Downer cow syndrome
This syndrome is a common sequel to milk fever. The term is commonly applied to those hypocalcaemic cows that remain recumbent for several hours before being treated or unable to stand despite the treatment. Clinically these cows are normal except for external recumbency and most of them eat and drink normally. Downers cows, which are able to crawl actively may have more favourable prognosis and are referred to as ‘Creepers’. Some of the downer cows are anorectic and lay in lateral recumbency with dorsally extended head and neck. These animals some time assume ‘frog-legged’ posture. Besides milk fever, other causes of recumbency can also result in ‘downer cow syndrome’. The temperature of downer cows may be slightly elevated and blood examination shows low inorganic phosphorous, potassium or glucose.
Downer cows may be treated with fluid therapy and solutions containing calcium, phosphorous and potassium. Deep bedding and frequent rolling from one side to other are recommended to check sores. Downer cows that attempt to stand on their own should be assisted in their efforts. Lifting devices are also available to assist downer cows to stand. However, cows with uncomplicated form of downer cow syndrome secondary to milk fever will stand in 12-24 hours.