The window of opportunity for reducing milk fever is short
If systemic immune activation occurs during the transition to lactation, one of the defence mechanisms of a cow is to reduce her blood calcium levels. Cow colostrum and milk contain large quantities of calcium. The amounts of calcium that a cow needs directly after calving can therefore easily double. In response to this drop in blood calcium levels and this increase in calcium demand, dairy cows try to increase the uptake of calcium from the diet and they try to mobilise calcium from the bones. This requires a hormonal adaptation which takes about 2 days.
Older cows have a less active bone metabolism, so they have problems with low blood calcium levels more often. This is why clinical milk fever is mostly seen in multiparous dairy cows.
Most of the cows with low calcium levels in their blood immediately after calving don’t develop visible signs of milk fever but are suffering from subclinical milk fever. For every cow in the herd with clinical milk fever, there are usually 4 cows with subclinical milk fever35.
The poor metabolic and immune adaptation that comes with subclinical milk fever in dairy cows results in:
Reduce systemic immune activation to reduce the risk of subclinical hypocalcaemia and manage the transition to lactation in such a way that stress is minimal. If this transition to lactation is not managed properly, a high rate of involuntary culling in the first 100 days after calving occurs7,27,28, resulting in a serious negative impact on dairy farm profitability32,33.
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Learn more about managing the calcium balance of your herd
Reducing the incidence of subclinical and clinical milk fever starts with ensuring the calving process is smooth. For more information please download our Technical brochure “ Managing the calving process to start a successful lactation” and our calving protocol. For specific information about managing the calcium balance, please download our protocol on hypocalcaemia and milk fever and our Technical brochure “Hypocalcaemia, the hidden threat for farmers”.
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Reducing the incidence of subclinical and clinical milk fever starts with ensuring the calving process is smooth. For more information please download our Technical brochure “ Managing the calving process to start a successful lactation” and our calving protocol.
For specific information about managing the calcium balance, please download our protocol on hypocalcaemia and milk fever and our Technical brochure “Hypocalcaemia, the hidden threat for farmers”.
Making sustainable dairy farming profitable
Science-based solutions for optimum dairy performance
Adding Selko LactiBute to the ration increases milk production while increasing fat and protein levels at the same time. This results in an increase of Energy Corrected Milk of 0.85-1 kg per head per day.
IntelliBond’s increased bioavailability and the positive impact on fibre digestion and gut barrier function support well-being and optimizes animal productivity of dairy cows.
Farm-O-San Reviva is a highly palatable post calving drink for dairy cows, with large amounts of energy and calcium. It reduces the risk of hypocalcaemia and milk fever in dairy cows.
Farm-O-San Glucolac 40 Plus provides glucogenic energy and reduces the risk of subclinical or clinical ketosis in dairy cows.