Calcium Gluconate 23% Solution. My New Best Friend! Freedom Update. . .

When Hypocalcemia strikes, you’ll need Calcium Gluconate.  In my case, I should have purchased an entire CASE at the beginning of this season.  (Thank Goodness that Tractor Supply stocks this!)

Turns out, it is very difficult to find treatment guidelines, especially when you have an animal that presents with symptoms with more than just a day or so left before delivery.  Management is less complicated when delivery is imminent.  You dose the calcium and probably dose again if needed in a few hours.  The animal delivers and all is well.  However, Freedom had WEEKS to go when she developed her symptoms.

After arriving  home from her week at the Vet Hospital at UGA, Freedom had two good days and then began to decline.  I KNEW it was calcium!  I rushed to treat her as I didn’t want her down again and her back end was really weak and she was shaky.  I now recognized these symptoms immediately.   Calcium Gluconate injected sub Q In large doses made her bounce back again fairly quickly.

I’ve figured out that in order to maintain the calcium levels necessary to keep her from “tipping back to the dark side,” I MUST keep injecting and injecting and injecting.  My poor ewe is a pin cushion and I feel SOOOOO bad poking her over and over with needle after needle every day now.  Above you see 5 12 cc syringes.  This is for just one dose of the day giving  60 ccs.  I have found that in order to maintain an appetite (and appetite is my diagnostic tool) I MUST keep injecting throughout the day.  AND . . I am also administering oral calcium drench that has a slower absorption rate.  It seems that approximately 160 mls per day AND oral drench once or twice a day is approximately the amount that I am needing to administer.  This amounts to somewhere around 11-12 grams of calcium each day.  (And, honestly, I am not completely certain that this is quite enough.  But, I’m a bit afraid to give more.)

In any case, this amount is working and I will probably continue to adjust as her appetite and overall well-being fluctuate.  This is where I have learned that if I want to keep her alive, I had better just trust my gut and go for it!

Here’s a photo of Freedom from this morning.

She is hanging in there!  What a trooper she is.  Let me tell you this.  She’s got a pretty accurate aim going on with those horns!  She has taken to striking at me when I’m injecting the calcium.  Calcium definitely burns and even though I am warming it up for her, it’s gotta be painful for her.



18 Responses to “Calcium Gluconate 23% Solution. My New Best Friend! Freedom Update. . .”

  1. Where do you give your Sub Q injections? Do you ever get knots at injection sites?

    I’m glad you’ve got it figured out! You are a VERY persistent shepherd!

    • Laura,
      I give wherever I can find that I have not already given at this point. Poor girl. I have not had any kind of problem with injection sites YET. I am very careful to split the amount into several injection sites that are distanced away from each other. I am grabbing loose skin all across her ribs and sides and back behind the rib cage in front of the hip. Anywhere that I am able to locate a new site. I am sure this has made her very sore, but it has to be done.

    • Oh, ps. I HOPE I have it figured out. I am resorting to trusting my instincts. It is funny because I’m suddenly happy that I was good in math! Calculating dosages can be tricky. Haha.

  2. Update…. Freedom is now eating hay in large quantities and cudding normally! Oh Joy!

  3. Hopefully she has them very soon! Dolly and I are using quite a bit of the Calcium Gluconate at the moment. Her boys are a week old and have both gained 4 lbs.! I think she has a ‘touch’ of milk fever. The green grass and sunshine did wonders for her yesterday and she finally ate all of the food I gave her last night 🙂 Now to just stay on top of it!!! How much are you giving Freedom orally? and are you using the Calcium Gluconate for that too?

  4. Shannon, in your case, could it be grass tetany? A fellow shepherd was telling me about this just yesterday. Since you mentioned green grass, I thought I’d throw it out there. I don’t know too much about it, but symptoms are somewhat similar.

    For Freedom, I am trying to bypass the GI as much as possible. Here is what is working at the moment:

    7 am. 60 cc sub q ca gluc 23% in at least five different sites. I also drench 1 oz power punch and give paste pro bios.

    11:00 am 48 cc sub q ca gluc

    2 pm ish depending on how her appetite seems 48 cc sub q ca gluc / more power punch (1oz)

    5 pm. Oral calcium drench (a goat product for milk fever with 4 grms calcium- that is a lot)

    6 pm 48 cc ca gluc sub q

    10 pm 48 cc ca gluc sub q

    The calcium only last 2-6 hrs and so I need to keep giving it. Less was working until yesterday. I was giving only about 150 cc’s throughout the entire day. But, tetany symptoms although very slight came back. I believe cooler weather and storms bring it on. When a ewe has reason to shiver, the muscles use calcium quickly. (or so I read.)

    Anyway, don’t do what I am doing as it’s probably too much for Dolly. But, if you watch her face and body language, you wil see her tell you when she doesn’t have enough calcium.

    5 pm

  5. Thanks! I agree that is too much for Dolly, but I was curious how much you were giving her orally. No, it isn’t grass tetany. We have had that in the past and I am really careful with their grass intake this time of the year. They don’t get to go out on the grass until they have had their breakfast in the barn. She hadn’t been on the grass when her symptoms started appearing. You are right though, symptoms can be very similar. How is Freedom this morning?

    ps…I posted a bunch of pictures of Thea on FB 🙂

    • Freedom is “just okay” today. Thus, I have incresed the calcium to get her back on track again. The temp dropped considerable and it is raining. I feel certain the weather change has made her a bit worse.

      The calcium drench is at Tractor Supply and it is Goats Prefer brand. Milk fever is very common in goats as you probably know, but the formulation is equally okay for sheep. It delivers a huge amount and is balanced with the other necessary minerals suspended in prop glycol. I am only using that once per evening to place a slower metabolizing type into her system at night time. Calcium can be a bit caustic on the mucous membranes and I am trying to avoid upset GI. Call me any time if I can help. Bottom line is you won’t easily overdose calcium unless it is IV. And, it doesn’t stay in the system long. Just keep dosing until she looks herself again and do it frequently no matter what else you read or are told. Hope this helps a bit. Is she the girl with only one side to her udder?

      Oh, I will check FB for the photos.

      • Yep. Thea still my favorite so far. She’s a little cover girl.

      • Shannon,

        The calcium drench has approx. 4 grms calcium in one ounce. (30 cc’s.). The ca gluconate 23% has 2.14 grms per 100 cc’s. So, you need to drench 200 cc’s of the ca gluc. To get the same effect as only 30 cc’s calcium drench. I know you probably already figured this out. But, thought I’d send this comment back out at you just in case. In Dolly’s case, you might even get away with once per day of that calcium drench. I would think twice a day at the most. It’s cheap too as an FYI.

  6. I agree that the weather can really affect them. She is in good hands! Thanks! I have been dosing her when I go out to feed the bottle lamb, seems to be working so I will keep at it. Dolly is Theron’s ewe. She is getting up there in age and her big boys are draining her!

    • The Goat people tell you to start feeding Cream of Wheat. How brilliant as it has the added calcium and sugar! You’d think that would be great, right? But, it seems that goats will eat anything and sheep are just plain picky sometimes. It didn’t help me a bit because my ewes won’t eat Cream of Wheat. You sure would think that they’d LOVE it, but nope. Today I began adding in the Food Grade DE as a calcium supplement for the flock. I have it on hand for parasite control in the summer. I researched it a bit today and found that it might be just what I need to keep calcium levels up right now.

  7. How are you both doing today? Thinking of you!

    • Thanks Sally for thinking of us. We are hanging in there. Freedom had a great day yesterday and really perked back up and she even went back on her grain ration. So, that was VERY nice to see. Really no progress on the lambs. She looks very much the same. She has been bagged up for about a month now, so I don’t understand the hold up!!! I know that I am ready and she sure must be too! She has definitely dropped some, so that makes me hopeful that it will be very soon. I will keep you posted.

  8. Oh good! Thanks for the update. Hope those lambs come very soon!

  9. whisperingsage Says:

    Get a copy of pat colebys natural goat care and natural sheep care
    I think she wrote the goat book before the sheep book. She also has horses and cattle, all her mineral programs are the same. What I like better about the sheep book is she has a diagram for mineral feeder and puts them out separately rather than mixed. The only ones I mix is dolomite and copper as the dolomite detoxes any overdose of copper. This prevention is far easier than constant crisis. In my area, the soil is pure sand and very deficient in all minerals. I’m trying to mineral balance my own soil so I can start pasture on my own place, but in the meantime we have to bring hay in and they have the same deficiencies we have.

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