Why does a cow eat poorly after calving: what to do, reasons

Why does a cow eat poorly after calving: what to do, reasons

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Cases when a cow does not eat well after calving are much more common than their owners would like. The reasons can be different, but lack of appetite immediately after the birth of a calf most often means a postpartum complication.

Why does a cow eat poorly after calving?

The reasons for refusing to feed in all cases are the same: infectious inflammation or problems with the gastrointestinal tract. But most often the cow does not eat after calving due to various postpartum complications:

  • maternity paresis (postpartum hypocalcemia);
  • eating the afterbirth;
  • endometritis;
  • postpartum sepsis;
  • vestibulovaginitis;
  • birth canal injuries;
  • diseases of the udder.

It is not uncommon for cows to stop eating after calving due to ketosis or postpartum hemoglobinuria.

Milk fever

Postpartum hypocalcemia, this phenomenon is called because the cause of the disease is considered to be a decrease in blood sugar and calcium levels. This drop is caused by an increase in insulin secreted by the pancreas.

Among the symptoms of paresis, food refusal as such is absent. But in some cases, the cow paralyzes not only the hind legs, but also the tongue with the pharynx, and tympania also develops. In such cases, she is unable to eat.

Other signs of paresis include:

  • anxiety;
  • tremors of the muscles;
  • staggering when trying to get up;
  • low body temperature;
  • hoarse, rare breath;
  • curvature of the neck;
  • the urge to lie.

As a first aid for hypocalcemia, the sacrum and loin of the cow are rubbed with burlap and wrapped warmly. The animal requires intravenous calcium supplements, so call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Sometimes a cow eats poorly after calving, simply because she cannot stand up, and there is no feed within reach

Eating the afterbirth

For ruminants, this is unusual, but sometimes the cow eats the afterbirth after calving. Unsuitable food can cause intoxication and tympanic symptoms. If the owner did not keep track, and the animal ate the afterbirth, laxatives are prescribed to him to clear the stomach.


This is an inflammation of the lining of the uterus, but because of it, general intoxication of the body develops, and the cow stops eating. The causes of endometritis are complications during calving. Disturbances in feeding and keeping cows predispose to the latter.

Endometritis symptoms - corresponding discharge from the vulva. After the inflammation develops and causes intoxication, signs of sepsis appear:

  • scar atony;
  • exhaustion;
  • diarrhea;
  • poor appetite;
  • rapid pulse and breathing.

Treatment consists of flushing the uterus with disinfectant solutions and intramuscular or intravenous antibiotics.

Attention! Rectal massage of the uterus is permissible only in the absence of intoxication.

Postpartum sepsis

The consequence of the ingestion of coccal forms of microorganisms into the blood. After calving, the general immunity of the animal is often reduced, and the protective barriers of the genital organs are weakened. Predisposing factors:

  • damage to the tissues of the organs of the reproductive system during calving;
  • prolapse of the uterus;
  • pathological or difficult labor;
  • delayed afterbirth.

Sepsis can be of three types. In cows, pyemia is the most common: sepsis with metastases.

Common signs of all 3 types:

  • oppression;
  • constipation or diarrhea;
  • the animal does not eat well;
  • cardiac arrhythmia;
  • weak pulse;
  • shallow rapid breathing.

With pyemia, fluctuations in body temperature are observed.

During treatment, first of all, the primary focus is surgically treated and antimicrobial drugs are applied to it. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are used.


Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the vestibule of the vagina. The trigger is most often also organ damage during calving and pathological microflora trapped in open wounds. Therapy is most often local, with the use of disinfectants.

Birth canal injuries

Can be spontaneous and violent. The first ones arise in the upper part of the uterus due to too strong tension in the walls. The second is the result of human intervention in a difficult hotel. Usually obtained when organs are damaged by an obstetric instrument, a rope, with too much traction. Through damage, pathogenic microorganisms that cause sepsis enter the bloodstream.

In severe calving, not only the organs of the reproductive system can be injured, but also other parts of the body.

Udder diseases

Mastitis and udder edema also cause the cow to eat poorly after calving. Because of the pain. Mastitis can be traumatic or infectious. Accordingly, treatment also differs. In case of traumatic injuries, the affected lobe and nipple are gently massaged, often and gradually milk is removed. With infectious diseases, antibiotics are indispensable.

Edema after calving occurs quite often and often disappears without treatment for 8-14 days. If the swelling persists, the cow is limited to drinking. You can gently massage the udder using moisturizing ointments or creams.


It can occur not only after calving, but at any time if the cow eats too much protein feed. Poor appetite in ketosis is explained by poisoning and hypotension of the proventriculus in a mild form of the disease. When severe, the animal cannot eat at all. Atony of the scar, disturbances in the work of the gastrointestinal tract, and high acidity of urine are observed.

To diagnose and further treat ketosis, you need to see your doctor. From drugs, glucose, hormonal drugs, sodium propionate are used.

Postpartum hemoglobinuria

The disease is predominantly high-yielding cows. It develops during the first 3 weeks after calving.

The causes of the occurrence are not well understood. Presumably this is feeding with high-protein feed with a lack of phosphorus and lack of exercise.

The initial stage of the disease is characterized by:

  • poor appetite;
  • oppression;
  • hypotension of the proventriculus;
  • fever;
  • upset gastrointestinal tract;
  • decrease in milk yield.

Later, the urine turns dark cherry color. It contains a lot of protein and hemoglobin. Ketone and urobilin bodies are present.

Since mainly cows are susceptible to hemoglobinuria after calving with a lack of exercise, they rely on these signs when making a diagnosis:

  • stall period;
  • the first weeks after calving.

For treatment, first of all, the diet is revised and it is balanced according to the ratio of calcium and phosphorus. Orally give sodium bicarbonate 80-100 g per day twice a day.

Attention! The drug is soldered in a 5-10% aqueous solution.

The course of treatment usually takes 3-4 days. After that, the cow bounces back.

It is also not worth bringing the cow to the state of the skeleton so that she does not develop hemoglobinuria after calving.

What to do if a cow does not eat after calving

First of all, you need to establish an accurate diagnosis. With postpartum paresis, the process develops very quickly, and treatment should be started at the first signs of the disease. The same goes for hemoglobinuria.

Of course, one should not delay with the treatment of other problems. But they develop more slowly, and there is little time to call the veterinarian.

It is optimal for any complications after calving to pierce the cow with a course of a broad-spectrum antibiotic: penicillin and tetracycline groups. It was almost certainly an infection in the wounds. The uterus and vagina must be irrigated with disinfectant solutions.

Preventive actions

Prevention mainly consists of a balanced diet before calving. A cow should not be too fat, but lack of weight is bad for her health. In the second half of pregnancy, the animal should walk a lot, calmly moving around the corral. Walking is often difficult in winter conditions, but trained abdominal muscles make calving easier. If a birth injury is suspected, a course of antibiotics is punctured.


The cow does not always eat poorly after calving due to the fault of the owners. Sometimes difficult births occur because the calf is very large. There are also premature calving, when the uterus unexpectedly comes from a walk with the newborn. But providing animals with a full diet and good living conditions is the owner's responsibility.

Watch the video: Caring for the Cow Post Calving (January 2023).

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