We are experiencing extensive backorders on products, including Vitamaster and Newcells – two commonly used products for ketotic or off-feed cows. We have stocked vitamin B12 for a few years now, but thought it would be a good idea to go over the benefits of using B12, especially when other similar products are not available.
Vitamin B12 plays a role in gluconeogenesis – or the production of glucose by the liver. This can be important to help correct negative energy balance and ketosis in fresh cows. The research has shown that some benefits of using Vitamin B12 as an adjunct treatment in dairy cows are:
Increased cure rates of ketosis
Increased milk production (especially in cows with low blood glucose)
Increased rumination after LDA surgery
The reasoning why B12 helps with low glucose cows is that these cows are likely suffering from fatty liver to some extent - which limits the liver’s ability to make energy. B12 acts to help stimulate this process in the liver and shows a particular benefit in this group of cows. We don’t routinely check glucose levels when examining a cow, but if one of our vets diagnoses fatty liver disease (usually during LDA surgery), B12 is usually prescribed for treatment.
Our Vitamin B12 product has a dose of 1 cc that can be given under the skin, in the muscle, or IV (mixed with dextrose). Our typical clinic protocol for ketosis treatment is 3-5 days of glycol along with Vitamin B12. Other additional benefits of Vitamin B12 include appetite stimulation and stimulation of red blood cell formation (good for parasite-related anemia in sheep and goats).