Milk Test for Ketosis in Dairy Cows1

Milk Test for Ketosis in Dairy Cows1,10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(59)90639-3,Journal of Dairy Science,L. H. Schultz,Margo Myers

Milk Test for Ketosis in Dairy Cows1   (Citations: 13)
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SUMMARY Twenty cows considered susceptible to ketosis were tested with a qualitative milk test for ketosis at weekly intervals for 4 wk. following calving. The results were com- pared with the quantitative levels of ketones in the blood and milk and the outward symptoms of ketosis. The milk test gave a conservative but accurate indication of the degree of ketosis. Fifty per cent of the cows maintained negative milk tests and showed no symptoms of ketosis. Forty per cent showed at least one mildly positive milk test, but did not require ketosis treatment. Ten per cent showed markedly positive milk tests and required treatment. There was a correlation coefficient of +0.87 between the blood and milk levels of the ketone fraction made up of acetoaeetic acid and acetone. A lower correlation coeffi- cient of +0.36 between the blood and milk levels of betahydroxybutyric acid could be attributed to utilization of this acid by the mammary gland. Total milk ketones were a little less than one-half the blood ketones. For many years, the Ross (12) urine test for ketone bodies has been used by veterinarians in the diagnosis of ketosis. The number of dairymen using it has increased in recent years. The test is useful in that a negative test rules out ketosis. However, interpretation of a positive test is difficult, since not all cows with positive tests require treatment (6). Use of this test by the dairyman may result in undue concern over the ketosis problem in his herd. A number of veterinary workers (1, 9, 11) have reported on the use of a modified Ross test on milk for the diagnosis of ketosis. These workers agreed that the milk test was less sensitive than the urine test and that a positive milk test was a more definite indication of the need for treatment than a positive urine test. However, doubt as to whether the milk test is sufficiently sensitive to pick up early ketosis appears to have limited its use in the field. A number of workers have made quantitative determinations of ketone bodies in milk (5, 8, 9, 10). Most of the reports give normal levels of total milk ketones of approximately 2.0 mg. (,;~. In general, milk levels have been reporte~ to be about one-half of the blood values, whereas the urine level exceeded the blood level by about four times (8). In ketosis, levels of total milk ketones as high as 42 mg. % have been reported (6). Levels of the beta-hydroxybuty ric acid fraction up to 6.3 rag. %, and the aeetoaeetie acid and acetone fraction up to 30.0 rag. %, have been reported (9). The purpose of this study was to determine the value of routine use of the qualitative milk test for ketosis by dairymen troubled with this disease, particu- larly from the standpoint of the sensitivity of the test in early borderline kctosis.
Journal: Journal of Dairy Science - J DAIRY SCI , vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 705-710, 1959
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