Evaluation of a cow-side calcium test for determination of subclinical hypocalcemia in early postpartum cows
Keywords:hypocalcemia, dairy cattle, milk production, ionized calcium, postpartum disease
Clinical hypocalcemia is an important and prevalent metabolic disease of dairy cows. Subclinical hypocalcemia (SCH) has been defined as animals that do not have clinical signs, but serum concentrations of either total calcium <2.2 mmol/L or ionized calcium (iCa) <1 mmol/L. Recent work has shown that SCH in the first week of lactation is associated with reduced milk production and increased risk of displaced abomasum. Currently, various calcium products are marketed to maintain blood calcium levels. A rapid cow-side iCa test would allow targeted treatment of cows with SCH. The primary objective was to evaluate the performance of a new cow-side blood calcium meter for test characteristics and usability in the field. Additionally, we aimed to describe the relationship of SCH at different time points with postpartum diseases, including hoof lesions.