Managing milk fever

CLINICAL AND SUBCLINICAL MILK FEVER TO A LARGE EXTENT CAN BE PREVENTED THROUGH TRANSITION COW DIETARY MANAGEMENT AND NUTRITION

  • Plan dry cow forages in advance.
  • Aim for lowest possible potassium in the diet of cows within 3 weeks of calving; this influences the incidence of milk fever.
  • Minimise/ eliminate application of dung – it is high in K (potassium).
  • Use straight nitrogen fertiliser on dry cow silage/grazing fields.
  • Later cuts are generally lower in potassium.
  • Keep grazing tight – tops of stems have more potassium than the bottom.
  • Calve cows down in the right body condition (BCS 2.75). Fat cows are more likely to get milk fever… and have calving difficulties, ketosis, etc.
  • Ensure that there is a good magnesium supply to dry cows (involved in calcium absorption); this usually means either a mineralised dry cow roll or specific dry cow mineral.
  • Feeding small amounts of certain salts such as magnesium or ammonium chloride
    or can also help to reduce risk – speak to your vet or nutritionist.

HOWEVER, THERE ARE FREQUENTLY SITUATIONS IN HERDS OR INDIVIDUAL COWS WHERE THERE IS AN
INCREASED RISK OF MILK FEVER

  • Older cows.
  • High yielding.
  • Previous case of milk fever in the cow/herd.

Supplementation with oral calcium such as Bovikalc® boluses helps to reduce the risk of milk fever.

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BOVIKALC® IS AVAILABLE FROM YOUR VETERINARY SURGEON