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ORT quick guide

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ORT Component Why does it matter? Recommended levels Rehydion
Na+ (mmol/l) Essential to normalise extra-cellular fluid losses. Can cause salt toxicity if ORT levels are too high 90-130 100
K+ (mmol/l) Essential to replace losses in faeces 10-30 23
Cl- (mmol/l) Essential to replace losses in faeces 40-80 48
Strong Ion Difference (SID)


Must be correct to successfully treat electrolyte imbalance and acidosis 60-80 75
Alkalising agent (mmol/l) Important to tackle excess D-lactic acid correct metabolic acidosis 50-80 81
Which alkalising agent? Acetate and propionate are preferred, over bicarbonate or citrate, because they:
  1. Enhance sodium absorption in calf small intestine
  2. Provide energy when metabolised
  3. Do not over-alkalise the abomasum which can increase the growth of E. coli and Salmonella spp.
  4. Have no impact on milk clotting
No to both
Energy (MJ/l) Important to prevent weight loss and delayed recoveryMilk is the best source of energy for scouring calves and lambs (2.52) and it also provides essential amino acids (e.g. glutamine) and nutrients to repair the gut lining Given with milk
Osmolarity (mOsm/L) A product with an osmolality greater than what is already present in the intestinal lumen could worsen diarrhoea. Effective osmolality

at the tip of the intestinal villus is about 600 mOsm/L

Hypertonic solutions are also known to slow abomasal emptying rates compared with isotonic solutions, thereby delaying plasma volume expansion.

<600 283
Form Ease of administration is a hugely important aspect of ORT to ensure compliance and therefore the best clinical outcomes Liquid

References for this table come from a range of sources11

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