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Clinical and laboratory findings, treatment and outcome in 145 cows with type-2 abomasal ulcer

Braun, Ueli, Gerspach, Christian, Nuss, Karl, Hässig, Michael, Hilbe, Monika, Reif, Christina
Research in veterinary science 2019 v.124 pp. 366-374
acidosis, anorexia, ascorbic acid, blood, blood proteins, blood transfusion, calcium, cows, displaced abomasum, glucose, heart rate, hematocrit, hemorrhage, hypoproteinemia, laparotomy, mucosa, rumen, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), sodium chloride, tachycardia
This study involved 145 cows with type-2 abomasal ulcer. The most common clinical signs were, in decreasing order of frequency, depressed demeanour (100%), partial or complete anorexia (93%), rumen atony (91%), tachycardia (90%), dark or black manure (80%), prolonged capillary refill time (71%), pale mucous membranes (69%) and tachypnoea (62%). The most common abnormal laboratory findings were azotaemia (89%), low haematocrit (82%), hypokalaemia (81%), hypoproteinaemia (74%) and metabolic acidosis (61%). Ten cows were euthanased immediately after, or died during, the initial examination, and treatment was started (day 0) in 135 cows. Treatment included blood transfusion, sodium chloride/glucose solution, calcium borogluconate, vitamin C and metamizole. Fourteen cows also underwent right-flank laparotomy because of displaced abomasum (n = 7) or to rule out other causes of gastrointestinal haemorrhage (n = 7). The mean heart rate decreased significantly from 108 bpm on day 0 to 88 bpm on day 3. The haematocrit decreased significantly in cows that did not receive blood and increased significantly in the transfused cows during this period. The plasma protein concentration also increased significantly in transfused cows. Ninety-one (67%) of the 135 treated cows recovered and were discharged after a mean hospitalisation period of nine days, and 44 cows (33%) failed to respond to treatment and were euthanased or died. Aggressive treatment, which should include blood transfusion when indicated, is warranted in valuable cows because >50% can be expected to return to full production in the long term.