Milk Fever & Grass Staggers (Hypomagnesaemia)

Milk Fever & Grass Staggers (Hypomagnesaemia)

Both these diseases are common around the time of calving or the onset of lactation. They are emergency conditions requiring urgent medical attention.


Milk Fever or Hypocalcaemia

Most common in cattle but seen in all species. In cattle this condition is most common in high producing cows of 5 to 9 years of age. It is usually seen within 72 hours of calving.

In sheep, it is seen over a longer span, 6 weeks before to 8 weeks after lambing.

Hypocalcaemia can also be seen with transport stress and grazing some plants that are high in oxalate.

Onset is associated with a disturbance in the blood calcium levels around the onset of lactation. In sheep, sudden changes of feed can precipitate and outbreak.

Animals may be found dead, but are more often seen with muscle tremors, depression, ataxic, hypothermic and in sternal to lateral recumbancy.

Treatment is urgent and requires replacement of calcium to the animals system. Calcium is given in the form of Calcium Borogluconate followed by some sustainable calcium in the form of Calol or headstart.

For further advice, please contact us.

Grass Staggers or Hypomagnesaemia.

Adult cattle and sheep cannot readily store and mobilise magnesium so they require a regular dietary intake to maintain blood levels.  Cold weather, lactation and malnutrition can precipitate clinical hypomagnesia. It is only common in cattle.

It is often seen on a falling plane of nutrition or rapidly growing spring pasture with cold changeable weather.

Cattle are often found dead, but may be seen as hyper-excitable, convulsing and dead within 1 to 2 hours.

Urgent treatment is required and involves the administration of Magnesium Sulphate under the skin and calcium borogluconate as well. Administration must be slow. Follow up oral dosing is required.

For further information, please contact us.

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