Smart Nutrition for a Healthy Transition™

Hypocalcemia, low blood calcium, is the most prevalent metabolic disease of the transition dairy cow, affecting greater than 50 percent of all fresh dairy cows. Addressing this disease through proper nutrition and management may result in cows that are healthier, more productive and more profitable. Animate® is a new generation anionic mineral that helps to optimize calcium metabolism in the pre- and post-partum transition cow and may help reduce the incidence and negative impact hypocalcemia has on health, milk production and fertility.

Animate Delivers

Animate nutritional specialty product delivers the proper minerals needed by the cow to help optimize calcium metabolism. When fed at rates to maintain urine pH from 5.5 to 6.0, beginning at least 21 days prior to calving, Animate helps to optimize calcium metabolism through proper prepartum compensated metabolic acidosis which may result in healthier, more productive dairy cows. Designed based on science, formulated based on research, manufactured to the highest standards, and proven through years of research and field experience, Animate is the superior choice for proper negative DCAD balancing.

A culture and a philosophy that enables us to exceed expectations. Our integrated platform of innovative technology, based on sound science, knowledgeable teams and proactive programs, provides an advanced approach to unsurpassed quality. Through development, continual evaluation and improvement, our program stays a step ahead of industry standards to provide a quality product you can count on.

Don't Just Do DCAD, Do DCAD Right!

The program is simple. Fully acidify the cows, track them once a week and the transition period will go smooth.

I always say that the cows won’t lie to you. So you see it cow performance. And again, healthier cows and higher performance.

I think there’s a lot of companies that profess to do DCAD in some form or fashion, but what we’ve learned at Phibro over the last eight to ten years is that we do do it right, because of the performance that we can measure within the cows, metabolic events, fresh cow events, peak milk.

Animate Nutritional Specialty Product:

• PALATABLE: readily consumed without significantly depressing prepartum dry matter intakes, leading to higher postpartum dry matter intakes and, ultimately, increased milk yield.

• CONCENTRATED: one of the most concentrated commercially manufactured anionic products on the market. When fed in a fully acidogenic prepartum diet (urine pH from 5.5 to 6.0), Animate feeding rates are typically half the rate of other anionic products. This allows for more ration space and easier diet formulation.

• COMPLETE: uniquely formulated to provide effective levels of chloride and sulfur, plus other key nutrients such as magnesium and phosphorus, which are necessary for a proper negative DCAD diet formulation.

Expert Columns

Learn more about hypocalcemia and prepartum negative DCAD diets from industry experts.


Watch videos about how to maximize your fully acidogenic negative DCAD diet.

Practical Application

Find practical information about feeding and managing a proper prepartum DCAD diet.

Download the app today to better track your dairy’s transition cow program!

By using the Animate App you are taking the next step to help monitor the performance of your prepartum DCAD diet. The Animate App is designed to help you track the factors
that impact transition cow performance, including ration DCAD, urine pH, bunk space,
stocking density, days in close up and other key parameters.

Set up and organize your dairy information
Enter data based on individual cow’s and farm details
View all data entered collectively by date.
View & track trends of your herd over time.

Click below to for the web application or to download the App today on your iOS or Android system

Listen to the Latest You Herd Right Podcast

Click on the links below to listen to the latest episode of You Herd Right

Don’t Just Take Our Word for It.

Thousands of producers have put their trust in Animate nutritional specialty product for the livelihood of their cows.

Research and field studies conducted over many years, shows Animate is effective in supporting transition cows. Dairy owners in North America and elsewhere certainly agree. We’re proud to share these examples of producers who have experienced the difference Animate makes.

Mike Meyer

Meyer Family Dairy, Loyal, WI

“During low milk prices, we do everything possible. Our target at that point in life is that our cows and our people do not know that the milk prices are low. We’ve used OmniGen approximately 10 or 12… years. The OmniGen seems to increase the health of the cow — and a healthy cow is still our best bet in low milk prices.”

Mike Meyer

Meyer Family Dairy, Loyal, WI

“During low milk prices, we do everything possible. Our target at that point in life is that our cows and our people do not know that the milk prices are low. We’ve used OmniGen approximately 10 or 12… years. The OmniGen seems to increase the health of the cow — and a healthy cow is still our best bet in low milk prices.”

Mike Meyer

Meyer Family Dairy, Loyal, WI

“During low milk prices, we do everything possible. Our target at that point in life is that our cows and our people do not know that the milk prices are low. We’ve used OmniGen approximately 10 or 12… years. The OmniGen seems to increase the health of the cow — and a healthy cow is still our best bet in low milk prices.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is hypocalcemia?
Hypocalcemia is a disorder in dairy cows caused by lower than normal blood calcium concentrations. There are two forms of the disorder, clinical and subclinical. Clinical hypocalcemia, more commonly referred to as clinical milk fever, is defined as a cow having a total blood calcium concentrations below 5.5 mg/dl. Subclinical hypocalcemia (SCH) is defined by a total blood calcium concentrations between 5.6 and 8.5 mg/dl.
Why are cows susceptible to hypocalcemia?
The sudden calcium requirement for milk production at calving places an enormous demand on the cow’s ability to maintain normal blood calcium concentrations. In addition, cationic dry cow diets (resulting mainly from feedstuffs containing high levels of potassium) can predispose the cow to hypocalcemia by reducing the effectiveness of the mechanisms the cow relies upon to balance her calcium status around the time of calving.
Why feed a negative dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) diet?
Regardless of age, all prepartum dairy cows are susceptible to hypocalcemia due to the rapid increase in calcium requirements at calving.  Cows which are hypocalcemic have increased odds of developing retained placentas, metritis, mastitis and displaced abomasums which can lead to reduced lactation milk yields and decreased fertility.  Feeding a negative DCAD diet to cows prior to calving helps reduce the risk of developing hypocalcemia.
What is a negative dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) diet?
A negative DCAD diet is a diet in which the milliequivalents supplied from chloride and sulfur is greater than the milliequivalents supplied from potassium and sodium.
How do negative DCAD diets work to reduce hypocalcemia?
Negative DCAD diets work by causing a mild, compensated metabolic acidosis. This is accomplished by feeding elevated levels of anionic minerals containing chloride and/or sulfur. The metabolic acidosis (lower blood pH), through the actions of parathyroid hormone and vitamin D, enhances the cows’ natural physiological mechanisms for maintaining normal blood calcium concentrations. These include dietary calcium uptake by the gut, bone release of stored calcium and urinary excretion of calcium.
Can I manage hypocalcemia without a negative DCAD diet?
While some nutritional feeding practices may help reduce the incidence of clinical milk fever (MF), those practices will have very little impact on the subclinical form of the disease.  Feeding a negative DCAD diet reduces the incidence of both forms of the disorder, milk fever and subclinical hypocalcemia.
Why worry about subclinical hypocalcemia (SCH)?
Cows affected by SCH are less productive and profitable, with an estimated cost to dairymen of approximately $125.00 per case. Since more cows are affected by SCH (> 50%) than MF (typically  < 5%), SCH has a larger negative impact on dairy profitability. (Oetzel, G.R. 2012. An update on hypocalcemia on dairy farms. Proceedings of Four-State Dairy Nutrition & Mgmt. Conf.)
How do I determine the level (incidence) of SCH in my herd?
The best approach is to test for serum total calcium by obtaining blood samples from fresh cows 48 hours post-calving (obtaining samples between 36 and 60 hours is acceptable). The test is fast, inexpensive and an effective method to determine the incidence rate of SCH in dairy herds.
What is my typical return on investment for a properly fed negative DCAD ration?
Estimates have shown that implementing a properly balanced negative DCAD diet may return greater than a 4 to 1 payback realized through reductions inmetabolic diseases, increased milk production and better reproductive performance.
How long do I need to feed a negative DCAD diet for it to be effective?
To achieve the maximum benefit from feeding a negative DCAD diet, cows should be fed the diet a minimum of 21 days prior to calving. However, feeding longer than 21 days is recommended for optimal results.
Is it safe to feed a negative DCAD diet for longer than 21 days prepartum?
Yes, and it may be better to do so. Studies have documented the safety and effectiveness of feeding a negative DCAD diet for up to 42 days prepartum, ideal for one-group dry cow programs.
What level of DCAD should I feed?
Prefresh diets should be formulated to provide between -10 to -15 mEq/100 g DM. Ultimately, monitoring urine pH will be the guide for determining if cows are properly (fully) acidified. Targeting a urine pH range between 5.5 and 6.0 will result in cows being fully acidified and in optimal calcium metabolism.
How do I determine if I am feeding the proper DCAD level or if the diet is being fed properly?
Testing urine pH of cows is an effective and practical way to monitor the level of acidification. Proper acidification will result in urine pH values between 5.5 and 6.0.  Urine pH will typically fall between these values when the DCAD of the prefresh diet is formulated to -10 to -15 mEq/100g.
When is the best time to monitor urine pH values?
The best time to test urine pH is between 6 to 9 hours post-feeding, as sampling time relative to time of feeding will impact urine pH values.
What macromineral levels should I balance for when feeding a prepartum negative DCAD diet?
Phibro recommends a properly balanced negative DCAD diet based on the nutrient specifications listed here.    
Why feed Animate®?
Animate is a thoroughly researched and field tested anionic mineral proven to help reduce the incidence of hypocalcemia which can have negative effects on health, production and fertility. Because it is highly palatable and readily consumed, Animate can be fed in a fully acidified program without significantly decreasing dry matter intake, an important consideration when choosing an anionic mineral product.
What makes Animate different from other anionic products/salts?
The proprietary manufacturing process used to make Animate, incorporates mineral salts into a carrier matrix, making Animate highly concentrated and palatable.
Why is palatability important?
Maintaining high dry matter intake during the close-up period has positive benefits to the cow both prior to and following calving. Choosing an anionic mineral product that is palatable helps to achieve high dry matter intakes during the close-up period.

To Learn More:

Contact your Dairy Advisor for more information.

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Product information on this site may not be applicable in all countries. For completed product information and approved uses please contact your local Phibro representative.