Sub-clinical Ketosis

Sub-clinical ketosis is high serum ketone body concentrations with no clinical signs. Subclinically affected cows are at increased risk of clinical ketosis and displaced abomasum and are also less fertile than those with normal serum ketone body concentrations.

Ketosis results from the excessive use of body fat and skeletal muscle to supply additional energy, most often in early lactation. It has multiple detrimental effects on health, production and reproduction including decreased six-week in-calf rate and milk production losses.

The cost of subclinical ketosis

This will be dependent upon your individual herd status but can be up to $5700 per 100 cows for a high prevalence herd. On a per-case basis, the cost of a single case is in the vicinity of $86 per case.

Detection of subclinical ketosis

These diseases are often referred to as sub-clinical due to the lack of obvious signs. To identify ketosis within a herd we can now provide a cow-side service that can give you a first-take assessment in under an hour.


This will generally involve reaching condition score targets prior to calving and nutrition post calving.  This is of course easier said than done, particularly when weather events can add an unknown dimension.  Rumensin® is a proven tool to assist in the prevention and control, and its use from 3 weeks pre-calving has been shown to produce results for both ketosis and milk production.

Do not let this be a silent killer on your farm. There are testing methods available that can quickly identify herd ketosis status. Contact Franklin Vets for ways to assess and control this deadly disease on your farm.