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- When cows with metabolic disease go down, it may be difficult to get them on their feet again - they become ‘downer cows’.
- Usually the initial cause is milk fever, then either grass staggers or acetonaemia can develop as well. All three can occur together.
- Sometimes calving injuries can cause cows to go down (eg paralysis because of nerve damage in the pelvis).
- Once the cow has been down for a while, her body weight crushes her muscles and she may not be able to get back on her feet unaided, especially if she is heavily pregnant or very thin.
- Once a cow has gone down and can’t get up, it very is important to get veterinary attention right away.
- If hip clamps are used to get the cow on her feet, take care to prevent damage to the cow.
- Hip clamps should be padded if necessary and they should not be left on for more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
- Slings can be used for longer periods of time to help the cow recover.
- The longer the cow is down, the poorer her chances of getting up again.