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  #1  
Old 03/16/09, 12:00 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: SE Texas
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Down Cow. Failed So Far. What Now?

She is a Longhorn/Corriente that calved in early December. She's been doing well until three days ago. We saw her in the morning, laying (on her belly, not flat out) in the same place she was the night before. I went out to rouse her and she got up to her knees to try to run me off, but couldn't get all the way up. DH went out and tried to help her up, to no avail. We built a skid and brought her into a stall, dried her off (it's been in the 40s and rainy), fed her hay, pellets and watered her. We brought her calf in with her, for comfort, but he's not nursing. She doesn't seem to be making any milk at this point, anyway.

She has no fever, no bloating, etc. She's skinny, wasn't dehydrated until this morning. She would lay on her belly, has tried to get up once or twice (the first day.) Since then, we occasionally find her on her side, but we can get her back up on her belly and she seems happy for it. But, by yesterday afternoon, she seemed weaker...when we got her up, she was a bit wobbly. This morning, she was flat out again and it took two of us to her up. She is less alert, and her head is a bit wobbly like she's dizzy. Today, she is showing no interest in food/water.

The rest of the herd (5 more cows) looks great. Two have older calves who nurse very occasionally, the rest are open with no calves. Possibly a case of malnutrition, since she's lactating and on spring grass. We've had round bales out there all winter, but the last one was gone recently. We went and picked up more, of course, but there was a few days without one.

We have electrolytes, we've given her B-complex injections, and we could intubate her or do IV...if we can get a hold of IV gear and fluids. (Will the vet sell you them?) We also have overhead pipes and could hoist her up if that would help....but I don't think she could stand, so I doubt that would help any.

Down here, for some dumb reason, large animal vets all have an office like the small animal folks. They expect you to bring IN the sick cattle or horse. Being a northern girl, it beats me...ranks up at the top of "Dumb Things I've Learned about Regional Differences." Anyway, we could get a vet out here with a $200 farm call fee on top of the after hours fee, exam fee and all the other costs. Before he even treated her, our bill would be more than we paid for her. We won't let her suffer, but right now, she seems content. Just very weak.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. She's the closest cow we have to tame. I'd hate to lose her.

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  #2  
Old 03/16/09, 12:11 PM
 
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We have been blessed to have vets in the area give advice over the phone for free and if we do need supplies will sell them to us at a reasonable cost. We have gotten syringes prefilled with vaccines and antibotics for cheaper then the local farm supply store plus they will show us where to give it when we pick it up. I know if you have a weak cow you should add corn syrup or molasses to the electrolyes for energy but do not remember how much. Hopefully someone can give more info.

We did have to purchase a kit from a farm supply store for tube feeding and it was easy to use. They also carry syringes and other odds and ends for large animal care.

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  #3  
Old 03/16/09, 12:19 PM
 
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Need to give her shot of calcium. Sounds like milk fever.

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Old 03/16/09, 12:23 PM
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The longer she stays down the worse the prognosis becomes sadly.

You could put a magnet in her. That may not help, but I have seen it work.

I agree with calling the vet too. Most of them will give you some free advice.

Good luck.

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  #5  
Old 03/16/09, 12:41 PM
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Hi Organic Cowgirl,

Although he sysptoms are not of the classic varity.... It is the time of year for Grass Tetney.....

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/in...m/bc/80402.htm


If you can lay hands on an IV kit and a bottle or two of Calcium with Magnesium, you could administer one bottle of that Sub-Q (Under the skin). It shouldn't harm her if Grass Tetney is not the problem.... Don't treat for Milk Fever... That calls for Calcium rather than Magnesium.... If it's Tetney.... she needs Magnesium.....

You also need to make sure that she is shifting her weight from hip to hip...... If she lays in the same position for an extended length of time.... That will exacerbate the problem of getting her up.
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Old 03/16/09, 04:26 PM
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It's also the time of year for really wormy cattle. The grass has been mostly eaten and the cattle crowd around the feeding ring. They eat everything down to the ground, which really piles in the worms.

It won't hurt to worm her with a really good dose of a wormer that works in your area. Then treat her for everything else that's been suggested. Magnesium and a magnet can't hurt, either.

Also give her a dose of TheraBloat. It comes in a small bottle from your feed store. Put the TheraBloat in a wine bottle with a pint of water. Stick the wine bottle in her mouth and tip her head back. The Poloxalene in the TheraBloat will pop the bubbles of gas in her rumen into one big bubble, which she can belch out. Results are sometimes dramatic.

Once she's been down for three days, it's less likely you'll get her up. Cattle are funny that way.

Genebo
Paradise Farm

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  #7  
Old 03/16/09, 04:26 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: SE Texas
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Just putting regular old Milk of Magnesia sub-cu won't hurt her? It's magnesium hydroxide, contain 20mg of calcium and 520mg of magnesium plus mineral oil, flavoring, sodium and artificial sweetener. Is that ok? That's not going to kill her huh?

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  #8  
Old 03/16/09, 05:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Organic Cowgirl View Post
Just putting regular old Milk of Magnesia sub-cu won't hurt her? It's magnesium hydroxide, contain 20mg of calcium and 520mg of magnesium plus mineral oil, flavoring, sodium and artificial sweetener. Is that ok? That's not going to kill her huh?
Did I miss the post that said to do that?
I sure wouldn't do that. Get the right calcium magnesium from your feed store, vet or vet supply store.
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Old 03/16/09, 09:46 PM
 
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Do Not inject milk of magnesia. If the cow survives she will likely develop a huge abcess at the injection site. You could give it orally though, or drench with epsom salts in water for a concentrated source of magnesium.

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Old 03/16/09, 10:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MARYDVM View Post
Do Not inject milk of magnesia. If the cow survives she will likely develop a huge abcess at the injection site. You could give it orally though, or drench with epsom salts in water for a concentrated source of magnesium.

I thought I read that and it really, REALLY had me scratching my head. I think it was a case of trying to do too many things at once. I couldn't, for the life of me, imagine HOW milk of magnesia could be injected sub-q without causing serious problems, like, say, death.

So, we got another shot of B-12 in her, a bottle of dextrose solution intravenously and then a bottle of milk of magnesia orally. About 40 minutes later, she looked a good bit perkier and was eating and drinking with some vigor.

I bought some magnets from TSC, along with some calcium fluid in case we determine milk fever, but not using it unless we do. Tomorrow, I'll pick up the TheraBloat and wormer. They're due for their worming at the end of April, so they could definitely be good and wormy by now. We relocate our hay with every new bale, but I know that doesn't cure it all...just helps a little.

So, we'll see how she looks tomorrow morning and start on more care.

THANKS, FOLKS!! I REALLY APPRECIATE THE HELP!
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  #11  
Old 03/17/09, 05:15 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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When was she last drenched and what has she been fed over the winter months?

Don't take this amiss but at a calculated guess I would say she is malnourished and wormy. She calved at the height of your winter and has been feeding the calf off her back in freezing and below freezing temperatures - it's only 40F now. Wean the calf, get a good, broad spectrum drench into her, high quality hay, molassas (mix the molassas in warm water and pour over the hay), cut grass if there is any available and whatever high quality cow nuts or meal are available in your area. If the calf is 4 months old and she isn't making milk, milk fever is highly unlikely to be the problem but possibly can't be ruled out if she has been using her body reserves to make milk.

Physical care is time consuming but needs to be done. If she keep falling flat on her side, prop her up with hay bales or old tractor tyres. Roll her from one side to the other every four hours and spend some time manipulating her back legs - it's highly important that the blood flow to the muscle is kept going. She won't like it and with luck will try and kick you - a good sign. Do you have access to a cow sling and FEL. If so, use them and raise her every 2-3 hours for 10 minutes at a time. I've kept more than one cow out of a big hole because of a cow sling.

I'll tell you a story about vet charges which may make you look at it from a slightly different angle. I bought an empty Jersey heifer for $400.00. For various reasons, she didn't arrive at my place until 6 months later by which time a Simmental bull had got at her, she was as skinny as a rake and shate through the eye of a needle. I got the vet out and $400.00 later the calf had been induced and she's been tested for everything a cow could possibly get and had come back negative in all of them except that she was producing too many white blood cells. Unfortunately blood tests don't tell us why that was happening. So now I've spent $800.00 on a cow that wouldn't make $100.00 if I sent her to the works. 2.5 years down the track the induced calf is twice the size of her mother, in calf to an Angus bull and is worth $800.00. The cow's second calf to an Angus bull was sold for $350.00 and this seasons calf, also to an Angus bull, has been pre-sold for $300.00 and is to go as a housecow. This dreadful looking little cow produces 18 litres of milk a day, has fed untold pigs which have fetched us good money and is in calf again. She has more than paid for herself and her vet bills. Now, sometimes you can spend the dosh and still lose the cow but that's the risk. I prefer to take the risk because more often than not it pays off.

Good luck with her.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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  #12  
Old 03/17/09, 05:44 AM
 
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So you have a cow that has been non-ambulatory for 4 days and you have not yet found a Vet with amubulatory services to come to your farm to diagnose the issue with this cow?

Get on the phone and find a vet to get on your farm TODAY to help this cow either live or die. Of course you can keep relying on the vet experts on the internet and keep poking holes in her until she dies.

Jim

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  #13  
Old 03/17/09, 06:24 AM
 
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Jim, I agree with you wholeheartedly and don't consider myself a Net-Vet at all - which is why I added my somewhat longwinded story at the end of the post.

You may have noticed that I forebore advice on pumping her full of garbage when nobody knows what ails her - as you say, poking holes in her. The advice I did give wasn't going to hurt her, is necessary anyway to keep her alive and may be all that is needed. However, I have to admit, if this was my cow, the first port of call would be the vet and if I couldn't afford it, then shoot her - keeping in mind that it would cost $200.00 to get the digger in to bury her. I would still be going to great lengths to get her stood up in a sling as being down too long is as big a killer as whatever put them there in the first place.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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Old 03/17/09, 07:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ronney View Post
Jim, I agree with you wholeheartedly and don't consider myself a Net-Vet at all - which is why I added my somewhat longwinded story at the end of the post.

You may have noticed that I forebore advice on pumping her full of garbage when nobody knows what ails her - as you say, poking holes in her.
Ronnie:

I did not intend to single anyone out for their advice, sorry if you took it that way.

As a Livestock Professional and a spouse to a Veterinarian I cringe when I read internet advice on the medical treatment of animals. Just look at the misinterpretation on the use of Milk of Magnesia as a SQ injection in this very thread!!!!! Then go over to the Equine Board and read the medical advice for antibiotic and anti-imflammatory injections for a horse with a nail in its hoof. The "internet expert" advice on veterinary care is worth exactly what you pay for it NOTHING!

I find it irresponsible for a livestock owner, regardless of the size of the operation, to allow an animal to be down for 4 days without proper medical treatment or euthanasia! Of course I am sure I will be flamed for nor understanding the OPs situation or for 'hurting her feelings' I don't care. I am a huge proponent of Animal Agriculture and rely on it for my livlihood, so I am not an artsy-fartsy, hug every tree, granola munching, HSUS supporting left wing freak. Livestock ownership comes with responsibilities, if you don't have the means to care for the animals or the available resources then you should not own them.

Get that cow some help, she is already starting to die through muscle atrophy, lack of circulation, and metabolic changes that you can't see.

Jim
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Last edited by Lazy J; 03/17/09 at 07:36 AM. Reason: tone down rhetoric and correct spelling and grammar errors
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  #15  
Old 03/17/09, 07:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Organic Cowgirl View Post

So, we got another shot of B-12 in her, a bottle of dextrose solution intravenously and then a bottle of milk of magnesia orally. About 40 minutes later, she looked a good bit perkier and was eating and drinking with some vigor.
OK, I think with this statement you made she either has as been said grass tetany or she could have ketosis. I have only seen grass tetany once. It was fast acting at dropping the cow and the cow was very messed up. It took a vet to IV here to bring her out of it. I had a idea that what was wrong with her, but never seeing it before I did not know.
On the other hand I have seen them go down with ketosis. Usally you can tell it if they have a sweet sicking smell to their breath. Many say its acetones come out of them.
Kepp up the work.
Bob
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Old 03/17/09, 09:37 AM
 
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You can buy strips to dip in their urine to tell if she has ketosis. No need to guess about that one.
Trisha

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Old 03/17/09, 09:49 AM
 
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There is a lesson to be learned from this. The animal was thought to be well until 3 days ago and she has a calf on her. She is skinny, she may even be to the point of malnutrition. The calf is with her and is living off her because if the cow is skinny the calf is also short of groceries. If the cow is short on basic feed is she short on minerals? The assumption has to be yes. So we have an animal that is suffering from malnutrition but we are still slow to get hay, more stress. What is the cow living off of during this waiting period? Supposedly Spring grass. Even in Texas Spring grass cannot be much on a pasture that has other cows in it that are probably eating each sprig as it emerges. If this cow survives it will be luck. Already more money is being spent to attempt to save an animal that did not have to get into this situation than it is worth. It is far better and less expensive to keep cattle in an acceptable body condition than to attempt to correct such a problem. With proper care through parasite control plus providing adequate protein with reasonably good hay along with free choice minerals these issues will not repeat themselves. Following the previous sentences guidelines is also a lot cheaper and stressful to the animal and the owner.

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Old 03/17/09, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Organic Cowgirl View Post
I thought I read that and it really, REALLY had me scratching my head. I think it was a case of trying to do too many things at once. I couldn't, for the life of me, imagine HOW milk of magnesia could be injected sub-q without causing serious problems, like, say, death.

I have been unable to find a reference link to send you to for a photo of a cal/mag IV solution.... Perhaps Calcium Gluconate

http://www.durvet.com/DS/105_DS.pdf

Is all that is readily available... Under no circumstances would I recommend Sub-Q administration of an oral medication..... Milk of magnesia in a drench.... As you have already done would be acceptable...... The glucose IV wont hurt her... You need to be careful to make sure that it is going into the vein at all times as glucose makes a mess of the injection site if it slips out of the vein and goes sub-Q..... It's not dangerous... It's just that it takes a long time to absorb and hinders further IV therapy by obscuring the jugular vein by filling the jugular furrow with glucose..... One method for insuring the the needle hasn't slipped..... Is to lower the bottle slowly until the intravenous blood pressure exceeds the pressure of the IV fluids that you are administering..... Blood will then back-flow into the IV tube.... Indicating that you are still in the vein.

I would not believe her condition to be Milk Fever... Number one, she is not of a high milk producing breed... And two, is that she has been fresh for nearly three months...... Magnets are not a bad thing to have in your cattle... However, slobbering is more of an indicator of hardware than is going down...... Also... If she was suffering from classic bloat.... She would be dead by now..... The glucose thereapy should remedy Ketosis.... If that is the problem..... Wormy?.... Maybe.... However, cattle, IMHO... rarely go down due to worm infestation....

Here is an interesting link delving into the topic of nutritional disorders on cattle......

http://www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publ...F/FSA-3071.pdf

Here's another one that might be helpful to you.......

http://www.cattletoday.com/archive/2...er/CT618.shtml
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  #19  
Old 03/17/09, 01:03 PM
 
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Sorry if I look like a net vet--I know I am not. I was told by our vet if we have a cow down that looks dehydrated and is not getting up to eat or drink to keep it hydrated--using elecrolytes with dextrose and if we only had electrolytes to add corn syrup or molasses for the sugar to give it fluids and energy. Depending on the time of year it may be a few hours before a vet can get to us. I usually deal with a sick animal as soon as we notice it and call immediately on treating it. I don't like letting them be ill. Of all of the sick animals we have had so far we have only lost one and the vet said that we would have lost it even if he tried to do something for it. So again I apologize...

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Old 03/17/09, 02:19 PM
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The "internet expert" advice on veterinary care is worth exactly what you pay for it NOTHING!
Well now Jim....

You just might wish to consult with a professional exterminator..... to assist you in the removal of the insect that took up residence in your POSTerior....

You will excuse me if I point out that no one here has professed to be an expert in the practice of Veterinary Medicine....

That said.... While some of us may not claim the distinguished title of a licensed practitioner.... It does not automatically make those of us who are attempting to be helpful to someone who posed a question, on an open discussion, Internet forum.... Blithering, ill informed, idiots either....

Oh.... And by the by.... I have known some DVM's that were most definitely not worth what you paid them either......

Ne vous fâchez pas, s'il vous plait... Just my $.02

David
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