Around calving time, down cows are an unfortunate inevitability. So it’s important to allocate sufficient time to attend to down cows and use your senses - observe, listen, smell and touch - to help you decide on the cause.
Remember there can be multiple reasons a cow is down, from milk fever to a broken leg. If in doubt, call the vet out.
Some of the most common causes of a downer cow, and the signs to look for, are:
Down cows should be a priority no matter what else is happening on-farm. If treatable, an early response will ensure a better outcome. The treatment strategy used will depend on the cause of recumbency, for example, whether or not she has calved. If she is straining after calving there may be a twin. If it is a metabolic disease, such as milk fever or grass staggers, appropriate metabolic treatment will need to be administered. And, regardless of the cause, proper management of the cow’s basic needs is essential in all cases.
Never underestimate the importance of good management of a downer cow. Not only is this vital in terms of animal welfare, but good management and support will also greatly assist in a quick and successful recovery of the cow with fewer potential complications. Some key points to consider are:
If no day-to-day improvement is seen, call a vet.
Prevention is always preferable to treatment so it is important to put a plan in place now to ensure your cows are in ideal condition and getting the right minerals heading into calving and also that the environment they are calving down onto is managed best as possible to reduce the chance of infection or injury.
To view training videos on metabolic treatment strategies, administration techniques, symptoms and much more, head to You Tube and search ‘Bayer NZ down cow’.
For more information on down cow management talk to your local TSR or visit your Farm Source store.
Article supplied by Bayer