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Rumen Motility During Induced Hyper- and Hypocalcaemia


Rumen motility was recorded on an experimental cow by means of telemetrie signal transfer from strain gauge force transducers fixed surgically on the peritoneal surface of the rumen wall in the left flank. The normocalcaemic cow was given a standard milk fever treatment with calcium borogluconate (400 ml with 14 mg Ca/ml) intravenously. Transient clinical signs were: decreased rumination, muscle ticks, salivation and a heart rate reduction of 20%. Rectal temperature remained unaltered. Frequency of rumen con-tractions was reduced up to 40% whereas amplitude of contractions did not deviate from baseline values. Hypocalcaemia was induced in a second experiment by iv infusion of Na2EDTA. At 0.60 mmol/1 ionized blood calcium periods of no motility were recorded whereas inactivity of rumen activity was persistent at 0.55 mmol/1 ionized blood cal-cium. The cow went down at 0.45-0.48 mmol/1 ionized blood calcium at which point the heart rate was increased by 40%. The high sensitivity of the method employed allowed the conclusion that already at a concentration of ionized blood calcium at 1.0 mmol/1 both frequency and amplitude of rumen contractions decreased rapidly although eating behaviour and rumination appeared unaffected during the short term observation peri-ods. Implications of this finding towards health and production in transition cows are discussed.


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This study was supported by the Danish Agricultural and Veterinary Research Council (grant no. 9600949).

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Correspondence to R. J. Jorgensen.

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Jorgensen, R.J., Nyengaard, N.R., Ham, S. et al. Rumen Motility During Induced Hyper- and Hypocalcaemia. Acta Vet Scand 39, 331–338 (1998).

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  • ionized blood calcium
  • EDTA-infusion
  • telemetrie measurement