Veterinary Record 172:529 doi:10.1136/vr.101468
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Clinical and biochemical consequences of soybean meal intoxication in cattle

  1. F. Schelcher, DVM, PhD, Dip ECBHM
  1. Université de Toulouse, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire, INP-ENVT, 23 chemin des Capelles, Toulouse F-31076, Cedex 3, France
  1. Email for correspondence: d.raboisson{at}

A 2 per cent bodyweight acute soybean meal (SBM) intoxication was recently described in steers (Raboisson and others 2012). It induced a decrease in ruminal pH followed by an increase in ruminal ammonia, and blood metabolic alkalosis with hyperuraemia, severe hyperammonaemia and hyperglycaemia. This report describes the epidemiology, clinical signs (CS) and biochemical modifications observed during accidental SBM intoxication.

Thirty-nine Holstein cows were housed in loose yarding with a straw lying area. Mean annual and daily production was around 7000 and 25 litres of milk per cow, respectively. The diet consisted of corn silage, SBM and commercial concentrates. One tonne of SBM was accidently poured on the straw area (25 kg per cow on average) between 14:00 and 18:00 on day 0 (D0). During the evening, the farmer administered 300–400 g of NaHCO3 powder orally, once, to cows 1–5.

Cows 1–3 died during the night D0–D1 (Table 1). In the morning (D1), CS were severe in cow 6 and moderate in cows 4, 5 and 7–14. The other 25 cows had no CS at this time. Sternal or lateral recumbency was noted in cows 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Others were lying down (n=6/11) and standing easily (n=4/6) or with difficulty and titubating (n=2/6). Hypersensitivity to noise and touch (n=11/11), dullness (n=2/11), watchfulness (n=2/11) and aggressiveness (n=3/11) were observed. Cows showed …

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