Published Wednesday, 13th January 2016 in Veterinary Services news
SRUC experts are alerting farmers that in light of this winter’s extreme weather, there is an increased risk of their cows suffering from magnesium deficiency.
The condition is commonly known as grass staggers
and often affects grazing cattle in spring, but magnesium tetany can also
affect overwintered cows fed on silage.
condition leads to hyper-excitability, muscular spasms, convulsions,
respiratory distress, collapse, and even death,” says Veterinary Investigation
Officer George Caldow of SAC Consulting, part of SRUC. “Magnesium is essential
for metabolism and the requirement increases at times of stress. Furthermore
cattle rely on a steady intake of magnesium and heavy rainfall can interfere
with the normal food intake of cows so that magnesium intake becomes critical.”
have responded to the recent appalling weather by ensuring their often dry, pregnant
spring calvers, are well fed with big bale silage. Normally this is more than
adequate to meet a cow’s energy requirements and to allow her to cope with the
conditions but can often be insufficient to meet the cow’s specific
requirements for some vital minerals and vitamins.
cattle are well designed to withstand very low temperatures, they are less well
adapted to continuous rain which is what they have had to face over the last
four – five weeks,” comments George Caldow.
continual drain on their heat reserves when coupled with a deficiency of
magnesium can result magnesium tetany. While all producers are well aware
of the risk of tetany to cows suckling calves at grass in the spring, it is not
commonly expected in the middle of winter! Our advice is therefore for all
producers with outwintered stock, particularly cows, to ensure they are
adequately supplemented with a suitable magnesium supply daily.”
information please contact George Caldow on 01835 822 456, or at email@example.com.
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