Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options - Downer Cow, Cold Cow and Mad Cow
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Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options - Downer Cow, Cold Cow and Mad Cow

What is downer cow disease? What is cold cow disease? Will mad cow syndrome affect humans also? The causes, symptoms and treatment options relating to these cattle diseases are detailed here. People consuming beef and other animal products should be aware of these diseases and the effect it can have on human health. Farms which have large numbers of cattle should report any signs and symptoms of disease to the veterinary before it spreads.

Diseases in cattle are of many types. Some diseases progress rapidly and leave the animal dead within hours. Some affect it slowly. In some cases, the exact cause is hard to point out and it will take close observation and tests to find it.

1. Downer cow

This disease refers to the condition where the cow is unable to get up. The animal will have to be closely observed to find out the cause. The cause can be related to hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia, tetanus, physical injury or rare disease. If the cow’s limbs are positioned behind the animal’s body, paralysis could be the reason. If the upper leg is positioned sideways, it could indicate adductor muscle break. Other causes like shock, fever and dehydration cannot be ruled out. The cow should be carefully examined and the temperature taken to determine the cause. Blood tests are usually taken to find out the cause. Symptoms include the inability to get up, fever, thrashing of legs while trying to rise, crawling and weakness. Treatment includes injections of calcium, helping the cow to rise, giving feed and water. Serious cases need veterinary treatment.

2. Cold cow

This disease affects cows in large numbers. The cause is not clear. The reason could be intake of carbohydrates or presence of mycotoxin and estrogen in pastures. The animal shows symptoms of being drunk. It cannot stand properly and has the tendency to fall. Other symptoms include cold skin, drop in milk, excessive manure bordering on diarrhea, weakness, loss of appetite and falling down.  The quantity of milk drops so low that it is almost zero. The majority of the herd is affected. The only solution for ‘cold cow’ is to move the cows to different pasture. This syndrome is seen during spring time when pastures are thriving green.

3. Mad cow

The medical term for mad cow syndrome is bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The disease affects the cattle in a large scale. Humans who consume the meat of such infected animals are also affected. ‘Mad cow’ is a deadly disease. Cattle feed which includes poor quality feed and protein supplements which contain the bones of slaughtered animals are seen as a cause of this disease. The infected feed which contains the disease causing matter called ‘prion’ affects the brain of the animal and reduces it to a sponge like matter. Factory farming methods could also be seen as a cause. The symptoms include inability to walk straight, lack of coordination in movement, low energy, and drop in milk production, loss in weight, sensitiveness to sound and touch, drastic changes in behavior and hostility. Infected animals are slaughtered and their remains are destroyed completely.

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Comments (5)

Thank you for your educational article which I learned much from you.

thanks dear

Thank you Deepa for this great concern for the living beings.

thanks sir for your great support and this goes to Roberta too

I have never heard of cold cow before. Good information for people who have cattle, or are thinking of getting them - I just have sheep.