The Down Cow
The definition of a 'down' cow varies but perhaps the simplest one is "a cow that is recumbent (lying down) and unable to stand". The 'downer' cow is a cow that is recumbent for more than 24 hours, often remaining bright and alert but being unable to stand due to secondary damage from prolonged recumbency.
There are many causes of prolonged recumbency which can be broadly categorised into one of four groups:
1. Metabolic: milk fever, hypomag (staggers), protein-energy deficiency.
2. Musculo-skeletal: calving paralysis, nerve damage (front or hind limb), hip dislocation, pelvic or leg fracture, back injury.
3. Acute systemic illness: toxic mastitis, grain overload, salmonellosis.
4. Miscellaneous: dystocia, nitrate poisoning, being cast.
Read our full newsletter from Cathy Morris here, in which we also discuss Lungworm and Scour.