Evaluate and Treat Cows Early

Evaluate and Treat Cows Early

(Favor Fresh Cows and They'll Pay You Back, Dairy Herd Management, November 13, 2002)

"The advantage of an aggressive program like this is that you catch problems before they become full-blown fresh-cow diseases like milk fever, metritis and ketosis or the development of a DA. Often, by the time a cow acts sick — her appetite has dropped off, milk production has slipped and you note a generally depressed attitude — the afflicting malady has already taken hold, which makes corrective action more difficult and usually more expensive. Aggressive programs also monitor cows longer than the week or so that most dairies currently keep track of fresh cows. Research indicates that while many elevated temperatures appear within three to five days of calving, a significant number show up later in lactation. And not all of these fevers appear in cows that have had calving problems. "During our nine-month on-farm study, when fresh cows with fevers were treated early according to the protocol, these cows averaged 5.5 pounds more milk per day than fever cows not treated correctly over the first 90 days in milk," says Mark Kinsel, consulting veterinarian and president of Agricultural Information Management, Inc. Therefore, a thermometer is one of your major weapons in the fight against fresh-cow disease, since it provides a base from which most ensuing disease management decisions are made. You can create clear action points — like when temperatures fall below 101.5º and rise above 103º Fahrenheit — to build your protocols and offer guidance to herd managers."