Monday, May 21, 2018

Electrolytes for dairy calves and Alkalizing Agents

In a summary Hoard's Dairyman article about calf electrolytes Geof Smith, D.V.M., recently discussed the role of alkalizing agents for raising blood pH.

He summarized the problem:
"The blood in virtually all calves with diarrhea becomes more acidic a the pH falls. This largely is responsible for the symptoms we see such as depression, loss of suckle reflect, inability to stand, and so forth."

In describing solutions to this problem he continued,
"Acetate, propionate, and bicarbonate are all considered alkalizing agents - meaning they work to raise the pH of the blood."

In his opinion, research shows considerable advantages to using acetate or propionate as alkalizing agents in calf electrolytes compared to bicarbonates.

He summarized by saying at the end of his comparison of three different agents,
"It is still critical that your oral electrolyte solution contain an alkalizing agent. ... Make sure the label of the oral electrolyte product you are using include either acetate or bicarbonate in the ingredient list."

A more general look at calf illness in this resource:
"What hits calves when ... Here's a look at the bacteria and viruses that affect our calves" by Robert Moeller, D.V. M.
Click Hoards Moeller or paste this URL in your browser

Reference: Geof Smith, "Choosing the right electrolyte." Hoard's Dairyman, April 10, 2018, p219

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