Prevention and Cures for Grass Tetany – A Springtime Risk

Read about spring pasture bloat prevention and cures here. This article comes to us from Ron Lemenager1, Allen Bridges1, Matt Claeys1, and Keith Johnson2 Purdue University Departments of Animal Sciences1 and Agronomy2 Most cattlemen look forward to warmer temperatures and spring grass.  As temperatures begin to warm, cool-season grasses and legumes begin a rapid growth phase resulting in the production of large amounts of lush, palatable, green pasture.  Unfortunately, early in the growing season, these forages are very high in moisture content and nutrients are diluted.  The result is that it is difficult for animals to eat enough dry matter to meet all of their nutrient requirements.  Two unrelated, but equally important problems are commonly seen early in the grazing season – grass tetany and pasture bloat. We'll cover grass tetany this week and pasture bloat next week. Grass Tetany Grass tetany, sometimes called grass staggers or hypomagnesaemia, is a metabolic disorder of cattle related to a deficiency of magnesium (Mg).  Early lactation cows are the most susceptible, with older cows considered more susceptible than those with their first or second calves. The logic is that older cows seem less capable of mobilizing Mg reserves from the bones than their younger counterparts. Grass Tetany is often referred to as an “iceberg” disease because only a few clinical cases occur but there ar

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