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jBlaze 09/25/10 10:06 PM

Heifer freshened with edema - other ideas please
My 2 year heifer freshened 9/23 with a little edema. (She is half milking shorthorn, half red angus.) I tried milking that night and only got a quarter cup (calf still looking for more). She looked about the same the next morning so I left her be. I milked this morning and her edema is about double what it was to start. Milked what I could, about half gallon (calf full). The edema is not horrid yet, she still has loose skin at the top.

I will do hot cloths and massage and milk whatever I can. I will add vitamin C and vitamin E to her feed. I am only giving her a small amount of grain, and orchard grass hay.)

Any other ideas would be appreciated. :)

(my intent is for her to be a family milk cow. - the calf is from a hereford bull)

DianeWV 09/25/10 11:44 PM

Just keep milking her the best you can, keep massaging, use the hot compresses. I have used mint linaments, Udder Comfort, (there's several different brands on market) that help to soften the udder. Is the calf still on her? Many times the calf sucking and bumping the bag can help reduce the edema. Good luck with your cow and calf!

jBlaze 09/26/10 12:46 AM

Yes the calf is with her.

I used mollys udder salve in the hind and bag balm in the front. I was worried the mint salve would bother the calf and discourage nursing??

I only got a quart tonight after hot compresses. I masagged as much as I could after. What a workout.

Ronney 09/26/10 06:17 AM

Oedema in first calvers is very common. Your doing all the right things although I doubt salves are going to be much use but will give her a nice udder complexion. Warm fomenting such as you are doing and leaving the calf with her are the two best remedies - in fact the calf bunting is the best of the lot.


jBlaze 09/26/10 10:32 AM

How long can I expect it to last??

No power this am that doesn't help.

Trisha in WA 09/26/10 11:51 AM

Raspberry leaves are good to help with edema too. She should be happy to eat them if you have some available. My cow always likes them.
Congrats on the new calf!

francismilker 09/26/10 08:59 PM

One of the biggest factors in the edema decrease of heifers is for them to finally give in and let down their milk for you. If I have a cow that won't let down and is relatively fresh I take her calf away for the night, (provided I feel confident it got adequate colostrum and is a couple days old). The next day I put the heifer in a milk stanchion and get her started eating some grain. I then let her calf at her. As soon as that calf begins to nurse she'll let down her milk. At this point, I pull that calf away and milk like crazy to get her emptied out. Don't worry about taking all the calf's milk. It will beat and bang around on her enough after you're through to get itself an adequate breakfast.

A couple of days of complete emptying and the edema starts to subside for me.

jBlaze 09/27/10 12:45 AM

I took a bucket of HOT water out with 4 hand towels. Compressed till the water was only warm. Then I got NO milk.


I will call the vet tomorrow and see if he can do anything. I don't want to ruin my cow by ignorance..

Poor cow looks so uncomfortable. Edema worse tonight than it was this morning.

I may try the pull the calf idea tomorrow when I can. This is hard. Full time job and three kids. My 16yr DD asked why I want to do a cow, I said because they wont drink goat milk. Next time we tried to milk the cow, she is thinking goat milk is looking like a possibility. lol.

Ronney 09/27/10 05:49 AM

jBlaze, don't go into a panic, it takes a good week, sometimes more to come right and will often appear to get worse before it gets better. You can try locking the calf up but I personally found it didn't make too much difference as it wasn't mostly a case of let down, more that she couldn't and the calf wasn't getting any more than I was so it was best to milk twice a day and let the calf beat the daylights out of the udder inbetween. The vet will probably prescribe Oxytocin which may help but won't get rid of the oedema which is literally just excess fluid.

And you won't ruin your cow by ignorance I can assure you.


jBlaze 09/27/10 01:58 PM

Thanks Ronnie. I am just afraid that she will get mastitis if I don't get that milk out.

This makes goats look so easy, lol. I have dealt with congested udder in goats, but nothing at all similar to this, no edema. Goats are a lot less able to withhold the milk too. odd.

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