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AIM: To evaluate whether the different anionic salts used in the prevention of parturient paresis have an impact on the ruminal pH and the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) in mature non-pregnant, non-lactating cows.
METHODS: Eleven Holstein-Friesian crossbred cows were administered 2,000 mEq of either one of three chloride salts, viz CaCl2, MgCl2, or NH4Cl; four sulphate salts, viz CaSO4, CaSO4 with a grain size of 10 microm, MgSO4, or (NH4)2SO4; two combinations of anionic salts, viz CaCl2+MgSO4, or CaSO4+NH4Cl; NaCl; or water, via a ruminal cannula over a 14-day treatment period. The salts and controls were assigned in an 11 x 11 Latin square, and the cows were distributed randomly. Ruminal fluid was collected four times in each treatment period for monitoring the ruminal pH, and four times a day at Days 7 and 14 for monitoring any changes in the concentrations of SCFA.
RESULTS: Feeding anionic salts did not change the ruminal pH, total concentration of SCFA, or distribution pattern of the main SCFA acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid or valeric acid (p>0.05).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Feeding anionic salts has no negative side effect on the ruminal pH and concentrations of SCFA in mature non-pregnant, non-lactating cattle. Impaired function of the rumen due to the feeding of anionic salts is not likely.