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Can J Comp Med. 1984 Jan;48(1):1-5.

Subclinical ketosis: prevalence and associations with production and disease.


Cows in 32 southern Ontario Holstein herds were monitored for subclinical ketosis for a period of two and one half years. Milk samples were routinely collected and the level of milk ketone bodies determined by the use of a commercial nitroprusside based test powder (reactions scored as negative, +1 or +2). Approximately 92% of positive reactions were observed in the first 65 days of lactation and for that time period the prevalence of ketosis was 12.1%. Based on this prevalence, the minimum possible duration of subclinical ketosis would be 7.9 days and the minimum possible lactational incidence rate would be 12.1%. The prevalence during the first 65 days of lactation in individual herds ranged from 0 to 33.9%. Subclinical ketosis was more likely to be found in cows experiencing metritis than in unaffected cows. Detection of elevated levels of milk ketones also indicated that the cow had a significantly higher risk of having clinical ketosis, metritis or cystic ovaries diagnosed within the following four days. Milk ketone scores of +1 and +2 were found to be associated with a reduction in daily milk production of 1.0 and 1.4 kg of milk respectively.

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