Rumen acidosis

Attention! This is a potentially life-threatening condition for your Cow. Time is of the essence, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Rumen Acidosis

Grain Overload, Lactic Acidosis

Rumen acidosis is a gastrointestinal condition which occurs in cattle due to a lowered rumen pH. Cattle on forage-based diets have a normal rumen pH between 6-7. When it drops below 6, which is often the case when on grain-based, low-forage diets, it helps support the growth of lactic acid-producing bacteria leading to acidosis. The severity of the condition depends on the extent of the decrease in pH. A pH of less than 5.6 is associated with subacute, mild to moderate acidosis; where a pH of less than 5.2 is associated with an acute onset of severe acidosis. Acidosis is often associated with or leads to the development of laminitis, polioencephalomalacia, and liver abscesses.


Loss of appetite
Reduced or infrequent passage of manure
Lack of manure passage
Soft, gray and foamy feces


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam


Treatment TypeDetailsReference
ProbioticsAdministered orally
Healing of liver abscessesTylosin, virginiamycin or chlorotetracycline


  • Make any diet changes slowly, over a course of at least three weeks
  • Feeding of ionophores
  • Limit amount of feed offered
  • Increasing forage and reducing grain in diet
  • Direct fed microbial supplements


Prognosis depends on the severity

Article Reference

Risk Factors

  • Recently moved from pasture into feedlot with grain-based diet
  • High-grain diet
  • High intake of fermentable carbohydrates
  • High-starch feeds (usually corn-based)
  • Use of self-feeders

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