Invited review: Abomasal emptying in calves and its potential influence on gastrointestinal disease

Journal of Dairy Science
Johann BurgstallerGeof W Smith


Creating the ideal nutrition program for calves is a demanding task that has undergone tremendous change in recent years. Products and technologies including novel milk replacers and automated calf feeding systems have been developed to facilitate the ability of dairy producers to feed for higher growth rates before weaning. The creation of new feeding programs and milk replacers has to be looked at carefully, not only from a nutrition point of view but also from the perspective of a potential effect on physiologic digestion and calf health. Abomasal emptying is a critical factor that may link nutrition and disease. The purpose of this article is to review both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that are responsible for abomasal emptying. Predominant extrinsic factors controlling abomasal emptying include meal volume, energy density, and osmolality along with the content and source of protein. This article also reviews experimental methods used to measure abomasal emptying in the calf including those that would be appropriate for use under field conditions. Among these methods, the use of ultrasonography and different absorption tests (d-xylose, acetaminophen) as tools to measure abomasal emptying are discussed. The relationship b...Continue Reading


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