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Cold Cow Syndrome

Cold cow syndrome is an unusual disease of unknown cause, which usually occurs in early spring in lactating cows grazing ryegrass pastures. The syndrome can affect up to 80 per cent of a group of cows.

The most likely cause is the intake of very high levels of soluble carbohydrates, but other suggestions include oestrogenic compounds in the plants and mycotoxins. There does not appear to be any link with weather conditions.

Clinical Signs

  • Cow appears drunk, wobbling and falling over;
  • Cow cold to the touch, but body temperature normall
  • Profuse non-smelling diarrhoea;
  • Sudden dramatic milk drop (up to 100 per cent in affected cows)

Treatment

  • There is no specific treatment, except that affected herds should be housed for at least 24 hours before they are moved to a new pasture. Cows unable to stand will require nursing care.

Prevention

The problem may occur on the same pasture each year, thus avoiding the use of that pasture in early spring may be helpful.

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