Blood Calcium Levels Below 5.5 mg/dl

Cows with clinical hypocalcemia often appear weak, are unable to stand, and can have twitching ears.

The sudden onset of milk and colostrum production before calving causes some cows to have difficulty absorbing enough calcium from their diet or from their bones to maintain adequate blood calcium levels. Elevated levels of potassium and sodium (cations), and low levels of chloride and sulfur (anions) limit the cows' ability to maintain normal blood calcium levels. A cow with total blood calcium below 5.5 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) would be considered to have clinical milk fever.

Blood Calcium Level 8.0 mg/dl or higher

The diagnostic standard for normal blood calcium concentration in cows is 8.0 mg/dl. A cow with blood calcium of 8.0 mg/dl or higher on day of calving would be considered to have with enough calcium to maintain normal body functions. However, recent research has revealed that even higher levels of blood calcium on day of calving may be related to improvements in several aspects of health, production, and reproduction over several months post-calving.

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