Methods of Treatment
Once the diagnosis of displaced abomasum has been established, it is important to treat it as early as possible to avoid stomach ulceration and complications caused by associated secondary acetonaemia/ketosis.
Early surgical treatment with well-balanced fluid therapy is recommended as carrying a better prognosis, but in some cases the condition may be relieved by rolling and exercise.
Before undertaking surgical correction, a thorough clinical examination should be performed to enable a better estimate of the prognosis. In spite of the high cost of surgical therapy, it should be attempted, as the prognosis is reasonable and the only alternative is emergency slaughter on the farm. Surgical treatment of left sided abomasal carries a better prognosis for recovery compared to right sided abomasal
The Condition and Welfare
The condition is distressing, painful and life-threatening to cattle, and should be prevented by good feeding and management of housed cows during dry period and early lactation. In an outbreak, every effort should be made to establish the cause of the disease and to correct management and feeding accordingly.
Sporadic cases should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as a diagnosis has been established. Surgical treatment should not be delayed if conventional therapy fails.
Cows with ketosis/acetonaemia that do not respond to normal treatment should be checked by a veterinarian to rule out the possibility of a secondary ketosis due to displaced abomasum.
Good Practice based on Current Knowledge
On an established organic farm with milk yields below 6500 kg and the forage part of the diet above 60% of the dry matter intake, abomasal displacement is an unlikely problem.
Good practice in preventing abomasal diseases needs to concentrate on dry cow management and – where root crops are fed in large quantities – on ensuring that soil contamination of the fodder is not excessive.
Specify measures for transition cow management in the herd health plan, preferably including advice from the farm’s veterinary surgeon.
- Provide an adequate amount of long fibre forage – preferably hay – during the dry period and avoid large quantities of maize silage as the main forage.
- Introduce concentrates gradually, starting two weeks before calving, up to 2 kg/cow by calving date.
- Do not attempt to “steam up” the cows before calving or “peak” them after calving.
- Provide an adequate amount of energy-rich carbohydrates immediately after calving.
- If fodder beet is heavily soiled, wash it before including it in the diet.
If the farm has experienced recurring outbreaks or repeated sporadic cases during recent housing periods, it would be advisable to incorporate guidelines for prompt treatment and control into an Animal Health Plan including advice from the veterinary surgeon. Identification and exclusion of the predisposing feeding and management practices should be included in the conversion plan
Guidelines on the Disease during the Conversion Period
There are no particular measures necessary for the conversion period or an Animal Health Plan if the farm has not suffered from the condition recently or at all.