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Research article1990Peer reviewedOpen access

Fluid absorption from the rumen during rehydration in sheep

Dahlborn, Kristina; Holtenius, Kjell


Water movements across the rumen wall were studied during rehydration in four fistulated sheep. The animals were dehydrated for 48 h which increased total plasma protein, plasma osmolality, plasma Na+, arginine vasopressin and plasma renin activity. Two series of experiments were performed: Expt I with no food available during rehydration, and Expt II where the animals were fed hay. On the rehydration day, a fluid marker (cobalt‐EDTA) was administered into the rumen. To avoid water outflow from the rumen a stopper was inserted into the reticulo‐omasal orifice. When the animals were provided with water they immediately drank 9 l. The water offered contained the same marker concentration (Co2+) as in the rumen liquid. In Expt I, Co2+ concentration increased after drinking, and remained elevated until the stopper was removed. The highest value was obtained after 20 min, and this corresponded to at least a 11 water absorption in individual animals. In Expt II, the sheep immediately started to eat following drinking and the inflow of saliva caused a dilution of the marker. Plasma osmolality and Na+ concentration decreased in both experiments indicating that water absorption occurred in both experiments. Removal of the stopper did not cause any significant changes in the parameters measured. Vasopressin concentration fell immediately on the sight of water, and then continued to decrease. It is concluded that in the sheep, voluntary drinking is followed by an immediate and substantial absorption of water from the rumen.

Published in

Experimental Physiology
1990, Volume: 75, number: 1, pages: 5545

      SLU Authors

    • Dahlborn, Kristina

      • Department of Animal Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Holtenius, Kjell

        • Department of Animal Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Animal and Dairy Science

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)