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Subclinical hypocalcemia in dairy cattle: treatment and preventive management

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Authors: R. Muiño, B. Bueno y J.L. Benedito
Issue: 114-3 (259-279)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: Dairy cows, period of transition, subclinical hypocalcemia, total serum calcium, prevention

Hypocalcemia is the most prevalent metabolic disease in high-yielding cows. Some authors place it around 65% (Martinez et al., 2012) and 78% (Rodríguez et al., 2017), in the period near parturition. The development of the subclinical disease can occur between 24 hours prior to parturition and 40 hours after it. It is due to a decrease in total serum calcium (below 8.5 mg/dl). Moreover, the homeostatic mechanisms available in the organism are not able to reestablish the plasmatic levels of this mineral. This metabolic disease has consequences on the production and on the health of the herd. The decrease of this metabolite results in a cascade of diseases which causes significant losses in the farm account. The diagnosis of this pathology takes place in the herd by measuring the total serum calcium in blood in dairy cows that are in period of transition. This has contributed to the fact that most of the issued studies are aimed at testing a nutritional model, molecule or pharmacological substance that contributes to decreasing the prevalence of subclinical hypocalcemia. The goal of this study has been to evaluate the results obtained in different papers published, in order to establish the best preventive strategy of subclinical hypocalcemia. It also aims at introducing the most recent investigations developed in this area.

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