Reduce relapse and get back to milking

Reduce relapse and get back to milking

1 July 2017

A quick return to milking is the aim when treating cows down with milk fever, or milk fever complicated by grass staggers or ketosis.

Initial treatment with an injectable metabolic solution is typically fast and immediately effective. However, relapse remains a risk – extending recovery time, increasing labour and reducing milk in the vat. Relapse affects at least 30 to 35 percent of cows offered only first-line treatment.1 We can’t always prevent a cow going down, but with the right treatment plan, we can minimise the risk of relapse and the associated costs of labour, time and reduced milk production.


This three-step treatment plan can help give cows the best chance of a successful outcome and reduce the risk of relapse.


    Administer injectable calcium or calcium combination metabolic solutions for rapid replacement.

    Administering intravenously (into the vein) acts quickly and gets the cow up and walking again, often within several minutes. However, this method of administration is quickly utilised around the body so treatment is often supplemented with a bag under the skin.

    Subcutaneous (under the skin) administration takes longer to absorb, giving the cow a more sustained release over the next few hours.

    As your first line of treatment, using a bag into the vein as well as one under the skin, will provide rapid and slower release calcium replacement.

    Suitable Products: C.B.G 37.5, Glucalmag, Glucalmax, Glucalphos. Always read product label to ensure the bag you are using is suitable for the intended route of delivery.


    Oral calcium for sustained support.

    Once the cow is up and walking after initial treatment and has regained enough muscle control to swallow normally, orally administered calcium provides a continued level of support. In fact, studies have shown using oral calcium in this way can prevent relapse by up to 60 percent.1,2,3

    Suitable Products: Oral-Cal, Oral-Max


    Liquid energy boost for a quicker recovery.

    The third step is to administer propylene glycol (Ketol) for an essential energy boost, quicker metabolic recovery and a positive influence on the post-calving energy gap.

  • For more information or advice on treating metabolic conditions, talk to your local Fonterra Farm Source team or visit us in-store.

    1.Rajala PJ, Grohn YT: Disease occurrence and risk factors analysis in Finnish Ayshire cows. J. Dairy Sci. 1998, 81, 3172-3151.

    2. Jonsgard K, Odegaard SA & Overby I. 1971. Supplement of calcium gel by mouth in addition to treatment with calcium by vein in paresis puerperalis in cows. The Obstetrics Institute of the Veterinary University, Norway. Nord . Vet – Med: (23) 606-619

    3. Thilsing-Hansen T, Jorgensen RJ, Ostergaard S: Milk fever control principals: A review. Actc vet. Scand. 2002, 43, 1-19. C.B.G. 37.5, Glucalmag, Glucalmax and Glucalphos are registered under the ACVM Act 1997.

    Article supplied by Bayer New Zealand Ltd