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Got dystocia? Here's your silver bullet.

October, 2018

It’s 9:00PM. You’ve had a long day. The water lines froze and thawing them took an extra hour of time you didn’t have to spare. The TMR apron broke so you had to weld that, pushing feeding time to 7:00 instead of 6:00. It’s a whopping 30˚F outside…you’re cold. Your cows are cold. Everyone is tired and just want to go to bed. To top it off, you’ve got a heifer that’s been in labor for the past hour and you know you’re going to have to assist with the birth. At this point, you’re hopeful that the calf is alive and has enough energy to get up and eat quickly so you can go home for the night. You’re about to write this day off as a big ole flop then you remember an article you read recently talking about the effects of caffeine in calves…offering a silver bullet of sorts.

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Approximately 90% of Americans consume caffeine in one way or another whether it is through coffee (I’ll take a large double shot vanilla latte, please), soda pop, or caffeine pills. Why?? To feel awake and energized of course. So how does caffeine work? There is a compound found in the brain called adenosine. Adenosine levels essentially rise the longer the brain is awake. When these levels increase, the respiratory system is depressed and muscle contraction is hindered…or in other words, we feel drowsy and lethargic. Caffeine binds to the adenosine receptor, which minimizes the negative effects, which in laymen’s terms means it clears out the sleepiness and makes us feel awake.

In 1977, a study was published that demonstrated the use of caffeine in premature infants. Apnea is a condition where the baby will stop breathing for periods as brief as 20 seconds up to multiple minutes. This disorder can have detrimental side effects to the heart and cardiovascular system as well as damage tissues due to the lack of oxygen to the brain. The published study showed that episodes in premature infants could be reduced (85%) by caffeine supplementation (Aranda J.V).

Now, let’s take this science-based information from human and neonatal infant use and apply it to a baby calf. When you’ve got dystocia, what’s that typically mean? A weak, lethargic, tired calf who needs an extra pep in their step to start life off a little stronger. The calf likely has a depressed respiratory system and muscle contraction is challenged making it not want to stand and eat. Sound familiar? Sounds like most humans every morning before they have their daily dose of caffeine.

But let’s get real here, you can’t just go grab a can of Mountain Dew, give it to your calf, and expect miracles to happen. In part due to the fact that most caffeinated products that humans consume contain synthetic caffeine and AAFCO doesn't approve caffeine. There goes your silver bullet, right? WRONG!!

With the help of industry expert, Dr. Sheila McGuirk, TechMix recently launched a new, innovative, patent-pending product that is just what you need for the calf that requires a little extra perk…Calf Perk that is! With naturally occurring caffeine, all ingredients in Calf Perk are AAFCO approved and granted generally regarded as safe (GRAS) status, meaning it’s the perfect product for your calf, and for you. This product contains naturally occurring caffeine, to help increase body temperature and respiration rates in newborn calves while enhancing calf vigor and suckle reflex – it gets them up and gets them drinking. Think of the amount of angst, time, and potential money you could save if you could perk up a hard-birthed calf, and in record time.

It’s 9:45PM now. Your day isn’t getting any shorter. You pulled the calf, but it isn’t looking good. You have a decision to make, to help stimulate the calf or to let it be and hope for the best. You decide to grab a tube of Calf Perk that you got last week from your TechMix rep and squeeze it on to the calf’s tongue, waiting and hoping it works. Within 30 minutes, the calf has warmed up, its respiration rate has increased, and your calf is standing, ready to drink. In our industry, silver bullets are rare, but when they surface and can help relieve part of a stressful day of work, why not take advantage. Although your day wasn’t the shortest of days, with the help of Calf Perk, you managed to save a calf and get to bed before midnight. Here’s a tip for tomorrow, when you are feeling tired and not full of energy, just make a pot of coffee and give yourself a little perk.

 

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