Milk fever?

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
baileyl
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Milk fever?

Postby baileyl » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:38 pm

Got a cow that calved sunday. She became disoriented today and very unsteady. Gave her 300ml of calcium and mag paste. Two hours later she was up {very shaky} and calf nursed. Question- What does she need as followup and from your experiences- what should I expect? How common and will she pull thru it?
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Postby Farminlund » Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:40 pm

I would guess it's milk fever, like you suspect. Has she been on a high calcium intake prior to calving? - that is one reason for milk fever in beef cattle as their milk output quantity is not usually the cause for this ailment as it is the dairy breeds. Her bone teardown process required to produce the increased calcium levels required by lactation is not fully working at this time, likely due to going dormant due to an excess intake of calcium. Calcium supplements will likely be necessary until she stabilizes her internal manufacturing process. I think there is a paste that can be administered orally. I remember a post by med24 that indicated he used such a product when his cow got milk fever - do a search on milk fever. She should recover with proper dosages of calcium - I would think only administer if if she continues to be unsteady, otherwise you might just keep the bone tear down process dormant.
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Postby milkmaid » Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:52 pm

If she was down with milk fever, and all you gave her was oral paste, I'd repeat the paste 12-24 hours later...esp if she still appears unsteady. What type of paste do you have? We use the CMPK gel - more than just calcium; it has calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Milk fever is caused by a lack of calcium due to, shall we say, more output than input? The start of lactation brings it about and cows going off feed during calving doesn't help a bit. If I remember right what I was reading recently, a liter (or was it half a liter?) of colostrum contains enough calcium to deplete the entire bloodstream of calcium. It takes a bit for the cow's system to adjust to the increased need for calcium - I find that we usually don't have to treat more than once on most cows. But then "treatment" for us generally consists of a 500mL bottle given IV and a second bottle given IP. That's why I'd suggest putting a second dose down your cow if all you gave was oral paste before.
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baileyl
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Postby baileyl » Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:12 pm

Paste was CAL MPK GEL. Thanks for the info!
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mlk fever

Postby GMN » Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:49 am

Our vet also suggests skipping a milking, to let the calcium stay in their system longer after treatment. In the past I have had cows that have gotten severe cases, where tey get the IV, then I would milk them out, and then they would be down again, needing to be retreated once again with IV.

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J and L
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Postby J and L » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:40 pm

Cows need potassium to absorb calcium. A friend had a high production Jersey herd and she had both potassium and calcium milkfevers. For cows that are still not right after a bottle of calcium IV and one SQ we also suppliment potassiom and phosphorus-- phos injuctable and potassium boluses.
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Postby milkmaid » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:54 pm

J and L - do you use just the calcium on fresh cows? We use the CMPK (calcium-magnesium-phosphorus-potassium) gel for oral use and CMPK injectable for IV or IP. I've seen the injectable packaged as just calcium, but the CMPK covers everything.
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Basics needed to answer questions: age, weight, breed, sex. # affected vs # in group, feed type/amount, prior vaccinations, deworming, antibiotics, any recent changes....

More info = better answers.


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