Prevent "leaky gut" to avoid systemic immune activation during transition of dairy cows
During the transition to lactation, dairy cows have to undergo three core physiological adaptations, metabolic adaptation, digestive adaptation and immune adaptation1,2,3,4. Recent advances in ruminant nutrition highlight the importance of hindgut health as a prerequisite for a smooth digestive adaptation. Eexcessive carbohydrate fermentation in the hindgut has been shown to have a negative impact on health and performance of dairy cows5. Risk factors for ruminal acidosis also increase the risk for dairy cows to develop hindgut acidosis. Both disorders often occur at the same time. Symptoms traditionally associated with rumen acidosis, such as loose and frothy faeces with mucin casts could in fact very well be symptoms of hindgut acidosis6 (See figure 1). In dairy cows with hindgut acidosis, the gastrointestinal microbiota can be harmed, absorption can be impaired, leading to a reduction of nutrient utilisation and the barrier function of the gastrointestinal epithelium can be disturbed, a phenomenon referred to as “leaky gut”.