaminate objects (pica)

  • Loss of appetite, chewing movement with salivation

  • Animal may be off feed but still chew with salivation

  • Hyperesthesia (animal may become excited)

  • Ballowing

  • Muscle tremor

  • Tetany

  • Incoordinated gait

  • Nervous signs last for 2 hours and after that become normal and reoccur after 8-10 hours of first onset. During this cow may injure itself by falling on ground.


  • It is based on clinical findings.

  • Kit is available. There are strips available in the form of Rhoter’s reagent. Normal color is yellow; if changed to red, ketosis.

  • Weight loss, fall in glucose level indicates ketosis. In secondary ketosis there is abomasal displacement, partial anorexia and less feaces.

  • In suclinical ketosis Ketone bodies are 20-40 mg/dl. In clinical ketosis, ketone bodies upto 100 mg/dl.


  • 500 g/litre of N.S or ringer lactate.

  • Glycerin (oral) 220 g/day for two days

  • NaHCO3 or ringer to lessen acidosis.


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