Field trial of two calcium supplements on early lactation health and production in multiparous Holstein cows
Keywords:Subclinical hypocalcemia, dairy cattle, hyperketonemia, retained placenta, postpartum, animal well-being, calcium
Subclinical hypocalcemia is a common and costly metabolic disorder of dairy cows in the early postpartum period and has been associated with hyperketonemia, displaced abomasum, retained placenta, metritis and mastitis, decreased reproductive performance, and decreased milk production. Prevention of subclinical hypocalcemia thus represents a sizable opportunity for avoiding other postpartum diseases in dairy cows, thereby improving animal well-being and farm economics. To our knowledge, oral and injectable calcium supplements have not been compared in a field trial on a commercial dairy. Our objectives were to 1) observe serum Ca concentrations in the first 48 h postpartum in cows supplemented with oral Ca or subcutaneous Ca and nonsupplemented cows and 2) evaluate the association of these supplements with diagnosis of metritis, displaced abomasum, mastitis, and early lactation disease (any of the diseases milk fever, retained placenta, metritis, or displaced abomasum), removal from the herd, pregnancy to first insemination, and average d milk yield by wk for the first 10 wk of lactation.