Preventing Grass Tetany

Grass tetany, also know as grass staggers or wheat pasture poisoning, occurs when the magnesium level in the blood falls below the critical level. Grass that is susceptible to producing grass tetany is often low in magnesium, calcium and sodium, but high in potassium.

Causes of Grass Tetany

Grass tetany is caused in early spring grazing when the grass is very lush(very wet) and very high in soluble protein. Protein is made up of nitrogen and is converted to usable protein in the body. With the high solubility of the nitrogen/protein it can cause protein poisoning which can lead to quick death if not corrected. Reason for loss of cattle due to grass tetany is rapid movement of protein/nitrogen going into the bloodstream.

Early pasture grass contains more potassium than the body can utilize effectively. The soil releases more potassium than magnesium into the plant during early season. Therefore, higher levels of magnesium are needed to offset this imbalance.

This is the reason why we have to feed high magnesium mineral/feeds during early grazing. Cattle should receive magnesium ahead of time for about 30 days prior to going to pasture. This is why we have a higher level of magnesium in our First Grass Mineral.

It is also important to know what to watch for when it comes to grass tetany.

  • Muscles twitching in the flank

  • Uncoordinated gait

  • Convulsion

  • Grazing away for the rest of the herd

  • Thrashing

  • Collapsing

  • Staggering

  • Coma

Stop in our give us a call for pricing and let us help you avoid this silent killer.


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