Posted By: Rob - Farm Vet

Spring is almost here !


Everyone is glad the rain has stopped, and the sun has started to show itself. I have seen lots of cows out grazing now and a few clients cutting silage. We have been busier with lambing’s, calving’s and Tb testing as you would expect for this time of year. We have also got going on the Animal Health and Welfare reviews which has been a great chance to do some on farm investigations, visits so far include trace element monitoring, A.I refresher and fertility investigations, mastitis and calf health.

This time of year commonly coincides with an increase in cows with left displaced abomasum (LDA). The transition period from 2 weeks pre calving to 4 weeks postcalving is the major risk period in the development of an LDA. Feed intakes are depressed pre calving, and increase slowly after calving causing lower rumen fill, this can be combined with a reduced forage to concentrate ratio as the diet changes and an increased incidence in other diseases around calving such as milk fever and metritis. 80-90% of LDAs are diagnosed within 1 month of calving.

Higher LDA rates can be associated with high levels of subclinical ketosis. Risk factors for ketosis include; increasing age, higher body condition score at calving (BCS 3.25 and over), season of calving, previous lactation length and dry period length. High risk cows will benefit from a Kexxtone bolus 3-4 weeks prior to calving.

LDAs are commonly corrected at the practice using the Laparoscope or using a toggle. Most farmers are very familiar with the correction of an LDA and corresponding antibiotics/pain relief, but the aftercare afterwards can be equally as important. A 2011 UK research trial took blood samples from cows diagnosed with an LDA. When a cow was diagnosed with an LDA another cow that was calved a similar length of time was blood sampled and the results compared. Cows with an LDA were lower in Magnesium, Calcium, typically dehydrated and more likely to be ketotic. These cows would benefit from 35-40 litres of oral fluids and electrolytes. An American trial also showed that cows with more severe ketosis had a better recovery rate when Propylene glycol was extended from 3 to 5 days. Targeted cows also had a higher ketosis recovery rate with 3 days Vigophos. Cows with fatty liver will also benefit from a Cholevite bolus.

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