Postpartum paresis in a cow: symptoms, treatment and prevention


Calving along with the long-awaited appearance of a calf often brings a lot of veterinary problems, one of which is postpartum paresis in cows. This functional impairment of the nervous system is also called a coma of dairy cows. It proceeds sharply, appears unexpectedly. It leads to paralysis of individual organs of the animal. The economic losses from postpartum paresis are very significant, since in one case out of five the disease ends in the death or slaughter of the animal. Recovered cows reduce milk yield by several liters per day and become more susceptible to various diseases.

How does the pathological condition

Postpartum paresis in a cow begins with general weakness caused by impaired nerve functions. The development of the disease leads to loss of consciousness, inability to control the limbs, intestinal paralysis and bladder. In the blood of a cow, the concentration of sugar and calcium sharply decreases, that is, a state of hypoglycemia and hypocalcemia occurs. As a result, malfunction of the pancreas, and then the thyroid, parathyroid and parathyroid glands.

In addition to endocrine dysfunctions during labor, there is an overload of the nervous system, which receives impulses from the receptors of the sexual apparatus and organs involved in the mechanism of calving. Thus, cow paresis is a pathology in which the most important peripheral links fall out of the regulation of metabolism, which can be fatal.

When to sound the alarm

Careful observation of the cow allows you to notice the symptoms of this pathological condition. If the animal after calving looks too weak and helpless, you should pay attention to the first signs of a possible postpartum paresis in cows:

  • loss of appetite and lack of gum;
  • rough, unsteady gait;
  • teeth grinding;
  • head-to-side shake;
  • twitching or muscle tension;
  • cold feet and horns;
  • blurred eyes, tears;
  • swelling of the veins on the udder;
  • lack of milk;
  • hoarse breathing.

A very characteristic first sign is the fact that after the birth of a calf, the blood pressure of a cow does not drop in the first 14 hours, as it usually happens in a healthy animal. However, this symptom usually remains unnoticed.

After some time, hypoglycemia and hypocalcemia lead to a pronounced clinical picture of the disease. The cow can no longer move independently and even keep its head. The weakness of the tongue and larynx caused by paralysis makes swallowing impossible, the tongue falling out. Atony of the pancreas stops the bowel and bladder. Partial or complete paralysis sets in.

First Aid

In the acute phase of the generic paresis, the cow after calving has a characteristic posture: lying on its stomach with legs stretched to its side, the cow unnaturally arches the neck with the letter S and drops her head helplessly on the chest. Does not respond to needle prick. In the absence of help, the chances of surviving an animal are small — 70% of the cows die.

What to do if avoiding complications in a cow after calving failed, and the symptoms of lactic coma are evident? For a long time, postpartum paresis became the cause of mass death among the best representatives of cattle. Today, many technologies have been developed that allow cows to be removed from this pathological condition.

Remedial care begins with the introduction of medical drugs. Usually you need to do several injections at once:

  • calcium chloride solution (300 ml, intravenously);
  • 40% glucose solution (intravenously);
  • vitamin D2 (intramuscularly);
  • magnesium sulfate (40 ml, intramuscularly);
  • caffeine sodium benzoate (15 ml, subcutaneously).

For the same purpose, complex ready-made solutions are produced: Kamagsol or Glitch. As a rule, improvement occurs after the first injection. With ancestral paresis, there is very little time for making decisions. Therefore, it is necessary to start treating a cow as soon as possible.

Salvation from the disease - a century ago

Usually, veterinarians combine drug treatment with other procedures. One of the effective methods used to rescue a cow has been known since the end of the 19th century. The Schmidt method is the first method of eliminating maternity paresis in cattle. The procedure is to pump air into the cow udder through the milk ducts. Air injection is made either by a special Everas device, or (at home) by a simple bicycle pump.

Before the procedure, milk is maximized. Carefully sterilize the hands, instruments and nipples of the cow. Then the air is blown smoothly and gently alternately into each of the channels, trying to completely straighten the folds to the udder. Forcing air must be accompanied by a light massage. Carefully ensure that the udder is not too tight. For control, tap on it with your finger. A sound like a knock on an inflated cheek is a sign to stop.

Then the nipples are bandaged and left for 30 minutes. In this procedure, it is important to find a middle ground, otherwise it will be either useless or cause additional injury. Paralysis will not immediately. The first improvements can be expected within half an hour. If the muscle control does not return within 6-8 hours, the procedure is repeated again.

Another remedy is milk therapy.

The mechanism of removal of paralysis by the Schmidt method is based on unlocking the nervous system through the effects on receptors in the parenchyma of the breast. Instead of air, you can pump a cow udder with fresh milk from another cow.

The task of the procedure is the same - to fill the udder to the limit, so that each part of it becomes taut and elastic. This method also brings good results. Within an hour, the muscles will begin to contract again. If this does not happen, repeat everything from the beginning.

These procedures combine the availability and simplicity of the technique with high efficiency. There is an opinion that the Schmidt method is inexpedient, since it can lead to mastitis and recurrence of the disease. Nevertheless, at present he has ousted all the others and is considered the most productive.

How to care for a cow during treatment

Postpartum paresis is acute, difficult. The body temperature drops, the cow needs to be warmed - first by rubbing the whole body, then by covering. Under a warm blanket it is good to put any heating pad.

The torment of constipation and the inability to urinate can be alleviated with warm enemas, catheter or massage. The mammary glands are massaged with camphor oil.

In difficult cases, when the threat of tympania occurs, it is necessary to make a scar puncture and introduce a trocar to remove excess gases and avoid asphyxiation. Tympanol is administered through a trocar to enhance the therapeutic effect.

Milking a cow is possible only if the condition has improved, after a couple of hours. Subsequently, milking should be regular - every 12-24 hours.

In a state of postpartum paresis, under no circumstances should the cow be given medicines or other fluids through the mouth. With paralysis of swallowing muscles and tongue, they will fall into the lungs, which may result in emphysema.

When the disease manifests itself

The risk of developing milk coma exists for a limited period of time — three days after the birth of a calf. In very rare cases, this happens after a couple of weeks or a couple of months. Another very rare form of the disease - apathetic paresis - manifests itself directly during childbirth and leads to a partial or complete arrest of the uterine labor. In this case, the first signs will be noticeable a week before calving.

Apathetic paresis does not appear so dramatically: the animal may simply be very sluggish, but able to rise to its feet. The temperature drops slightly or remains normal. At the same time, the picture will be deceptive: the apathetic form of paresis cannot be treated. If a cow does not cope on her own, then it is considered that there is nothing to help her with. In this case, only one out of 10 cows survives.

In some cows, postpartum paresis occurs systematically after each calving.

What can lead to the development of pathology

The etiology of maternity paresis in cows is not exactly known. However, an analysis of the data made it possible to note that this state is almost not found among outbred domesticated cows. Usually, the most prosperous by external indicators cattle is subject to such a disease. These are cows that:

  • are at the peak of milk production (5-8 calving);
  • receiving concentrated protein feed;
  • giving high yields

A concomitant factor can be any cold during or on the eve of calving.

Care should be taken to look after cows who have undergone rapid and easy delivery, is another risk factor.

During practical experiments with increased insulin intake, the researchers observed very similar symptoms. Therefore, the launch of postpartum coma can also trigger the enhanced work of the pancreas, which is responsible for the production of this hormone.

Thus, the prevention of dairy coma in cows is aimed at maintaining a normal endocrine background and a good metabolism in the body.

Internal causes of postpartum complications

Highly productive cows are more likely to suffer from postpartum paresis, because with hypocalcemia, high milk yield means increased leaching of already deficient calcium along with milk.

Low blood sugar levels are also considered to be the cause of the disease - the parathyroid gland is disturbed. The generic process is associated with high nervous tension for the cow. This circumstance may be the last in the chain of functional disorders, so the disease is associated with calving. Researchers also find a genetic predisposition for the development of dairy coma in cattle. It plays an unbalanced carbon and protein metabolism. Hence the problems of cattle receiving protein concentrates and little walkable. Thus, the prerequisites for dangerous pathology are created in advance, which is why prevention of paresis in cows, especially large and high-milder ones, is so important.

We reduce the risk of pathology

How to protect your darling from the problems if she is at risk? Prevention of postpartum paresis involves the elimination of all adverse factors. Immediately after the birth of the calf, it is necessary to give the cow a warm saline solution. Be sure to exclude highly concentrated and succulent feed from the cow's diet long before the expected calving. And on the eve to include in the feed feed containing minerals, such as bone meal.

Sugar water is useful for the last week (300-500 g per liter). And of course, it is necessary to strictly protect the animal from drafts and to ensure daily walking in good weather.

In short, measures to prevent postpartum paresis should begin to take long before the expected calving.

If a postpartum paresis treatment in a cow is carried out correctly and on time, then it will rise to its feet within a few hours. Weakness and lethargy will recede, appetite will appear. In the next few days, you should carefully monitor the condition of the cow - relapses are possible.

For a long time, the state of the dairy coma was considered hopeless. Now competent treatment and prevention help to keep the livestock of cattle.

Have you had to deal with postpartum paresis in cows? Tell us about it in the comments.

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