Milk fever

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by wkyongae, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. wkyongae

    wkyongae Active Member

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    Well, just had our first calf born Thur. morning everything looked fine that night and then sometime by next day ugh down she went. calf fine had vet out Fri, afternoon and he gave her 2 bottles of calcium stuff I-V that seemed to perk her up after awhile as of 9:30 last night she still hadn't got up. We were able to milk her out while she was sick and feed that to the calf. My qustion is one of prevention. How to prevent this in the future? Live in Olympia WA. Getting ready to go check momma and calf this morning. Vet said if she didn't get up give him a call and he would give her 2 more bottles of that calcium stuff. She was trying last night.
     
  2. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would go ahead and get more calcium down her if she is still not up. You don't want to wait and *try* to get the vet out on a Sunday.... :rolleyes: For future prevention, you need to keep some of those tubes of oral calcium on hand(there are many different brands). If we have an older cow whom we think may be prone to milk fever(such as our 16 year old Jersey), we give her a tube of calcium as soon as we see signs of impending labour, another tube after she has the calf, and a tube a day for the next two days. The tubes are not expensive and they aren't hard to get down a milk cow who is used to being handled. It will take two people though. Also I keep a couple bottles of the liquid calcium or CMPK on hand to give sub-Q just in case we do ever have a cow go down or get really wobbly. I buy the disposable IV kit from my vet and use that to give the liquid calcium under the skin, over the ribs. For a cow thats already down or shaky, the sub-Q liquid is faster. But if the cow is down and comotose or has the distinctive s-curve in the neck.....she probably needs IV as your vet did. It is easy to cure and prevent, but kills very fast. My vet even once had me use the IV kit to stick straight into the cows side under her hipbone so it would get into her system fast. This is an emergency measure and was only used because the vet could not get there quickly and the cow was becoming comotose fast. It worked. Hope your cow gets up soon. Good to here that the calf is fine. :)
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Far as I know there is little you can do in the way of prevention. Just be prepared for when it happens.
     
  4. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Not to alarm you, but I would get vet there asap and get enough Calcium in her till she stands. A cow that does not get up&down will readily get damage to rear legs and go downhill. If necessary, beg, borrow or buy a hiplift tool and winch her to a standing position using a barnbeam overhead or a frontend loader if out in pasture. Time is of the essence. If you are unable to lift her, at a minimum flip her side to side every 2 hours till vet comes. Lying too long on one rear leg will lead to a quick demise.
    But your first priority is to get calcium levels properly stabilized. Cow should have ben rising and standing on her own within 90 minutes after Calcium dosage. Hope you get her turned around...Sincerely,UpNorth.
     
  5. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yep, flip her side to side if she isn't doing it herself.

    Is she eating/drinking?

    If she pulls through, get the oral calcium for next time and only take as much milk as the calf needs for the first 12 hours.
     
  6. wkyongae

    wkyongae Active Member

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    Thank you all for your responses. The vet came back out this morning and gave her another bottle of calcium and a shot of anti-inflamitory something. And told us to get a couple of tubes for later today. She has been getting up a little and doc say damge is already there but she might pull through. I guess this is all we can do except call the butcher and have lots of hamberger. No she is not eating or drinking.
     
  7. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

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    I agree that you need to call the vet if she is not standing. As late in the day as it is now hopefully you have done this already.

    While I am not up on all the latest dairy scoop I will tell you what I know.

    Milk fever is believed to be caused by not enough calcium or phosphorus in the diet or even a unbalanced amount in the diet. A cow should have 2 or 3 parts of calcium to 1 part of phosphorus.

    Milk has a high content of both and a cow will use body reserves to the point of death to make her milk.

    I am wondering if you lead feed this cow. If not you should start as it takes a cow about 3 weeks to adjust to feed. Do not over feed at this time though as it can cause other problems such as Udder edema.
     
  8. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm no expert, but here's from the Merck Veterinary Manual:

    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/80302.htm

    Alot of jargon, but if you read down about prevention, you realize that it isn't simple. Apparently reducing calcium levels in dry cow ration isn't as effective as once thought.

    "The disease may be seen in cows of any age but is most common in high-producing dairy cows >5 yr old. Incidence is higher in the Jersey breed."

    You might consider your choice of cow. Do you need high production? If not, you might look for a beef/dairy cross cow, or breed this one to beef bull if she makes it and keep any heifer calf for your cow.

    Anyway, good luck, I hope she makes it.
     
  9. wkyongae

    wkyongae Active Member

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    She is a beef dairy cross mostly beef Holsteen/Angus cross. Just got back from farm not good she got up once tubed her and got her to drink water by pouring it down her mouth. Soo we will go back later today and try to keep her alive.
     
  10. luvrulz

    luvrulz Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There's some stuff called IBA or IVA Rejuvenate.....do a search on this board for it...maybe you can find it. It is sold by Dairy Suppliers and it quite well known by those in the business of raising Jerseys and milk cows. It comes in an foil envelope kind of thing and you mix it with 5 gals of water for the cow to drink right after delivery.

    We had one Jersey that was prone to milk fever, and we pulled her through. It's hard work and I wish you the best. Let me know if you can't find the stuff in your area. There's a place in TN that will ship it to you....$17.50 per dose.
     
  11. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hmmm, a mostly angus cow with milk fever. And no Jersey in her. I wonder how common this is. Did the vet comment on that? How old is she and how much milk does she give? If her first calf maybe you don't know yet?

    Maybe she got all the Holstein genes. So much for my suggestion....
     
  12. wkyongae

    wkyongae Active Member

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    Sorry to inform the cow died even though we tried hard to save her. no vet did not comment on this but, feed supplier did and said we had rain last week which made the grass grow and in WA we have low mag. in the soil anyway this gets lower yet when it rains and no calcium intake with low mag. Darn, I knew this just forgot.Anyway she is gone now in cow heaven and calf has a dry cow as a protector. And a bottle feeding we go.
     
  13. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    If she is getting up (standing) at all she may have the will to pull thru. Do you have calf tied next to her? If not, do so. Have seen cows with one foot in grave rally because calf was there and they decided it was their job to feed it.
    You may need to entice her a bit to eat. Try pouring a bottle of molasses on her hay. If you have access to a bushel basket of corn silage, put that before her. You may need to drench her to get stomach working using above mentioned product. If she can get up but struggles, best thing is to keep her off concrete and on sod or dirt if possible.
    Were it my cow, I would give her 5 ML intramuscular shot of MU-SE, which is a Vitamin E/ Selenium booster product. Not for the milk fever, mind you, but for muscle control to help her get up and down, however do not do this if you are going to butcher, as there is a meat withholding on that product.

    As for future prevention, dcross has given you the best "prevention strategy- that is DO NOT milk out entirely 1st milking. This has greatly reduced-not eliminated- the incidence of milk fever in our herd. Beyond that, the only prevention strategies i am familiar with is to feed with stuff that has enough calcium. Shelled corn grown on properly balanced soils provides calcium. So does western Alfalfa. In areas where Milo is substituted for corn, milk fever is a huge problem, as Milo does not have adequate calcium. There is a feed supplement called DI-CAL folks use to overcome that if they are feeding Milo vs. corn.
    BTW if cow lives, take a rectal temp daily for 4-5 days. If temp exceeds 103.5, put on antibiotics immediately or she may spike a fever and die.
    I suspect that these original difficulties impaired her from passing her afterbirth, unless you saw that she did.
    Hope you pull her thru. You have recieved some worthy advice from folks responding..good luck.
     
  14. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Sorry to hear that wykongae - Nothing has a higher cost of tuition than learning about all the little things that go wrong with dairy cows.
    I have lost cows from things i didn't know or understand, and i have lost cows when I should have known better. It's always a disapointment.
     
  15. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm sorry to hear this. With her being Angus with a bit of Holstien.....I would have to think that there may have been more going on here than the vet thought. Angus cows very rarely get milk fever. Did she have loose minerals available to her during gestation?? May have been a compound problem and the vet did not address it all. We lost one this year before she calved and still have no idea why. :shrug:
     
  16. wkyongae

    wkyongae Active Member

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    No on the loose minerals as the place we kept her at the landlord likes mineral blocks. However, we still have one more cow to calf yet and we are buying a bag today. The vet wondered if more was going on as well. But, knew it would take to long to get blood test back so really hit and miss and we both think he was close if not not right on target. Sometimes lessons are learned the hard way. Thank you so much for everyones help. I know sows not much about cattle. I know more now though.
     
  17. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Perhaps some good can come if folks take away a few things:
    1.) Milk Fever/Down cow is to be treated as an acute emergency- not as a problem to be studied or a problem to deal with later in the day when you get time.
    2.) If you own cows, it is cheap insurance to keep 2 bottles of Oral Calcium drench on hand at all times. We use the product from RADIX labs, simply because it has a convenient long neck dispensing bottle. There are many good products available.
    3.) A cow that is "down" and unable to rise must be doctored and got back on her feet within 6 hours-10 tops. Otherwise they lose the use of legs and will have to be put down.
    Wykongae this is no reflection on you or the events. Just trying to share some salient points folks can learn from and apply, WHEN, not if, this happens again. We know you did the best you knew and we regret your loss of the cow.