Have you ever considered how much water an adult cow requires? On average an adult cow needs at least 40L of water per day - this is usually double if lactating!
Many diseases will result in reduced water intake causing dehydration. Dehydration in turn causes the cow to eat less which leads to further issues. Freshly calved cows are also at risk of dehydration due to not drinking during the calving period. Rehydration therapy should always be considered in the treatment plans of sick cows. It is also essential to supplement nutrients and electrolytes to provide the best outcome for the cow.
Fortunately, there are various products on the market, vets and farmers can use these in different situations to provide the correct treatment. I have detailed the options below:
Freshly calved cows
Freshly calved cows are very vulnerable to multiple conditions post calving such as milk fever, ketosis and LDAs. Supplementing with calcium and a source of energy will help reduce these risks. Giving a freshly calved cow 1 sachet of Selekt Fresh cow in at least 20 litres of water (other products are available) within the first 6 hours of calving will help in a variety of ways. The active ingredient - calcium propionate - will supplement both calcium in the blood but also provides a source of energy (reducing the risk of ketosis). It also contains a small amount of magnesium which again helps calcium mobilisation in the body. As well as correcting any electrolyte abnormalities, giving the cow 20+ litres of water will maintain her feed intake and reduce the risk of LDAs and ketosis.
Some freshly calved dairy cows may also benefit from glycerol supplementation. Glycerol or propylene glycol are used as an energy source, so the cow doesn't have to utilise her own body fat (when this happens, she is at risk of ketosis).
Cows off their feed
Often when a cow is ill, going 'off her feed' is the first sign we see. If we can spot this early and intervene it is much easier to get her appetite back on track, which gives her the best chance of fighting off whatever the infection is. In this case, giving an off-feed sachet may help stimulate appetite as well as provide vital electrolytes. It also contains calcium propionate like fresh cow HOWEVER it contains a high proportion of potassium which should not be used in freshly calved cows.
It is important to use only 1 sachet of fresh cow on freshly calved cows and only 1 sachet of off feed when cows are not eating (never use the 2 together or give 2 sachets of the same product at the same time!)
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