Milk Fever [Low calcium = Hypocalcaemia]:
Minimizing the chances of milk fever occurring:
-Don't let your in calf cows graze lush pastures in the last three weeks of their pregnancy.
-Feed a "maintenance diet" to your incalf cows.. With a ration of grass also feed her hay.
Hay does contain some Vit D.
Sunshine does make farmers happy at calving.. There is usually less milk fever in the herd.. Cow's get their vitamin D through their skin (like we do) from sunlight... and off course with sunshine there are less puddles, and mud about.
Magnesium only stays in her body for a short time. Daily "doses" of magnesium are needed.
-"Pasture dust" her ration of pasture with a magnesium dust/powder each day. (available from farm supply stores)
-Add magnesium to her hay.. You can prepare several days of hay rations in advance.. and it's tasty.
Make a solution of magnesium powder, molasses, and water.. and pour it over the next several day's rations.
You can "trough treat" Using magnesium designed for water troughs.. This is not necessarily an accurate way of dosing your pre-calvers.
Some cows will drink more than others.. If the trough is filled with fresh water it will gradually dilute the magnesium content.
Signs and symptoms of MILK FEVER:
Calcium is required to liberate acetylcholine, a chemical substance released from nerve endings to activate muscles (and secretory
(for products: http://www.bomac.co.nz )
She'll be frightened.. her legs don't work properly.
* * Getting calcium into her is first priority.
If you find she's down:
Sit her up as much as you can - support with a bale of hay to prevent bloat.
If she is up and walking, head her off to your yards, or wedge her between the gate and the fence (electric fence off first).
Give Calcium boragluconate solution either:
Subcutaneously (the easiest method) or intravenously.
*The solution needs to be warmed to "blood heat" before you administer it.
Giving calcium solution intravenously:
Use the neck vein only.. and it is often extremely awkward getting the neck in a handy position... let alone to find the vein.
(Giving the solution subcutaneously eliminates this .. plus its equally effective, and possibly quicker.)
AIR does NOT belong in blood !!
Let the warmed solution run down the tubing, then pinch the tubing off when it drips.. as per the sketch.
Pinching off, or bending the tubing will hold the solution in the tube at the same level. Air in the blood stream can cause air embolism then death.
Find a vein!!
With her head to one side .. You may be lucky enough to find the vein in the hollow of her neck. (dampen the area with an alcohol solution,
and this may help the vein to show.) When you've found the vein, insert the needle. If you have it in the vein there will be several drops of blood.
Without allowing air into the tubing.. connect the tubing to the needle.
NOW You need to elevate the container to help the solution flow. BUT CAUTION..
(Read the instructions on the solution container)
This fluid given intravenously must be given very slowly.. (easier to give it subcutaneously)
Timing of the solution must be stretched over 10 minutes at least!! Too fast and you can kill the animal.
When you remove the needle, just push down on the injection site until bleeding stops.
Read on and discover how easy it is to administer subcutaneously..
Administering solution subcutaneously.
- Subcutaneous injections are easy to administer & VERY VERY EFFECTIVE.-
(You don't have to get the head at the correct angle to get a vein..(then have several attempts to "get the needle in"!! )
With IV your injecting a concentrated solution straight into the animals blood, so it needs to be given very s-l-o-w-l-y.
There is no standing around dangling the solution while it slowly drips in when you give it under the skin!!
There is NO stopping the bleeding involved. (worse still when IV is given through a non recommended vein!!)
Best to buy the solution in the plastic "bag" containers.
These are so handy, and they'll fit easily in a jug or similar of hot water for warming..
And they're so quick to administer..
Here are instructions for subcutaneous injections (the results are rapid):
Magnesium is an essential mineral responsible for energy metabolism and protein metabolism. Incidence - stock who haven't received
Magnesium precalving, cattle with a poor dietary intake. It occurs up to 12 weeks after calving. Cold wet weather, with a high wind chill can 'set off' an animal.
You may just find a dead animal. If the ground around her looks as though there has been a struggle then grass staggers is very likely the diagnosis.
Signs and symptoms:
She may be irritable. Her behaviour may be aggressive. Her movements are 'unusual', or uncoordinated. Her eyes, she may blink a lot, they may appear to be glaring. She may froth at the mouth. If in doubt, even if it's very mild (e.g. blinking a lot), treat.
A fright can sometimes trigger convulsions.
HYPOMAGNESAEMIA (aka grass staggers)
Dealing with a hypomagnesaemic animal:
Priorities - injecting magnesium (subcutaneously), positioning her so you can treat her, somewhere where she can't damage you, and can't injure herself.
You've made your diagnosis. Magnesium solution must be warmed. Ideally, the solution bag and tubing is set up so inserting the needle is all that is needed.
If a yard is very handy get the gates open or shut ready to move her. If the yard is not handy try wedging her between the gate and the fence
(a rope may come in handy). Turn any nearby electric fence off. You've got to move her very very quietly. A fright can trigger convulsions.
The aim is to have her on the fence side of the gate. You should work in the safety at the other side of the gate.
If convulsions don't happen, you betcha, she won't be a cooperative animal! I suggested a rope behind her, linking the gate and fence.
You've got to work very quickly.
Administer the magnesium as instructions for subcutaneously administered calcium. "Tent" the skin & inset the needle under the "tent".. Squeeze the bag, get the solution in as soon as possible.
Up close, the breath of affected animals smell like acetone (nail polish remover). These animals may be anorexic and lethargic, in fact,
sleepy sickness describes it well. In brief, animals who are acetonaemic just can't ingest enough energy.
They must use their body reserves.
In goats, in an over-fat nanny, and pregnant with two or more very rapidly growing kids/foeti, it may be simply impossible for her to eat enough.
In cows, (rarely) in an over-fat, newly calved cow. More frequently in high producing dairy cow in early lactation where she just can't eat enough.
In sheep, it is called pregnancy toxaemia. It is quite common. Can occur in the weeks prior to lambing.
Reduced quality or amount of feed can trigger the symptoms (dullness, anorexia, staggering, twitching of ears, face).
Ketosis in sheep can eventuate in blindness. A preparation is available from the vets or a farm supplies retail store.
Metabolic complications: Sheep & Goats: around pregnancy:
Metabolic Complications (other) SHEEP & LAMBS-
Excessive intake of grain or sudden intake of grain can cause numerous digestive and metabolic problems in sheep and lambs - http://www.sheep101.info/201/feedstuffs.html