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Abnormal phosphorus homeostasis occurs in dairy cows with an abomasal displacement or volvulus. The goal of this study was to identify potential mechanisms for hypophosphatemia and hyperphosphatemia in cows with a left displaced abomasum (LDA), right displaced abomasum (RDA), or abomasal volvulus (AV). Accordingly, the results of preoperative clinicopathologic analyses for 1,368 dairy cows with an LDA (n = 1,189), RDA, or AV (n = 179) (data set 1) and for 44 cows with an AV (data set 2) were retrieved. Laboratory values were compared by Student's t-tests, and correlation and regression analyses were performed. Thirty-four percent of the animals from data set 1 (463/1,368) were hypophosphatemic (serum phosphorus concentration ([Pi]) < 1.4 mmol/L), and 9% (122/1,368) were hyperphosphatemic ([Pi] >2.3 mmol/L). Serum [Pi] was significantly lower (P < .05) in cows with an LDA (1.60 +/- 0.53 mmol/L; mean +/- SD) than in cows with an RDA or AV (1.85 +/- 0.68 mmol/L). For cows with an LDA, [Pi] was correlated with serum urea nitrogen concentration ([SUN]) (r = 0.34) and serum concentration of magnesium ([Mg]) (r = 0.20). For cows with an RDA or AV, linear correlations existed between [Pi] and [SUN] (r = 0.45), [Mg] (r = 0.43), and serum chloride concentration ([Cl]) (r = -0.27). Stepwise logistic regression analysis indicated that low [SUN] and the diagnosis of an LDA had the strongest associations with hypophosphatemia. In cows with hyperphosphatemia, [Pi] was most strongly associated with azotemia. In cows with an AV, the strongest correlations with [Pi] were found for [SUN] and serum creatinine. We conclude that hypophosphatemia in cows with an LDA is primarily due to decreased feed intake. In contrast, hyperphosphatemia in cattle with an RDA or AV appears to result from dehydration and decreased renal blood flow.