In early spring, pasture may be relatively low in magnesium and calcium at a time when cows need a good supply to produce a calf and start milking. A blood deficiency of calcium can cause milk fever, and cows will be unable to stand. A deficiency of blood magnesium can cause grass staggers, when cows become unsteady on their feet and may collapse. Application of magnesium oxide powder to pasture, as shown here, or providing it in stock water will help prevent grass staggers, as well as reducing the chance of milk fever. Injecting cows that are suspected of having milk fever with calcium borogluconate can prevent or correct the disorder.
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Photograph by G. R. Roberts
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