Acidosis (Grain Overload)

Over consumption of, or unaccustomed access to, high risk grain such as wheat or barley.


• Signs occur within 24-36 hours of changing to a grain rich diet.

• Mildly affected sheep may have diarrhoea but continue to eat.

• More severely affected sheep may stop eating, be tender footed, get up and down frequently, spend more time than usual lying down and grind their teeth.

• Some affected sheep die over 2-3 days and others slowly recover.

• Those that recover are often chronically lame (laminitis).


• History of eating high risk grain without being acclimatised, clinical signs and post mortem findings.

• On post mortem, damage to the rumen wall may be seen.


• Remove animals from grain, feed good quality hay and provide access to water.

• Treat with sodium bicarbonate (bicarb soda) at a dose of 10g/sheep.


• Gradual introduction of high risk grains into the diet

• Make sure sheep cannot get sudden access to a pile of grain.

Main Picture by: Dun Eideann Flock  

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