I have an almost 3 day old brangus calf that can't stand. When we lift him he gets stiff and shakes and crosses his back legs like he's not coordinated enough to stand much less walk. His mom sticks pretty close to him but he's not able to nurse. We have been tube and bottle feeding him. I have heard about the possible selenium/vit E defeciency but have not been able to locate a vet close that has it. I live in North Florida. We were close to 24 hrs before we were able to get colostrum to him and we also gave him Resorb and some broad spectrum antibiotics.
I've called a couple of vets and they said we are already doing everything that they know to do. Any other ideas or suggestions? TIA
Can you get the cow into a chute and hold the calf up to nurse her? I had one this spring very knuckled over, front and back. Had to hold him up to nurse for several days until he was strong enough to stand on his own. He's fine now.
You need to ask your vet for Bo-Se or Mu-Se. I think that most vets routinely have this in the office and/or on their trucks. Our calves get Bo-Se and Vital E plus A/D when they've dried off.
Are you expecting additional calves? Prepare for them! Also get some powdered colostrum (Lifeline is a good brand) to keep on hand in case you need it. I get all these things from our vet before calving starts so that I'll have it available.
Check your cows' mineral intake (loose minerals, not a block). This will help but it's not a cure-all.
Ditto on the Bo-Se, have heard some really good things about it but, knock wood, have never had a weak calf yet. You really should keep some powdered or frozen colostrum on hand and milk replacer. The calf's ability to absorb the colostrum goes down by the hour, the sooner they get it, the better.
If he keeps eating and shows will to live, I would keep giving him a chance. Maybe you could put momma in the chute and prop him over a hay bale to nurse??
Good luck, hope you can save the calf.
__________________ It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with the simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
We had one this spring she just wouldn't stand/couldn't stand we tubed her for days then went to the vet a few towns over to get some BO-SE and some vitamine E she was nursing later that day and was in perfectly normal shape in two more days it was amazing how fast the calf turned around after we though she was a gonner
Just wanted to give an update on the calf. We only have 1 heifer and this was her second calf. We found a vet an hour from where we live and took him in Saturday am. Vet gave him 5 shots. MuSe, steroid, thiamine, Vit AD and 1 other I can't remember. He gave a "guarded" prognosis. He thinks it's something neurological. He has a great appetite and acts like he wants to try to get up but still can't. We don't have a chute for the heifer but thinking about making him a sling to stand in. I feel bad about him laying all day. We try to prop him up as best we can but after a little while he's lying flat again. I'm just holding out hope that something in his little brain will click and he'll stand. Vet said that's possible but also possible it might not. Thanks for the suggestions.
Could also so be Spina Bifida, we have had at least two calves born on our family farm in the 50 years of my life that had Spina Bifida when born.. First one was when I was 14 years old and I worked my A@@ trying to get that calf well, named him Sammy, never will forget Sammy Calf, I was at the age where I was determined to make him well, my dad said he's yours and you can work with him and see what happens, didn't know what Spina Bifida was then, well I soon realized the bigger the calf got the bigger his problems got also. Then just last spring we had the second one born that was just like Sammy,the one born 36 years ago.
After 11 days of watching the poor little guy we finally decided to have him put down. It was a hard decision but we weren't seeing any improvement and maybe even a little bit of a decline. He appeared to have seizures everytime we stood him up. That liked to have killed us to have to do it but couldn't stand it anymore, even though he had a wonderful appetite. He ate like a little pig. I hope we never have anymore in this condition. All the shots the vet gave him did not help one bit but it was worth trying. Momagoat61, what symptoms did your calves with spina bifida have?
I had a calf that couldn't stand one time and every time he tried he'd seizure. He also had a great appetite but the naval just was wet and the hair had fallen out around it. I gave every shot the vet suggested and nothing helped. He was gaining like crazy and after 3 weeks got to where I couldn't hardly get him up and so there was a lady I knew that had a better knack than I so I told her she could have him if she thought she could get him better. He died on the way to her house. Never did know what was wrong with him but I bought him from a trader who said he'd gotten the wrong cow calf pair. I think he knew what was going on and just didn't want to lose that money.
"Some people without brains do an aweful lot of talking..." The Scarecrow in Oz
Both calves were born with little to no control of their rear legs which included any control from the middle of their spine back. Both calves had full control over their front end, head , neck, front legs, but no control over the rear end what so ever. Both calves over time would learn to stand if held or placed in a sling. Both could move their rear legs but couldn’t control the movement. The calf born last year could not bend it’s real legs at what I call the elbow’s on the rear legs very much and learned to hop to get around . Both did get to where they could stand but their back ends would sway from side to side. The calf born last year was raised on a bottle and got to around 200 pounds before we sold it to a man that was fully wear of the calves condition and was planning to process the calf himself. No medicine was given to the calf, either calf had any mental disorders and was not under developed in any other way. Both calves were delivered by the cows without any assistances, in fact I watched the calf be born last year which was delivered in the normal presentation out in the pasture but I soon seen after the birth that there was a problem with the calf’s rear legs. Both calves as they grew their spine grew twisted due to their stance when laying down and standing. Both were bull calves and both learned to eat grain along with being bottle raised. My Sammy Calf 38 years ago got to maybe 300 pounds before he got down in a low place and could not upright himself and bloated..
Ok, thanks for the responses. It broke my heart and I just hate the not knowing. He could move his tail and move all of his legs and you could tell he wanted to stand so bad but just couldn't (He couldn't even sit up without help). He just stiffened up and shook when we stood him up. That would last a minute or so until it stopped. He could stand on his own in a sling but not without it for more than a few seconds. Other than that he was perfect. Ate well, no diarrhea or anything else abnormal. I'll probably never know but just hope it's not hereditary so that this will ever happen again with same cow and bull breeding back.