Milk fever is a condition that affects dairy cattle but can also occur in dogs, beef cattle or even goats. It is a disorder caused by a low level of calcium in the body of the animal. The most sensitive type of dairy cattle are the Jersey cows who are fat and mature. Milk fever is one of the most expensive animal diseases that the dairy farmers face. In fact, it is estimated that cost of treating one cow may even exceed 400 dollars regarding drugs and vet. Moreover, other costly effects come along with milk fever such as reduction in the productive life span of each affected cow, low milk production and even worse deaths of dairy cattle. It is also believed that cows with milk fever may also develop other metabolic disorder such as ketosis and retained placentas. According to Hibbs (2013), milk fever is often easy to spot, but hard to detect not unless the dairy producer often checks his cows blood calcium levels. We have a received several complaints from the dairy producers who have encountered this condition in their dairy cattle. And as per their requests, we have decided to give detailed information regarding this metabolic disease and how you can spot and prevent it from causing huge losses in the future. (Hibbs, 2013).
Based on Hardy (2010) findings, milk fever can have a lasting knock-on impacts in the dairy cattles production cycle. Therefore we are required to enforce appropriate measures to reduce the likeability of such condition in the future. Hardy explains that dairy cattle often requires a high level of blood calcium during the lactation phase to meet the needs of milk synthesis. He adds that approximately twenty to thirty grams of calcium are required daily for milk production however during fetal development just before calving, cows require about eight to ten grams of calcium daily. Hardy (2010) also explains that milk fever reduces muscle contraction in cattle, including the teat sphincter muscle which plays an important role in enabling closure of the teat orifice after milking. This means that in cases where the muscles are not contracting, and the teat orifice is not closing, there is a high risk of mastitis. This author also teaches that there are two types of milk fever: clinical milk fever and the subclinical milk fever. Clinical fever involves three stages of increasing worsening symptoms from critical stage to survival stage. However, treatment plans for this condition have been intensified, and there are a lot of treatment options. On the other hand, subclinical milk fever is a special type of milk fever which is defined as low blood calcium levels in the cows body with no clinical symptoms. In the conclusion of his publication, Hardy (2010) suggests that it is imperative to adopt appropriate methodologies to prevent the incidences of clinical and subclinical milk fever in the future. He adds that all dairy producers should reduce the amount of calcium they give to their cows before calving, this is to enable the cow to produce her calcium from the blood or bone immediately after giving birth. Moreover, the he reminds all dairy producers to feed their cows with high-quality dry meals which have a lot of magnesium and has no added calcium (Hardy, 2010).
According to Fethers (2011), most of the milk fever symptoms are due to lowered blood calcium levels. He explains that in common events, cows suffering from this condition often shows agitation and tremor in their limb and head muscles. Other symptoms include cold ears and legs, staring eyes, a dry muzzle, drowsiness, and constipation. Fethers (2011) also states that cows which produce large quantities of milk are more vulnerable than the lower producers since the fall in the blood calcium level in the high producers is huge. Therefore, dairy producers are warned from selecting cows for high production since it may lead to higher chances of the cow contracting milk fever. He adds that age of the cow is also an important aspect when evaluating the vulnerability of the cows to this condition. Old cows are more vulnerable than the young cows; this is because old cows often produce large quantities of milk and they cant replace the blood calcium quickly. Moreover, fat dairy cattle are at a greater risk than the thin ones. This author advises that treatment should begin as early as possible before it causes more devastation to the cows health. He explains that dairy farmers are required to use 300ml or more of calcium borogluconate as soon as they spot early symptoms of milk fever. This treatment should be administered through injection of the solution onto the neck. Now, this is a critical message everyone should note: Cows that are under treatment should not be milked for 24 hours. Towards the end of his publication, Fethers (2011) advises all dairy producers to manage the diet of their cows and ensure that their cattle are kept on low calcium meal during the lactating phase (Fethers, 2011).
Fethers, G. F. "The Treatment of Milk Fever." Australian Veterinary Journal 7.4 (2011): 149-51. Web.
Hardy, B. "Milk fever control." Veterinary Record 107.18 (2010): 431-32. Web.
Hibbs, J.w., and H.r. Conrad. "Milk Fever in Dairy Cows. VII. Effect of Continuous Vitamin D Feeding on Incidence of Milk Fever." Journal of Dairy Science 59.11 (2013): 1944-946. Web.
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