Normal Calf and Cow Body Temperatures and Causes of Increase

Normal Calf and Cow Body Temperatures and Causes of Increase

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Body temperature is a criterion by which one can judge the health of an animal. Normal indicates that there are no pathological changes in the body, an increase or decrease - about an onset disease or pathological condition. Consider what is the normal body temperature of a cow, an adult and a calf, why it changes, how to measure it and how to bring it back to normal.

Body temperature of cows

In adult animals and calves, they are different. In young animals they change with age, in cows and bulls they stabilize.

In adult animals

The normal temperature for cattle is 37.5-39 ˚С. Minor deviations upward or downward are admissible, which are explained by the individual characteristics of the organism. You can measure the temperature of a cow using a veterinary thermometer.

Animal ageTemperature
1 year and older37.5-39 ˚С


The body temperature readings of young calves differ from those of adult animals. They also vary depending on the age of the calf. After calving, the temperature may drop as the calf dries up.

Calf ageTemperature
2-6 weeks38.5-41 ° C
Up to 2 monthsup to 40.2 ° С
Up to 1 yearup to 40 ° С

Deviations of 1 ° C or more may indicate the development of a pathological process.

Possible reasons for the increase

The temperature can rise due to diseases, infectious and other diseases, poisoning. In cows that have given birth, its rise can be observed due to complications after calving. The promotion may be due to poor animal care.


Cows have a poor taste of food, so they can eat plants and foods that are poisonous to them. An increase in normal temperature is one of the signs of poisoning, along with diarrhea, depression, behavioral changes, and decreased physical activity. After the poisoning is detected, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. An animal can die from the poison within a few hours.

Poor nutrition

An increase can be caused by poor, low-quality feed fed to the cows. Bacteria and fungi enter the cattle organism, the toxins of which provoke a rise in temperature. Digestive upset is also observed, but the death of animals usually does not occur.

The reaction in the form of an increase in heat release in cows may be due to the introduction of unfamiliar feed or additives into the diet, due to stress during transportation, or violation of the walking regime.


Infections that have entered the body, bacteria and viruses, become causative agents of dangerous diseases. Temperature rises as a result of the body's immune response to inflammatory processes. Diseases in which this occurs: leukemia, leptospirosis, pneumonia, brucellosis, foot and mouth disease, plague.

Complications after calving

Postpartum illness can also be the cause of such a reaction in the body. This is often a symptom of endometritis, paresis, or mastitis. These are serious diseases that can lead to complications and even death of the animal.

Hyperthermia is explained by trauma to the birth canal and inflammation that arose after childbirth, the retention of the placenta.

Mastitis develops in milking animals, the inflammation is concentrated in the udder, but the temperature can rise throughout the body. The reason is streptococci and staphylococci that enter the open milk canals.

Reasons for a drop in temperature

The causes of hypothermia, or a drop in body temperature, can vary in cows. This can be hypothermia (a decrease is recorded once), weakening as a result of severe pathologies. Decrease can be caused by dehydration, enteritis, severe blood loss.

Expert opinion

Zarechny Maxim Valerievich

Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.

Thermoregulation can be impaired in newborn calves and older animals. Violations can cause pathology of the hypothalamus, hypothyroidism, exhaustion, the use of anesthesia.

To establish why the cow's temperature dropped, it is necessary to find out whether he was exposed to hypothermia, whether he had diseases or conditions characterized by a decrease in the level of thermoregulation. You can determine the degree of hypothermia by symptoms:

  • mild - drowsiness, tremors, weakness;
  • moderate - bradycardia, hypotension, a decrease in the frequency of breathing and its depth, stunnedness, muscle stiffness;
  • strong - dilated pupils, coma, respiratory depression, slowing of cardiac activity.

Hypothermia associated with depression of the central nervous system must be differentiated from hypoglycemia, tumor diseases, imbalance in water and mineral balance, and brain pathologies.

How to shoot down

After establishing the reasons for the development of hyperthermia, you can start treatment. Cows are prescribed antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, antipyretics, vitamins, and a lot of water.

However, trying to eliminate hyperthermia, one must remember that the cause should be eliminated, not the consequences.

In addition, lowering the temperature can make it worse, because the rise in temperature is a protective function of the body, with the help of which it tries to fight viruses and bacteria. Therefore, it is possible to bring down the temperature only after the veterinarian has established a diagnosis and prescribed treatment. The duration and intensity of therapy is determined by the doctor based on the current state of the animal.

How to measure temperature

Various instruments are used to measure. They are used both in veterinary clinics and at home. One of the common methods is to insert a thermometer into the rectum. Thermometers can be mercury or electronic. Despite the higher cost, the electronic form makes measurements more accurate, moreover, it is safe for humans and animals.

The measurement process can be divided into stages:

  • disinfection of the instrument - wiping with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol;
  • lubrication with petroleum jelly or other means to facilitate insertion into the rectum;
  • insertion of the device 2-3 cm into the intestinal cavity.

For measurement, the thermometer is kept in the body of the cow for 6-8 minutes. - mercury and 1 min. - electronic. After the end of the procedure, the instrument is cleaned in soapy water and again disinfected with alcohol. The anal area of ​​the cow is treated with an antiseptic. When measuring, remember that some animals are nervous during the procedure and may be aggressive. Therefore, it is necessary to work with cows, adhering to safety precautions.

During treatment, measurements can be taken up to 3-4 times a day until the animal recovers. After its completion, you can measure 1-2 times a day for 2-3 weeks. This is necessary in order to prevent the likelihood of a relapse of the pathology.

If the body temperature of cattle is normal, the animal is healthy. If there are deviations up or down, this is a signal that pathological changes are taking place in the body of livestock, and it needs treatment. This is why measuring and monitoring this bodily function is so important. Sometimes the life of a cow or calf depends on the timeliness of the treatment.

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