Spring Pasture Bloat Prevention and Cures

This article comes to us from Ron Lemenager1, Allen Bridges1, Matt Claeys1, and Keith Johnson2, Purdue University Departments of Animal Sciences1 and Agronomy2. Bloat is a digestive disorder characterized by an accumulation of gas in the first two compartments of a ruminant's stomach (the rumen and reticulum).  Production of gas (primarily carbon dioxide and methane) is a normal result of rumen fermentation.  These gases are usually discharged by belching (eructation) but, if the animal’s ability to release these gases is impaired, pressure builds in the reticulum and rumen and bloat occurs.  Pasture, or “frothy” bloat, results from the production of a stable foam and if not relieved, the pressure created by the entrapment of rumen fermentation gases in the foam can lead to death by suffocation in as little as one hour or less. Bloat can occur on any lush forage that is low in fiber and highly digestible, but is most common on immature legume (clover and alfalfa) pastures. Bloat can occur after as little as 15 minutes to 1 hour after they are turned out to a bloat-producing pasture. However, there is often a lag of 24 to 48 hours before bloating occurs in cattle that have been placed on a bloat-producing pasture for the first time.  They may become bloated on the first day, but it is more common to see bloat on the second or third day.  Often the animal bloats only

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2 thoughts on “Spring Pasture Bloat Prevention and Cures

  1. The only bloat I’ve seen in my few cows was caused by me, sadly. I was feeding cull potatoes and didn’t chop them. The neighbour who solved it had did know “something farmers never tell you” and it came to him from a farmer who did, his dad. Don’t feed cull potatoes because those small round ones are hard to chew and may pass whole into one place or another. Said cow is now 11 years old and healthy as can be but she almost died because I was so ignorant.

  2. I discovered an accupuncture point to relieve bloat. Its a point that the Chinese associated with the ruman.

    On a bloated animal is is very easy to find: it is on the third rib from the back on the left side of the cow; towards the top of the rib. It will feel like a raised dimple, it will be larger the worse the bloat is. It can get as big as a quarter and three times as thick.

    Just rub it with your fingers until you feel the point depress or she starts belching. It has worked on every animal I’ve tried including ones on the ground immobile.

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