Milk Fever

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What exactly is milk fever? I have never had any problems with it that I am aware.
> What exactly is milk fever? I have
> never had any problems with it
> that I am aware. I'm thinking(might be wrong)but isn't it where a cow 's utter kind of get's clogged up and swells and the milk can't get out and gets a fever in it???
That's mastitis has nothing to do with milk fever. Milk fever shows as athe cow being almost like it is on a coma, dull eyed,staggers if ablt ot rise but generally laying down. There are a number of other problems that appear similar. Calcium infusion is the treatment I remember.. It's much more common in dairy then beef. V the V can better answer.......

See my answer about hypocalcemia (calcium deficiency) and ask questions if unclear. V
Is calcium deficiency something that is prevented on the front end with proper feed and mineral/salt licks, or does it occur out of the blue? We aren't breeding our heifer until Oct, but I like to know about abnormal things up front. Thanks

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Milk Fever occurs mainly in dairy cattle right before calving or soon afterwards (within 24hrs usually). The reason is the surge of milk let down in the cow. Since dairy cattle are really heavy milkers it can cause a problem. Calcium can be tied up in system causing a calcium deficiency during this period of time. It causes the cow to become weak right away and if not treated instantly she will not be able to stand and can die within a couple of hours. If a cow has milk fever, giving her calcium in the veins or under the skin is the treatment. She will be up and walking around within a couple of minutes. I work on a dairy farm so I have seen and treated milk fever. It usually occurs in the older cows. I have never seen a heifer get milk fever yet.
Milk fever can happen at ANY lactation, including the first, especially in breeds like Jersey. It can occur 48 hours or more after OR before calving, and can occur at any time during lactation if certain factors occur.
with the milk fever, it's always due to extremely bad management. cows that are going to or have just calved have a sudden higher need of calcium. when you feed your lactating cows and your dry cows the same amount of calcium, you will most likely get milk fever, because the cow's metabolism excretes all the excess calcium, not needed prior to calving, and will continue to do for a while after the need for more calcium has arised. so it's a question of not letting a dry cow's metabolism get used to too much calcium. that way the extra calcium in the lactation ration will be kept inside the cow, and can be used, istead of the cow not finding any calcium, causing her metabolism to flip.

a few weeks before calving the animal has to be put on a lactation diet, not after she calved, because then your problem will be even worse.

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Thanks for discovering my question from a few weeks ago. I only have the one heifer who has had the best care possible (all vaccinations, consistent early vet care for infected umbilical...present when I bought her, clean pen, exercise, etc). She was 350 # in early Jan, dairy tapes haven't predicted heer weight well, so we're guessing about 450 now. She has free choice of good alfalfa and about once or twice a week I give her Timothy. She gets about 5# of dairy 14 split between 2 feedings a day. Is this a proper diet for a 9 month old who won't be bred until Oct. I tried figuring out the TDN, but felt like I needed to be a scientist. She looks healthy, the vet always says she is great (and he is a cow person), so I assume I'm not giving her too much or too little calcium for right now. Thanks for educating me.

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I have to disagree with the bad management part in what you said. If you talk to any dairy barn, they will tell you they have cases of milk fever. The dairy barn I work at are extremely good managers. Their dairy herd has been very well noted in the dairy industry for genetics, milk production, and milk fat. But yet they always get a few cases of milk fever a year.
and some of the dairy farmers i know of that used to have a few cases and have changed their feeding programs (individualised it more), now have none whatsoever. changing these feeding programs is very easy with all this computerised feeding that has now been around for twenty odd years. IT IS bad management, bad feeding, and general negligence that causes milkfever. i'm not saying that's your fault, but if you still have some cases, there's stil something you can do about it.

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The best way to avoid milk fever is to reduce calcium intake approximately four weeks before calving. THis allows calcium mobilization from bone sources to begin (this process takes about three to four weeks) and then at calving feed a high level of calcium (typically found in legumes such as alfalfa) to supplement the Calcium being mobilized from the bone. The combination of these two factors will greatly reduce the incidence of milk fever.

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