Factors Affecting the Success Rate of Treatment of Recumbent Dairy Cows Suffering from Hypocalcaemia


Department for Farm Animals and Herd Management, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria


We aimed to investigate the ratio of accompanying diseases in cows suffering from clinical hypocalcaemia and their influence on cure rate. In five veterinary practices in different regions of Germany, all recumbent cows around parturition were included in the study for a period of 1 year. After recording the case history a clinical examination was done and a serum sample was taken to measure the concentrations of calcium and phosphorus magnesium, β-hydroxybutyrate, total bilirubin, cholesterol, urea, and the activities of ASAT, CK, and GLDH. Only cows with hypocalcaemia entered the statistical analysis. Hypocalcaemia was the major cause of recumbency in cows of the second lactation or elder. Muscle damage was the second frequent diagnose in recumbent cows and the major concomitant disease in hypocalcaemic cows. The overall cure rate was between 89.4% and 94.8%. Calcium and phosphorus concentrations did not have an influence on cure rate. Non-cured cows had higher serum activities of CK (p<0.043) and ASAT (p<0.006). Nevertheless, the activities of CK and ASAT were no good predictors of treatment failure because of their low specificity and the high cure rate of the cows in the five practices.