Ketosis & Milk Fever Management in Lactating Cattle

Tushar Rajendra Bhosale, Dheeraj Kumar
Tushar Rajendra Bhosale, Dheeraj Kumar
milk cows
Animal becomes sick & unable to stand due to milk fever.


If the feeding of milch cows and buffaloes is not properly managed, if there is stress on them or if there are some errors in the management, then such animals can get milk fever and ketosis due to metabolic disorders. This leads to a decrease in milk production & there is a cost to medication.

Such animals suffer from diseases such as dysentery, Downers Cow syndrome, abdominal cramps, bladder infections, and mastitis. This leads to financial losses. Proper diet management with the advice of a veterinarian, as well as the avoidance of minor errors in daily management, does not cause this disease. 


  • The disease is found in high-yielding crossbred cows. The disease is not usually seen in indigenous cows and buffaloes.

  • This disease is seen in the first 1 to 2 weeks after parturition. Sometimes it occurs one to one and half months after parturition.

  • If the cow is not fed properly during pregnancy, as well as due to the lack of carbohydrates after milking, the blood glucose level decreases. Not enough energy is generated. So then the body tries to get energy from fat. This fat is brought to the liver in the form of fatty acids.

  • From it acetate is formed and then energy is produced; but when propionate is severely deficient, ketone bodies are formed from the acetate, increasing their blood levels. This leads to increased acidity and symptoms of ketosis.


  • Animals do not show symptoms of fever in this disease.

  • The latent form of the disease does not show any special symptoms. Milk production decreases. This type of disease is very common.

  • Animals eat less fodder. Especially, refuse to eat concentrate feed or sometimes eat a small amount. Gives less milk.

  • Gradually the weakness increases. The ribs begin to appear.

  • If not treated in time, the animal will not eat fodder.

  • Symptoms of brain injury, such as turnaround themselves, Hitting the wall, etc., are often seen in animals.

Prevention and treatment 

  • This disease can be prevented with proper management of diet.

  • Farmers should plan and treat their diet with the advice of a veterinarian.

Milk Fever or Parturient Paresis  

The disease is mainly found in high milk-producing crossbred cows, but it is more common in native cows and buffaloes. Although the disease is called Milk fever, parturient paresis, and postparturient hypocalcemia, etc., the animals do not show any symptoms of fever. Conversely, body temperature is lower than usual at 98 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Causes of the Disease  

  • Sometimes the body lacks the hormone parathormone. Parathormoneis also called parathyroid hormone (PTH). It is a hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands that regulate the serum calcium concentration through its effects on bone, kidney, and intestine. 

  • In high-yielding animals, calcium loses through colostrum/milk.

  • Increased need for calcium in pregnant and lactating animals. Getting less calcium from fodder.

  • Increased concentration of oxalate/ oxalic acid in fodder i.e. sugarcane top, hybrid Napier in the diet.  

  • Deficiency of Vitamin- Din the diet & feeding of excessive calcium during pregnancy. 

Importance of Calcium 

Calcium is a very important mineral. It is needed in important metabolic processes in the body. E.g. controlling muscles and nervous system. If it is deficient, the above process will be disrupted and symptoms of milk fever will appears. 

Animal loses weight due to ketosis or Acetonaemia.
Animal loses weight due to ketosis or Acetonaemia.


In the first stage of the disease, the animal becomes lethargic. Consumption of feed, fodder & giving milk is reduced. 

The main symptoms are a movement of the head, sticking out of the tongue, gnashing of teeth, and stumbling. This condition lasts for a very short time. Sometimes the farmer does not even notice if the symptoms are not severe. 

In the second stage of the disease, the animal sits down. When sitting, the neck turns to one side, the body cools down, breathing and pulse rate increase, the nostrils become dry, drooling, urinating, and stop sneezing. Sometimes bloat-like condition also occurs & the animal stops milking. 

In the third stage, however, the animal falls horizontally. No response if pierced. Body temperature decreases. If not treated at the right time, the animal may die. 


  • A proper feeding should be given during pregnancy and after parturition. Green leafy fodder, as well as dicotyledonous fodder crops (e.g. Cowpea, Lucerne, Berseem, Stylo), should be included in the diet. 

  • Do not give too much and too little concentrate feed during pregnancy. Add 25 to 50 grams of the mineral mixture to the feed. Sugarcane tops should be limited in the diet of pregnant animals.  

  • It is beneficial to inject vitamin D about a week before parturition. 

  • A daily little exercise keeps the metabolism of calcium active. 


  • Treatment should be done by a veterinarian. This is because calcium injection is needed in this disease. This injection, if given in a small dose and at high speed, can adversely affect the heart, and animals may die. The temperature of the bottle of calcium solution must be in line with the body temperature of the animal.

  • The animal responds immediately when properly treated. He gets up, urinates and excrete dung, and starts eating fodder.

  • The nostrils get wet and body temperature becomes normal.

  • Downers Cow Syndrome can occur if the animal does not recover from these diseases.


  • Biswal, S., Nayak, D. C., & Sardar, K. K. (2016). Prevalence of ketosis in dairy cows in the milk shed areas of Odisha state, India. Veterinary World, 9(11), 1242.

  • Acetonaemia(Ketosis), The cattle site, https://www.thecattlesite.com/diseaseinfo/194/acetonaemia-ketosis/ 

  • “Ketosis,” d.

  • Patel, V. R., Kansara, J. D., Patel, B. B., Patel, P. B., & Patel, S. B. (2011). Prevention of milk fever: a nutritional approach. Veterinary World, 4(6), 278.

  • Shahla, P., Asmita, S., Mokshata, G., & Jatin, K. S. (2018). An Update on Milk Fever and Its Economic Consequences. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 7(10), 2735-2742.

Author Details 

Tushar Rajendra Bhosale*, Dheeraj Kumar 

*Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairy Science, Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri- 413722 Dist. Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, INDIA 

Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Banaras Hindu University, Dist. Varanasi-221005 Uttar Pradesh, INDIA 

*Corresponding author: tusharbhosale520@gmail.com 

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