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Cow died today

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gberry

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3 days after calving cow became very weak and couldn't stand. By the time the vet arrived (6 hours later) had already died. Vet felt this was likely grass tetany or milk fever and I think he may be right. We had an older cow get down about 2 weeks ago and he gave CPMK and she seems to be doing fine now. This cow looked fine yesterday.

I have 2 questions for anyone who cares to answer. First, can you send Calcium and Magnesium level after death and expect to get a reasonable level (the vet mentioned ocular fluid but didn't bother to offer to draw any levels)? Second, when he saw the cow 2 weeks ago he recommended changing to high mag mineral as we are grazing ryegrass. We had been giving Vigortone 35S mineral and switched to the high mag mineral by Vigortone but the cows don't eat it at the required levels. Any tips for getting them to eat more or any high mag brands that are more palatable?

Thanks for any advice.
 

Soapweed

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Mineral with magnesium is usually pretty bitter and the cows don't particularly enjoy eating it. The past few years we have added magnesium to our protein cubes ("cake"), and have better luck getting the cows to consume it in this fashion.
 

Faster horses

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I hope you are not putting out other salt with the 35SPL, because it contains enough salt already. If you are doing that, pull the salt entirely because you want them to eat the mineral. 35SPL is what we recommend during tetany time and we don't see any problem with them eating it.

Please let me know if you are feeding salt. If you have had them on this mineral, you shouldn't be getting grass tetnany. What other feed are they getting and what kind of grass are they on or are you feeding them something? I need to know this in order to help and will be looking for your reply.

We just dont' have problems with 35SPLMG as far as consumption unless there is salt out too.

Vigortone 3V4MG contains very little salt. That might be an option. Do you have a lot of salt in your ground or forage, do you see white where water has been?
 

gberry

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Thanks for the replies. We don't feed any other salt and I would guess the consumption of the high mag mineral is about 1/8th or less of the 35S mineral. We feed the mineral in a covered feeder near water and we've had about 10 pounds in it for the last 5 or 6 days that 40 brood cows haven't put a noticeable dent in.

They are mainly getting annual ryegrass pasture and old standing bermuda. A few range cubes to call them up and before the ryegrass came on they got a few pounds of cotton seed a day (none now). I don't think we have particularly high salt content. They sure eat the 35S without problem.

I'm not sure that the problem is grass tetany but the vet seems convinced that it is that or milk fever. Of course the cow was dead for 4 hours before he arrived. That being said the cow 2 weeks ago definitely responded to an infusion of electrolytes.

Does anyone know if you can send ocular fluid post-mortem for Ca and Mg levels? The vet mentioned this in passing but really didn't seem as interested in knowing the definite cause as I was. I have access to a lab and getting the test run would not be a problem, I just don't know if it is useful.

Thanks again for the replies.
 

PPRM

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Traveling thru the Northwest a few weeks ago, it was warming up. Atr a couple of feeedstores, guys were coming in getting stuff for staggering cattle. Some of it was ear infections, but it got me to thinking, this year is very different than the last few and different stressors. I out out High Mag Mineral to get ahead of it and I can't hardly keep it in front of them. Was funny, back in November and early December, tyhe cows barely touched the mineral, now they are gangbusters on it.

I have seen some stumbly/knuckling over 5 wieghts go thru the sale and some ear infected cattle as well....Like I said, high moisture winter up here is very different stressors than what we are used to...


BTW, the High Mag seems to have drawn the cold as well. So much for getting ahead of fast grass, LOL,


PPRM
 

kolanuraven

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Living in the South... this time of year when grass is just showing and is fresh.....cows calving.....your's died of grass tetany..I'll bet $$$$ on it for sure.

Here in GA we keep out Hi mag mineral blox a bit before calving....all through calving and for a while afterwards also. It seems to also help the calves avoid scours. I can say that because since we've followed this program I've not had one case of calf scours in 18 yrs. Now I bet I've jinxed myself for sure!!!

I have rye grass and clover showing now and tetany will kill a cow right before your eyes. If you are able to notice if her skin is jerky and jumpy and the vet can do ocular fluid tests but he's probably seen enough cases to call it as he sees it.

This time of year tetany is the biggest threat in this part of the world
 

Nicky

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BTW, the High Mag seems to have drawn the cold as well. So much for getting ahead of fast grass, LOL,

Ah Ha, so it's YOUR fault :wink: I've never heard of a cow with an ear infection?
 

Faster horses

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If you haven't heard of an ear infection in cattle, you are one of the lucky ones. We used to get it terrible. The vet in W. Montana told us it was Pasturella when a calf had one dropped ear. We have since found that is not what it is. It is an ear infection and can be hard to get rid of. Sometimes it will even break and run and you will see it on the side of the calfs head.

As I mentioned, it is hard to get rid of. Keeping the immune system healthy is the best way to prevent it. We very seldom see it anymore, whereas it used to be a regular occurance.
 

Kate/wy

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It is best you keep a shot of cal mag, on hand to give a cow that goes down. If you don't have that ready, you can place a handful of Epsom Salt in the south end of a cow headed north, in the port next to the tail. Only use if nothing else is immediately available. One can't get mag into the bloodstream fast enough thru the gut. It is not the best route but you have little to loose in an emergency.
 

gberry

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The lab can run the test but its a hospital lab and they can't help me interpret the result. A vet on another forum said that this would be a valid test for post mortem examination. Results showed calcium low at 5.8 mg/dl and magnesium normal (I believe) at 2.4 mg/dl. Looks like it may have been milk fever, but I'm still waiting for a response from the vet about the results.
 

George

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In this area I kep telling my lime customers that if they have any brood cattle they need to really look at the magnesium levels in their soil test. I can provide high mag lime at little extra cost and it really helps - - - it is not a replacement for a good mineral program for the cattle but works hand in hand in a total management program.

You would be suprised how many people have never limed their pastures or if they do they don't know that lime comes in many different formulas.

In this area to get hi mag lime it is brown where the hi cal is snow white. I delivered 340 tons to a local farmer that needed ho mag lime and after I took the first load had me bring the hi cal instead as the hi mag looked ugly in the piles in his field. I ask him what was more important the looks of the pile or the way it worked - - - he stated he was the customer and bring the white so I did.
 

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