Pregnancy toxaemia in beef cattle

Primefact cover sheet

Primefact Number:  335    Edition: Second edition    Released/reviewed:  01 Oct 2015

Pregnancy toxaemia (also known as fatty liver syndrome) is a form of ketosis, a disease that occurs when the breakdown products of fat, called ketones, build up in the brain and become toxic.

It is commonest in fat pregnant cows - especially those bearing twins - in times of falling feed quality or limited feed quantity. Many graziers find it hard to believe that fat cows can die from insufficient feed.

The disease can be readily prevented by management practices. 

Topics include:

  • cause of the disease
  • occurrence
  • clinical findings
  • post-mortem findings
  • diagnosis
  • treatment
  • prevention
  • supplementary feeding practices.
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