Abomasal impaction in Holstein-Friesian cows: 80 Cases (1980-2003)

Thomas Wittek, Peter D. Constable, Dawn E. Morin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective - To determine clinical examination findings, clinicopathologic abnormalities, and outcome of treatment in dairy cattle with abomasal impaction. Design - Retrospective study. Animals -80 lactating Holstein-Friesian cows ≥ 2 years old. Procedure - Medical records of cattle with abomasal impaction admitted between 1980 and 2003 were retrieved, and data were extracted. Results - All cows were reported to have decreased food intake; concurrent diseases were identified in 54 (68%). Seventeen cows did not have detectable ruminal motility, but physical examination findings were nonspecific and variable. In general, cattle had mild hypocalcemia, hyperbilirubinemia, and hyperglycemia, but serum potassium and chloride concentrations were typically within reference limits. Fifty-five (69%) cattle had impaction of the pyloric antrum alone, and 25 (31%) had impaction of the abomasal body and pyloric antrum. Right flank laparotomy and abomasal massage were performed in 73 cattle. After surgery, 54 (74%) cattle received 3 to 4 L of mineral oil, PO, daily for 1 to 5 days. Short-term (ie, discharged from the hospital) survival rate was significantly higher for cows with impaction of the pyloric antrum alone (42/45 [93%]) than for cows with impaction of the body and antrum (12/24 [50%]). Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Results suggest that physical examination findings and results of serum biochemical analyses do not facilitate the diagnosis of abomasal impaction in lactating Holstein cows and that exploratory right flank laparotomy is necessary to make the diagnosis. Abomasal impaction should be considered as a differential diagnosis for inappetence and poor milk production in lactating dairy cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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