Milk fever its stages diagnosis and treatment

Milk fever is a disorder in dairy cows. So this situation affects both the quality and quantity of milk in dairy cows. Due to milk fever, the Health of animals is greatly affected.

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Milk fever:

Milk fever is also known as Hypocalcaemia that is mostly in cows and this disorder is closely similar to Calving. Milk fever is mainly a disease that is caused due to low blood calcium levels. Each Year about 3-10% of dairy districts are affecting.

Effect on Muscles

Due to Hypocalcaemia function of smooth muscles decreases and the function of the gastrointestinal tract and rumen is also decreases that may result in less intake of dry matter.

Hypocalcemia is a very dangerous disease that can cause death in a healthy animal if it goes to a more serious situation If it is not handled properly.

Stages of Milk fever:

There are three stages

Stage 1:

This is the early stage that shows the signs without recumbency. It is not easy to notice the disorder at this stage due to less showing of signs. Some cattle lose their weight and apparently weaker and show excitability and nervousness.

Stage 2:

(Sternal recumbency)

In this stage, cows are seen as in depression and paralysis form and may turn their head in their flank. On clinical observation, it is seen as frequently lateral Kink and S-shaped neck curvature. In such a situation, the temperature is not normal and the muzzles of the cows become dry and cold of skin. The rate of heart bead increases up to 100 beats per minute. Animal shows incoordination in its walk.

Stage 3:

(lateral  recumbency)

Those cows having milk fever will be flat out on their side completely paralyzed, bloated, and severely depressed. In this stage, the cows will die within a few hours if they are not properly treated. In this stage, they can not recover the loss and lead toward a comma.   In this stage heart rate increases, up to 120 beats per minute, and body temperature raise. An ill cow can live only a few hours alive if treatment is not provided properly.



Diagnosis can be done by keeping some points in mind like the history of the birth of animals and Clinical signs and the age of the animals and also the observation of responses. Depression of consciousness and paresis occurrence are the signs of disease in newly giving birth cows. A blood test of the laboratory and the response to the treatment with calcium borogluconate will confirm the disease.  A decrease in blood calcium and phosphorus level is the most noticeable change due to mil fever. Those cows which have low serum calcium level below 7.5 mg/dl may be suffering from milk fever.

Stage 1 shows 5.5 to 7.5 mg/dl serum calcium level

Stage 2 shows a 3.5 to 6.5 gm/dl serum calcium level

Stage 3 shows less than 2gm/dl serum calcium level


With the increase in age the risk of this disease increases. There is more milk production in dairy cows after the third lactation so at this stage calcium demand will increase.

Prevention and control

Many different strategies are applied to prevent the risk and enhance the level of calcium in dairy cows i.e.  Anionic salts and low calcium ionic diet and low potassium forages and different Vitamin as vitamin D supplementation. We should give a specific control program if the risk of milk fever is increasing up to 10%.

  • We should provide an acidic diet during the last week of pregnancy.
  • We should avoid the calcium-rich diet during the last week of pregnancy.
  • We should administer the vitamin D

Economic consequences of milk fever

It is considered a very important disease economically because milk fever disease can lower the productivity of dairy cows up to 3 to 4 years. So milk fever has a direct and indirect effect on milk and animal health.

Milk fever and fertility:

Milk fever can reduce the fertility of dairy cows at a high rate if it is non-control or treats properly. It reduces the fertility of dairy cows by affecting their Austrian muscles


We should treat the affected cows as soon as possible so that it can minimize the risk of dairy loss. So we mostly prefer the administration of calcium borogluconate by the oral route of animals this is the best approach to handle the disease of milk fever.

The administration of intravenous calcium is not recommended for the treatment of cows of milk fever.


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