Prevalence and risk factors associated with hypocalcemia in periparturient dairy cows in Thailand
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Milk fever is a clinical disorder in the periparturient period and is characterized by adaptations to the demands of lactation. The disease is life threatening itself and it is predisposing for several other disorders. It is an important disease, because of enormous economic consequences due to reduction in milk production, loss of animals and the treatment of the animals. In Thailand, milk fever is often observed among periparturient dairy cows, but data or reports concerning the status of blood calcium in periparturient dairy cows are limited. In this experiment the prevalence and the risk factors associated with hypocalcemia in periparturient dairy cows under Thai conditions are observed. The hypothesis that there may be some differences in importance in risk factors between western countries and Thailand is confirmed. Urine samples are collected to get information about the urine pH and therewith metabolic alkalosis. Also blood samples are taken to measure serum calcium before, during and after calving and the body condition score is observed. Questionnaires are used to collect data about feed and feeding management as well as pertinent data of cows and herds. Risk factors are discussed and low calcium intake and supplement of vitamin D seems to be the most important risk factors in Thailand. Also the intake of concentrate and roughage is important, probably because of association with low calcium intake. No correlation is found between urine pH and serum calcium value, which indicates DCAD (dietary cation-anion difference) is not important in Thailand.