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Milk fever - related articles and blog posts

What is milk fever?

Milk fever, technically known as hypocalcaemia, is a cow illness caused by a drop in the calcium level of the blood.

The disease normally occurs around calving time when cows start producing milk and therefore require much more calcium. Since calcium is also used for muscle movement and bone construction, it's not hard to see why a drop in calcium levels affects cows so critically.

Milk fever can be fatal, sometimes within just a few hours.

How should milk fever be treated?

It is essential to raise the cow's blood calcium level. This can be done by giving the animal a calcium based drench (such as calol), or by injecting calcium borogluconate directly into the bloodstream (especially for more critical cases).

Cows sick with milk fever should not be milked out completely since that would spur more milk production and further drops in the blood calcium level.

How can milk fever be prevented?

Ensure that cows are well fed and have plenty of energy before calving.

Since magnesium helps the cow to better regulate its calcium level, the cow's diet should be supplemented with magnesium before and after calving. This can be done by drenching, or dusting the pasture with a magnesium-based powder.

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