Studies on the alimentary tract of the merino sheep in South Africa. XXI. The toxicity of urea to sheep under different conditions

02 Feb 2017

The dosing of urea into the rumen of sheep caused acute intoxication characterised by atony of the rumen, muscular spasms and sudden death due to circulatory failure. The toxicity of urea was found to depend on the activity of the ruminal flora, as determined by the basic diet, and the presence of available carbohydrate. Toxic symptoms after dosing urea were associated with the formation of ammonia and a high pH of the ruminal contents. They could be prevented or alleviated by the administration of acid.