Fifteen cows with milk fever were treated with 500ml of 40 % calcium borogluconate (group A) administered intravenously. Fifteen other cows with milk fever received the same treatment, supplemented with 500ml of 10 % sodium phosphate administered intravenously, and 80g calcium as calcium lactate and 70g inorganic phosphorus as sodium phosphate administered orally in drinking water. The cows were monitored and blood samples collected for 3 days to measure the concentrations of total and ionized calcium, inorganic phosphorus and magnesium and the activity of creatine kinase. The two groups did not differ significantly with respect to the course of the disease. In each group 14 cows were cured. A rapid and significant increase in serum calcium concentration from the hypo- to the hypercalcaemic range occurred in both groups within 10min of the start of treatment, followed by a slow and steady decrease to the hypocalcaemic range. Calcium lactate did not prevent the calcium concentration from returning to the hypocalcaemic range, and the calcium profiles of the two groups did not differ significantly. As expected, treatment had little effect on the concentration of inorganic phosphorus in group A. In group B, treatment caused a rapid increase in the concentration of inorganic phosphorus to a maximum 20min after the start of treatment. This was followed by a slow decrease in the phosphorus concentration to the normophosphataemic range. Our findings confirmed that combined intravenous and oral administration of sodium phosphate in cows with periparturient paresis attributable to hypocalcaemia and hypophosphataemia results in a rapid and sustained increase in serum phosphorus, but not in serum calcium concentration. This modified therapy did not improve the success rate of milk fever treatment and further studies are needed to improve treatment of periparturient paresis.