Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Published in 2009 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report (Lincoln, NE: December, 2008). Copyright © 2008 The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.


Data from a finishing trial and a metabolism study were used to relate incidence of polioencephalomalacia (polio) with ruminal hydrogen sulfide gas concentration. The finishing trial included different inclusion levels of byproducts with differing alfalfa hay levels. Similar diets were used in the metabolism study. The feedlot trial had 12 cases of polio on a 75% byproduct diet with no alfalfa and no cases of polio when alfalfa was included at 7.5%. The metabolism study reported the highest concentration of H2S with the high byproduct diet with no grass hay, and lower concentrations when grass hay was included. These data would indicate that forage inclusion can reduce the risk of polio and that polio is related to ruminal H2S concentrations.