DRAMATIC increases in milk yields in recent decades have created challenges in terms of the dietary management of dairy herds. New feeding systems, which aim to satisfy the energy requirements of lactating cows, have implications for both rumen pH and microbial health - factors which ultimately impact on dairy cow health. Increasingly, it is being recognised that an imbalanced or inadequate diet, particularly with regard to its energy and long fibre content, can lead to subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) - an insidious, yet severe production-limiting condition, which is well defined in the USA and appears to be just as relevant in the UK. This article provides guidance for veterinary surgeons on working with their farmer clients to recognise SARA and manage the risk factors associated with the disease.
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