Ketosis is a metabolic disease which occurs in any animal but usually occurs in dairy cows in early lactation as energy demands of the cow for milk production surpass the intake of energy. It is associated with cows that have a high demand for glucose and if fatty acids are being mobilised in association with a shortage of carbohydrates. If fat mobilisation is excessive, normal metabolism breaks down and end-products are ketones.


  • Dullness
  • Reduced rumen contractions
  • Off feed (possibly due to hypoglycemia)
  • Reduced milk production
  • Increased fat % in milk
  • Characteristic smell from breath, milk and urine


Maintain adequate energy intake:

  • Good quality forage.
  • Adequate quantity and quality of concentrates.
  • Palatable feed.

Have cows in proper body condition score at calving (3-3.5):

  • Over fat cows ⇒ reduced intake in early lactation.

Have management right to ensure no underfeeding of individual cows.