Acidosis is similar to enterotoxemia, and many people confuse the two. Acidosis is an acute founder usually associated with high-grain diets. Excessive ingestion of feeds rich in starch or sugars, such as any of the grains, result in large quantities of acid being produced in the rumen. Affected animals typically die fast and decompose rapidly. Only an autopsy can definitely establish whether death is due to acidosis or enterotoxemia.
In feedlots, lambs may sort the feed in a self-feeder unless it is processed to prevent sorting. In these situations, acidosis can develop when lambs eat large quantities of concentrates and do not consume enough roughage. A sudden change in grain processing or improper mixing can initiate an outbreak of acidosis. Treatment is seldom effective. Prevention lies in a sound nutrition management program.