Rumen Fluid Analysis
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What is the most common reason we would do rumen fluid anaylsis?
indigestion (upset stomach, anorexia, etc)
What is transfaunation?
giving cows probiotics - put rumen contents from a health cow into a sick cow
What are the ways to get fluid from the rumen for analysis? Which one is preferred and why?
- percutaneous puncture on the left side
- stomach tube
- specialized devices
- stomach tubing is preferred because you get a better representative sample (get the chunky stuff)
What is the normal flora in a cows stomach?
What does the bacteria and protozoa in the stomach help do?
- fermentation of fiber to create energy
- insoluble fatty acids
How does protozoa help us when figuring out if something is wrong with the cow?
protozoa can be a good sentinel to the rumen health because they are the first to die if something is wrong so if we are analyzing the fluid and don't see any live protozoa then we know something is wrong
What is the main chemical parameter we measure of the fluid from the rumen?
What are the limitations of collecting fluid via percutaneous puncture?
only gets fluid, unable to get the chunky stuff to analyze
What kind of needle do we use for a percutaneous puncture?
18 gauge needle that is 3 - 4 inches long
Where do we do a percutaneous puncture?
lower third abdomen on left to obtain sample from the ventral rumen sac
How do we collect fluid from the rumen using a stomach tube?
- head restraint is key
- place speculum and tube into ventral rumen sac
- apply suction
- obtain sample or cap end of tube and remove
What do we need to be care we do not get in our fluid sample when using a stomach tube? How do we prevent this?
- cover the end of the tube with the cut finger tip off of exam glove
- as the tube slides through the mouth and into the stomach the exam glove tip protects the tube from saliva
- once the tube is in the stomach blow on the end of the tube and it will pop the finger tip off and the cow will just digest it
Why is it bad to contaminate the rumen fluid sample with saliva?
- dilutes the small sample
- artificially increases pH
What is the normal color of rumen fluid?
- olive or brownish green
- brownish yellow if on a grain diet
If the rumen fluid is a milky gray color, what does this mean?
things are rotting in the stomach and it is acidosis
If the rumen fluid is blackish green, then what does that mean?
GI stasis (things have been sitting in there awhile)
What is the normal consistency of rumen fluid?
What does it mean if the rumen fluid is thick and slimy?
If the rumen fluid smells sour what does that mean?
If the rumen fluid smells putrid what does that mean?
What is the normal pH of rumen fluid?
- pH 5.5 = concentrate (grain) diet
- pH 7.0 = roughage diet (nothing but hay)
- pH 5.5 - 7.0 = combination
- must know what diet the horse is on to know if their pH is normal
If the pH of rumen fluid is < 5.5 then what does this mean?
if the horse is not on a concentration diet then it means the rumen is acidosis
If the pH of rumen fluid is > 7.0 then what does this mean?
- salivary contamination
- urea toxicosis
What is urea toxicosis?
- some people give cattle urea (can be found as a by product of fertilizer) because the bugs in the rumen can turn the urea into protein and it is a cheap way to get protein in the cows diet since protein is expensive
- urea toxicosis means the cow has gotten too much urea in its diet
What are the two different types of microscopic exams can we do on rumen fluid?
- direct: place drop of unstained fluid on slide to watch protozoal activity
- cytology: gram stain slide to see gram negative bacterial organisms
At what pH do protozoa die off?
What magnification do we use to do a direct analysis?
low magnification (40 - 100x total mag)
What does an over abundance of grain lead to on a fluid analysis cytology?
abundance of gram positive organisms such as streptococcus and lactobacillus
Which tests are the most helpful when analyzing the rumen fluid?
pH and direct
How do we do a sedimentation flotation of rumen fluid?
- place contents in a clear tube (can use fecal tube) and let it sit
- do not need to centrifuge
- analyze the different layers: flotation zone (chunky stuff), fluid zone, fine particulate sediment zone
What does it mean if there is no chunky stuff on the top of a sediment floatation of rumen fluid?
the animal is anorexic because the chunky stuff indicates the cow has recently eaten and the food has not been digested yet
What are some other fluid analysis test of the rumen fluid that is done usually only in a research setting?
- redox potential
- chloride levels
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