Post Calving Metabolic Problems

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					Post Calving Metabolic Problems

Dr Jamie McNeil BSc BVMS(Hons) MVS Korumburra Veterinary Clinic

Significance of these Problems
Post Calving Metabolic Problems

Reduced Milk Production

Reduced Fertility

Loss of Animal

Modern Dairy Cow Vs Old Daisy
• The “modern dairy cow” is indeed different from yesterday’s “daisy” but many are still feeding a “daisy-type” cow! • The modern dairy cow is not limited by genetics but primarily by feed! • Many of these metabolic problems are related to incorrect or inadequate nutrition

A “McNeilism”
• Relate the Modern Dairy Cow to a high performance engine • The engine will run regardless of the fuel put in but problems may occur • It will run better if specific fuels are used • When the engine was first invented you could run it on just about anything!

Is it the fault of Genetics
• Is it just Modern Dairy Cows just are more prone to metabolic problems due to breeding • I think the answer is Yes & No • Heifers generally have less problems - same genetics => Management Issue • Heifers still have some problems => Genetic Issue

What is happening to the cow post calving?
• Milk production increases quicker than appetite • Cows lose weight • Cows adjusting to new diet • Stress levels increase • Combating Infection

Post Metabolic Problems
Primary Metabolic
• Hypocalcaemia • Hypomagnesaemia • Post-Parturient Haemoglobinuria • Acetonaemia • Fatty Liver Syndrome

Secondary Metabolic
• Displaced Abomasum • Retained Membranes • Lactic Acidosis

Hypocalcaemia (Milk Fever)
• Due to imbalance between calcium absorption from gut and reabsorption from bone and calcium loss to foetus, skeleton and udder • Post calving – Bone resorption of calcium lags behind intestinal absorption and both lag behind the massive increase in Calcium demand from the udder

Control of Calcium Levels
PTH, Vit D, Calcitonin




Calcium Levels

Causes of Low Calcium
• Low calcium intakes
– Inadequate gut uptake

• High calcium/phosphorus intake precalving
– Fails to prime mechanisms

• Dietary Cation-Anion Balance
– High cations (Sodium/Potash) induce milk fever

• Magnesium levels
– Low magnesium increases susceptability

Predisposing factors
• Increasing Age
– Less available and more required

• Breed
– Jerseys

• Genetics • Cycling
– Oestrogen inhibits calcium mobilisation

• Illness
– Disrupts gut/intestine function

Forms of Hypocalcaemia
• Classic Clinical Form
– Cow down

• Subclinical Form
– Decreased production – Slightly dopey – Increasing number of cases?

Prevention of Hypocalcaemia
• Use of anionic salts • Calcium, magnesium & phosphorus intake post calving • Vitamin D • Calcium supplementation with oral gels

• No storage of magnesium in body • Daily intake is essential to maintain levels • Predisposing Causes
– – – – Low intake – Lush grass, illness High Potash Levels Low calcium levels Bad weather – low intake?

Prevention of Hypomagnesaemia
• Magnesium supplementation
– Oral – Causmag – Bullets – Water???

• Identify high risk paddocks

Post-Parturient Haemoglobinuria
• • • • Due to low body phosphorus levels Causes blood cell damage => anaemia Seen when change from dry to lush pasture Most likely occurs to low intake of phosphorus during dry period • Most likely time to see is at peak milk production when phosphorous requirements are at the highest

Prevention of Post-Parturient Haemoglobinuria
• Ensure adequate phosphorus is available both pre and post calving • Not normally a problem in this area due to high P applications

• Occurs because energy intake is not sufficient to meet body demands • Body breaks down fat to meet demand but overloads the liver • Two forms
– Primary – Secondary

Differentiating Acetonaemia
Primary Acetonaemia • Animal can not intake enough energy to match demands • Commonly occurs around time of peak lactation Secondary Acetonaemia • Animal doesn’t eat enough energy to match demands • Underlying illness/problem • Suspect if demands are not great on the animal

Prevention of Acetonaemia & Fatty Liver Syndrome
• Provide adequate energy • Minimise predisposing problems • Avoid over fat or over skinny animals

Fatty Liver Syndrome
• Sometimes referred to as Sad Cow Syndrome/Disease • Is it a disease or not?

• Consequence of large scale fat mobilisation • Difficult to quantify

Secondary Metabolic Problems

Retained Foetal Membranes
Causes •Early Calving •Stress •Low Calcium •Low Vitamin E •Low Vitamin A

Displaced Abomasums
• Left displaced abomasum (LDA) is most common in early lactation • Right displaced abomasum (RDA) occurs throughout lactation • Causes of LDA
– Primary – Secondary

• Causes of RDA -????

Lactic Acidosis
• = Grain Poisoning • Two forms
– Clinical – Subclinical

• Long-Term Consequences
– Liver Abscesses – Hoof Problems

Keys to Prevention & Minimising Impact of Metabolic Disease on your Herd •Ensure adequate nutrient intake •Provide adequate levels of vitamins & minerals •Early recognition of problems •Monitor body condition

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