This is not tick born gall sickness but rather a nutritional disease. Roughage is an essential part of a ruminant’s diet, good quality being of utmost importance. Once the veld conditions are poor at the end of the growth season the pasture becomes indigestible. This leads to an accumulation of dry material in the rumen which passes through to the omasum (“blaarpens”). There water is withdrawn and the dry material cannot pass through, leading to omasal impaction. Once there is a total blockage the animal develops abdominal pain, a thin watery diarrhoea or hard dry faeces in rectum, hunger and thirst.
There is unfortunately a point of no return when the impaction is so large and hard that no treatment works anymore and the animal dies. Usually ones first encounter with this is an apparently healthy but dead cow.
Once a diagnosis has been made, usually by post mortem, a treatment regime and prevention can be implemented. Early signs are simply signs of abdominal discomfort, thin watery diarrhoea, excessive thirst; sometimes animals loose weight, sometimes they just die.
The prevention lies in the changing of the digestive balance. High energy and protein can be provided in winter licks. This corrects the rumen ph (starch fermentation) and encourages the growth of the desired digestive bacteria.
This is only effective in the early stages. Dosing a combination of vinegar and brown sugar is very effective. Some people add yeast or brewers yeast. This feeds the bacteria in the rumen and encourages more effective digestion. Ready to use products such as Rumix or Kyrogest Forte are very effective and easy to use.