If you keep cattle, you have probably come across some of your cows producing milk that is laced in blood. When this happens, the blood in milk will cause it to turn pink – although the level of discoloration will mostly depend on how severe the condition is.
That said, blood in milk is commonly referred to as haemolactia – a seriously undesirable disease that might wreck havoc to your cattle husbandry business operation.
The condition usually clears after a fortnight or thereabouts. However, if you fail to milk the udder out, the condition might precipitate at any point during your cows’ lactation period.
Consider the following:
Causes of Blood in Milk
There are a number of causes of haemolactia. These include, but are not limited to:
– Hemorrhage (by diapedesis)
– Systemic microbial infections
Diagnosis for Haemolactia
Your vet will usually diagnose blood in milk based on a variety of classical clinical signs that your cows will exhibit. If you leave the milk undisturbed in a transparent container and for a couple of hours, the lower portion will reveal blood clots if the cause is hemorrhage.
On the other hand, if the RBCs (red blood cells) do not sediment, then the cause of the blood in milk would be Iysis of the red blood cells. In this case, the color will remain uniform.
Treatment for Blood in Milk
There is a wide variety of treatment strategies used to deal with blood in milk. These include, but are not limited to:
– Administration of antioxidants
– Administration of antibiotics through the intermammary route and injections, where the causes of the blood in milk are unknown
– Administration of local and parenteral vasoconstrictors through the injection of adrenaline
– Administration of vitamin C
– Blood transfusion from heavy donors, particularly if the suspected cause is a coagulation defect such as thrombocytopenia
– Ethnoveterinary treatment practices using turmeric, sambaloo leaves, and Lifebuoy soap
– Homeopathic treatment through homeopathic complexes
– Injectable or oral camphor
– Injection of parenteral coagulants to cure the condition
– Intramammary infusion of coagulants
– Supportive and ancillary treatment
– The intravenous administration of calcium (standard treatment) for 2 to 3 day
– Vaccination against leptospirosis
However, you should keep in mind that the vet might have to institute more than one of the treatment measures listed above. Similarly, most of the cases of blood in milk you will come across tend to take a couple of days to effectively respond to treatment.
Overall, blood in milk is a serious condition that you need to study, diagnose, understand, and treat. The earlier you identify the problem and correct it, the easier it will be for you to continue with your regular animal husbandry without the haemolactia affecting your income from the sale of milk, or from the calves that might be nursing from the lactating cows.