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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: METHODS FOR IMPROVING FEED EVALUATION FOR USE IN ENHANCING LACTATING DAIRY COW EFFICIENCY AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT Title: Productivity, digestion, and health responses to hindgut acidosis in ruminants

Authors
item Gressley, Tanya -
item Hall, Mary Beth
item Armentano, Louis -

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 22, 2010
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/54387
Citation: Gressley, T.F., Hall, M., Armentano, L.E. 2011. Productivity, digestion, and health responses to hindgut acidosis in ruminants. Journal of Animal Science. 89:1120-1130.

Interpretive Summary: When the rumen does not function properly and excessive amounts of undigested fermentable feed pass from it, hindgut acidosis may result. Hindgut acidosis describes the situation where the undigested feed ferments in the large intestine, and the production of excessive fermentation acids can cause damage and reduce the amount of nutrients a cow obtains from the diet. Some, but not excessive, hindgut fermentation is normal. This review describes what we know about hindgut acidosis: what leads to it and how it may be prevented, and the production and health consequences. This review was undertaken because hindgut fermentation impacts animal production and health, but it has received little research attention in recent decades.

Technical Abstract: The role of large intestinal or hindgut fermentation in ruminant nutrition has received little research attention in recent decades. Though the contribution of the hindgut to total tract nutrient digestion is substantially less than the contribution from the rumen, hindgut fermentation impacts animal production and health. In cattle, hindgut fermentation typically provides 5 to 10% of dietary energy, but certain conditions such as ruminal acidosis can lead to excessive carbohydrate fermentation in the hindgut and hindgut acidosis. The goals of this review are to describe typical hindgut fermentation, conditions that lead to excessive hindgut fermentation, and production and health consequences of hindgut acidosis. This review focuses primarily on cattle because most of our current understanding of the consequences of hindgut acidosis in ruminants has been derived from cattle studies.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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