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Treatment and control of an outbreak of fat cow syndrome in a large dairy herd
  1. AH Andrews,
  2. R Laven and
  3. I Maisey
  1. Department of Large Animal Medicine, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield.


An outbreak of fat cow syndrome occurred in a herd of 300 Friesian and Friesian/Holstein dairy cows calving predominantly between January and May. The herd came in off grass in good condition despite a long and hot summer. The dry cows received a diet of grass silage, brewing waste and minerals until the end of December, but the grass silage was butyric and was partially replaced by maize silage. By January 23, 16 of 70 calving cows (23 per cent) had appeared to suffer milk fever. Subsequent blood tests revealed that the cows may have been ketotic, and clinical and post mortem examination showed that they were probably suffering from fat cow syndrome. The freshly calved sick cows were treated with glucose, and corticosteroids were injected every second day into those which remained ill. The cattle had received a high energy diet, but the cows still to calve were placed on a diet of low metabolisable energy (77 MJ/cow) but adequate levels of undegradable protein. The problem was associated with a possible clostridial infection in two cows and with reduced fertility.

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