During the 12 months commencing July 1976 the animals in a herd of 400 Friesian cows which were carrying their second or later calf were injected intramuscularly with either microgram of 1alpha-hydroxycholecalciferol in 5 ml aqueous carrier or with 5 ml of carrier. The injections were randomised so that 135 of the 269 injected cows received the drug and 134 received the carrier solution. Ten of the experimental group (7.4 per cent) and 22 of the control group (16.4 per cent) had to be treated for milk fever, (P less than 0.08). The protective effect was greatest, (P less than 0.001), when the cows calved between one and eight days after injection of the drug.
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