Agronomy and Horticulture, Department of


Date of this Version

Summer 10-16-2017




The bovine stomach normally produces gases such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane. However when these gases become trapped in the bovine stomach because of a thick, frothy or foamy liquid it is called bloat. Cattle bloat is a very old condition and goes by many names but is primarily trapped gas within the bovine stomach. Readily digested feedstuff such as highly processed grain diets or an overabundance of fresh immature alfalfa often leads to a vast amount of small particles and carbohydrates in the rumen; this is the major cause of foamy bloat. Severe bloat causes death by suffocation within 2 to 4 hours since the rumen compresses the diaphragm.