Milk fever can occur in many types of livestock and animals. We have personally experienced it with a few cows, a goat, and a dog.
It normally occurs after the birthing process/end of pregnancy, when the animal begins to lactate. (Making milk to feed it’s young.)
The cause of milk fever, is a depletion of the blood calcium and magnesium levels too quickly. The animal’s reserves, of these minerals, are not high enough to both sustain it’s life and the life of it’s young, through the mineral output of the milk.
The best prevention for milk fever, and many, many other ‘diseases’, is to have the animal’s mineral levels, at the right levels in the first place. This is especially true, when approaching the birthing process.
In livestock you can keep their minerals up by having them graze, so they can get what they can from the land and plants. You should also have their loose mineral supplements available free choice. They know their needs, and they will take what they need once they become accustomed to the system.
We try to have following available to them:
Kelp, for iodine and trace minerals
Dolomite, for calcium and magnesium
Sulfur, for assimilation of selenium, external parasite prevention, and coat health
Copper, for internal parasite prevention, immune system, white blood cell and antioxidant production
Redmond salt. helps maintain weight and appetite, while also providing trace minerals.
When your animals have the correct levels of minerals, you are blessed with a lot less dis-ease. If your soils, or the soil your hay is grown on, is known to be deficient in certain minerals, make sure they have access to that mineral. Also, be sure to remineralize your pastures and hay fields.
–What about Mankind?–
It is the same with our own health. Dis-ease, is just that; your body is not at ease. God says He made us from the dust of the Earth.
“And Yehovah, God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
Disease comes from deficiency in one or more minerals. Our bodies do not have a drug deficiency, so when we take drugs, they don’t fix the dis-ease of our bodies. They often times just mask the problem, and then cause side effects. With these side effects, come more drugs to “help” with those side effects. This is not a true solution to the problem.
We are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14
Our body was made from the dust, which is made of minerals, and they all have their function in the process of our bodies.
–Calcium and Magnesium–
Calcium and magnesium are the most important minerals, especially in prevention of Milk Fever.
This is very important before, during, and after a pregnancy and lactation.
Be alert and especially watchful of your animals’ health always, so you will notice any changes in behavior that might alert you to an issue or mineral deficiency. This is ALWAYS important, but even more so towards to end of a pregnancy. There are big demands on the animals body, as it is both sustaining itself and their young. The last stage of pregnancy, is also, when the baby grows the most.
Plus, their body is preparing to nourish their young with milk! This takes a lot of minerals, and if they don’t have them, they can’t give them.
God says this, and, if we obey Him, we can save ourselves loss, pain, and suffering for our animals.
We now feed our livestock organic alfalfa pellets, along with a small amount of other mixed grains (oats, wheat, corn, etc.) in the final stages of pregnancy. This also helps with keeping up the minerals, as well as providing extra nourishment and reserves for the lactation.
Since we have been doing the above things, we have not had our animals suffer any milk fever, although our soils are very poor.
–Signs and Symptoms of Milk Fever–
There are several signs of Milk Fever, the most common are listed below.
(In dogs, it may seem like just a prolonged continuance of labor signs- however; she will not be visibly contracting, or giving birth to more pups.)
Many books will tell you to give Propylene Glycol. While this helps instantly, it only offers temporary relief. While it raises the blood sugars, it DOES NOT address the mineral deficiency, which started the disease in the first place.
We start treating, by giving B Vitamin shots to stimulate the appetite. This is VERY important! In our experience, once they get ‘down’ you probably won’t be able to get them to take in anything, including mineral. We then offer all the hay they can eat, with molasses on it.
We gave NutriDrench, according to the dosage on the bottle, 3x daily. It contains many vitamins and minerals. We give this with a syringe, right into their mouth.
It is important to give them all the kelp they can eat. This was the most effective home treatment we found. It is FULL of minerals.
Calcium Gluconate, in IV form (our vet administered) helped both of our cows, more than anything else. This must be given slowly, as to not stop the heart from beating. It must be followed by magnesium for maximum effectiveness.
With our cows, this helped within 48hrs.
With our goat, we gave calcium, in the form of Natural Vitality’s ‘CALM’ Plus Calcium, with water, in a drench, and she ate all the kelp she wanted. Plus dolomite/molasses mixed in with her feed, once the appetite returned. This ‘cured’ her in about 6 hours.
With dogs, being sure they have the minerals can be a little more tricky- since they don’t eat hay or graze. (Like ourselves) Although, sometimes, our dogs will eat a little grass. 🙂 Our dogs have never wanted loose mineral in the above forms. So, we try to ensure their levels are right, by feeding them raw milk, raw scraps from our home butchering, and soup bones.
We only dealt with it once with one of our dogs, she was very restless. Once we realized the cause, we treated her with the following. Since then, have not had this issue reoccur. We give our female dogs these things every time they have a litter.
We treated her with:
All the bone broth she would drink
Nutritional Yeast (for the B vitamins)
Black Strap Molasses (for the iron)
Yogurt, and raw milk
This cleared her up, (and she went to sleep!) in about 3 hours.
Remember “prevention is better than a cure”. So, keep up those minerals in yourself and your animals.