Recently we have been bringing you monthly blog posts focusing on animal health written by very knowledgeable VirtualVet team. This month the blog focuses on a matter particularly relevant to eCow, including how the eCow bolus can be used to detect SARA.

We spotted this detailed and practical article advising about general feed and animal management to help prevent subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) in this week’s Farmer’s Weekly South Africa. Both this article and eCow’s research give accurate descriptions of SARA, a condition which often doesn’t produce many visible symptoms, can have a significant long-term and negative effect on herd health and productivity.  

“However, cows suffering from SARA first need to be identified, and this can be challenging as the clinical symptoms are often not obvious.” Dr Chris van Dijk, Milk Producers’ Organisation CEO and specialist vet

While the article describes several external observations, such as the monitoring milk composition, manure and dry matter intake, that can be used to determine the presence of SARA. In addition to this the practice of rumenocentesis is still commonly used. Not only can this practice detrimental to the cows health and productivity, it is also unreliable as it only provides the smallest snapshot of the dynamic and constantly changing rumen. Therefore we believe that the continual, internal measurement of the reticulo-rumen provides the best way to accurately detect SARA without compromising the animals health. 

This is where eCow comes in, the eCow bolus is a wireless telemetric device swallowed by the cow which provides continuous and accurate measurements of reticulum temperature and pH. To provide a detailed profile of the reticulum pH and temperature 96 data points are recorded each day, allowing even the smallest changes in the reticulum’s environment to be mapped and the risk of SARA to be determined quickly. The practitioner can then adapt the ration composition, mixing, feeding, and management practices appropriately. An important feature of the eCow bolus is it’s longevity, by allowing continual monitoring for up to 150 days the impact of dietary changes on reticulum pH can also be monitored.

An example of data from an eCow bolus where the cow is showing symptoms of SARA.

The eCow bolus has now successfully been used for 10 years by both farmers, veterinarians and researchers all over the world. From both customer feedback and publications in prominent scientific journals it is clear that the eCow bolus is leading the way in the modern detection of SARA. Contact us today for a quote, or to discuss how we might assist your herd monitoring.