Milk fever or Post Parturition Paralysis in cattle


 Milk fever or Post Parturition Paralysis in cattle

A type of metabolic disease that usually occurs 48 hours after birth

Milk fever usually occurs in high-yielding cows. Of course, the disease may be present a few weeks before to a few weeks after delivery.

The word milk fever is not a correct term because in this disease, the body temperature is normal, and sometimes it is lower than normal

This disease, which occurs before or during parturition, is caused by a rapid decrease in plasma calcium levels, which causes relatively rapid loss of blood plasma calcium due to colostrum formation in newborn cows. For example, a cow that produces 10 liters of colostrum loses about 23 grams of calcium in one milking. This is 9 times the amount present in the cow’s plasma tank.

Calcium released from the plasma reservoir should be replaced by increased intestinal absorption or release of bone calcium, or both.

The duality of calcium requirements in dry cows and newborn cows is as follows:

During the dry season, the cow’s calcium requirements are minimal and include fetal calcium intake and endogenous calcium in the stool, which is about 10 ‌ 10 گرم 10 grams per day, so the mechanism for plasma calcium replacement is inactive.

However, during calving, cows should ingest more than 30 grams of calcium per day into the calcium reservoir.
As a result, most cows show signs of hypocalcemia following a sudden need for calcium during calving, on the first day after calving until the intestines and bones become accustomed to the hypocalcemia .


In some cows, calcium intake for lactation causes the extracellular and plasma concentrations of calcium to decrease to such an extent that its neuromuscular function is impaired and causes clinical signs of milk fever.

It is recommended to use intravenous calcium injection (8 to 10 g) when cows become accustomed to the intestinal and skeletal transfer mechanism of calcium, otherwise about 60 to 70% of cows will die if left untreated.

Earlier in this article, we introduced the diseases of dairy cows Post Parturition Paralysis Please click on the link below for more information

Predisposing factors for milk fever
  • raceSome breeds, such as the Jersey, white and red Swedish, and the Channel Islands, are more susceptible to milk fever. Milk fever-prone breeds of Jersey and Guernsey are the most susceptible, followed by Holstein and Brann of Switzerland, and the less susceptible are Ayrshire and Shorthorn, and indigenous breeds.
  • AgeAs the cow ages, the incidence of milk fever also increases. The incidence increases in cows over 5 years (third abdomen onwards), which is the reason for the increase in production. The higher the production, the more capacity the body uses and the higher the incidence of disease.
  • feedingIt is now known that manipulating and changing the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the diet is effective in the occurrence of milk fever.
Symptoms of milk fever

The main symptoms of milk fever are as follows
Decreased appetite
Decreased gastrointestinal activity
Ignorance of the environment
Excessive dimming of the eyes
Weakness of limbs.

As the disease progresses, the cow is unable to stand and lies on her sternum, the cow’s spine becomes S-shaped and her head rests on her side.

7. Another symptom is excessive coldness of the beak corners of the cow, which can be especially helpful in not confusing milk fever with ketosis.

8. Another symptom is lack of urination and defecation.


It should be noted that if left untreated, a high percentage of cows are lost. A cow suffering from milk fever is lying in a state of muscle cramps, its muscles are weakened, making it impossible for it to get up, and eventually ligaments and tendons are severed, and in some cases bone fractures are reported, usually due to the animal trying to get up.

Milk fever or Post Parturition Paralysis in cattle

Stages of clinical signs of milk fever


Step 1: The trap is still standing. Shows signs of hypersensitivity and irritability. Head movement, ear movement, and slight tremors may be seen in the flanks and lower back. It stumbles when the trap moves. When standing, the animal is restless and moves its limbs. Howling, breathing with the mouth open and the tongue sticking out

Stage 2: Decreased blood calcium, the animal can not stand but gets stuck in the sternum, depression, anorexia, dry snout, decreased body temperature with cold extremities, increased heart rate with decreased heart rate, smooth muscle paralysis leads With gastrointestinal depression sometimes accompanied by bloating, inability to defecate, and a lack of anal sphincter tonicity, the animal is unable to urinate.

Cessation of labor or placenta due to uterine laxity Dilated pupil, delayed reflection in the light, grounding, sternum with side by side are characteristic of cows with hypocalcemia. Note.


Stage 3: Decreased blood calcium to a coma, loses consciousness. Such muscles are completely relaxed and do not respond to stimuli, and can not hold themselves in the sternal position, and suffer from severe bloating. The output of the heart becomes worse.

 The heart rate can be unimaginable, reaching 120 beats per minute, and cows do not survive more than a few hours at this stage of the disease.

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