Dr Phil Poulton from the Tarwin Vet Clinic in Leongatha, Gippsland spoke at a Farmchat day a couple of years ago. Phil has completed a PhD looking at nursing outcomes for Downer Cows. Phil had some key take-home messages to improve outcomes in the nursing of Downer Cows:
- Act early in the treatment of these animals
- Don’t leave them out in the elements – move them correctly into a protected area with soft bedding
- Give non-steroidal anti-inflammatory early, such as Tolfejec, Key or Meloxicam
- Ensure they have access to food and water
- Roll from side to side to relieve pressure on muscle tissue
He has found many animals suffer from secondary conditions like mastitis, hypothermia, dehydration & muscle damage which will generally be the cause of death rather than the primary condition. Lifting needs to be done with care - if using a set of hip clamps then a chest strap should also be used and move only short distances. Otherwise, the bucket of a front end loader is ideal.
Warrnambool Veterinary have developed an easy-to-use flow chart for the potential causes of Down Cows along with a Guide on the Care and Management of Downer Cows.
To order a copy of these valuable resources please contact the Farm Desk on 5561 7666 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.