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Position of the abomasum in dairy cows during the first six weeks after calving
  1. S. C. L. Van Wimden, DVM, MSc1,
  2. C. R. Brattinga, DVM, MSc2,
  3. K. E. Müller, DVM, PhD1,
  4. J. P. T. M. Noordhuizen, DVM, PhD1 and
  5. A. C. Beynen, MSc, PhD3
  1. 1 Department of Farm Animal Health, Ruminant Health Unit
  2. 2 Department of Animal Sciences, Animal Husbandry, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  3. 3 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.151, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands


The position of the abomasum in six cows was examined by ultrasonography at regular intervals for six weeks after they had calved. Its position was established by determining the distance between the margin of the left side of the abomasum and the ventral midline at two sites. During the last weeks of pregnancy, the abomasum was positioned in a small region of the left ventral side of the abdominal cavity. At parturition it was positioned high on the left side and then descended. The abomasum was furthest from the midline immediately after parturition. Its position was related to the interval after calving, the cow's feed intake, and the pH and osmotic pressure of the rumen fluid. There was considerable variation between the cows in the position of the abomasum, which was in part due to analytical variation, and in individual cows it had a circadian rhythm.

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