What is ketosis and how does it occur?
Ketosis occurs when a cow is in negative energy balance, i.e. her energy expenditure outweighs what she is taking in. Cows are at high risk around calving due to increased energy demand starting milk production, combined with reduced feed intakes. When the cow is in negative energy balance, body fat is broken down to try and fill the energy gap. This leads to production of ketones such as beta-hydroxy-butyrate (BHB). If these are produced in excess we see issues associated with ketosis. A lot of the fat which is broken down travels to the liver. If fat mobilisation is high, the liver mechanisms get overwhelmed and fat ends up being stored there, leading to 'fatty liver.'
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