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  #1  
Old 12/25/12, 02:50 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Oklahoma
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Down Cow

Took in a 5yo jersey that calved in early september. I looked at this cow in late august and she was a beatiful healthy cow, perhaps even a little hefty. some new to cows people bought her before I decided if I wanted to spend the $$$ on her. long story short, they haven't really been milking her except when they need a little milk and the cows been nursing her calf. other than that I know nothing about what happened between august and now. picked her up 5 days ago, she looks like shes starving to death. skinniest cow I've seen in person. started her on grass hay thats about 25% timothy and lots of alfalfa with little grain. shes producing more just on the few days even though we haven't been milking her out all the way hoping shed put weight on rather than kill herself making milk.
lastnight went out and she was down. finally got her up. gave her some cmpk just in case it was milk fever related. milked her, turned her back out. never really showed any signs of milk fever. tonight, down again. can't get her up. the couple of times she tried, she couldn't get her legs under her for what appears lack of strength. do we give her time? do we hoist her up? shes ben down around 5yo hours at this point. we've got a "blizzard" coming in tonight/tomorrow. she at least lated down in the barn but has no water. I'm no dairy expert but have several other jerseys. never had a rescue cow before. would really like to save her if at all possible. she was such a nice cow.

sorry for all the typos... my "smart" phone isn't nearly as smart as it thinks it is.

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Last edited by Jessilee7; 12/25/12 at 02:53 AM. Reason: dumb phone
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  #2  
Old 12/25/12, 07:09 AM
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: VA
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Not great timing, is it? Is her calf still on her? Certainly you should make water available to her, even if you carry it in a 5 gal. bucket! And with a storm on the way, keep her in the barn so you can deal with the situation without weather concerns in addition.

I hope some of the milking people will kick in on this one, but I'd be on the phone with your vet to get advice on what to do. Have all your facts in hand before calling.

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  #3  
Old 12/25/12, 08:18 AM
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Sounds like ketosis. I'd see if she would drink some warm molasses water. She's been starved and now you're trying to help her, but real food has thrown her system out of whack. I don't know what you have on hand, but she needs energy. I'd give her electrolytes if you can get them down her. Have you checked her temperature?

DON'T give her any more of the CMPK. If she has ketosis, that will make her worse. If you have any propel glycol, I'd give her at least 60cc under the skin, unless you can do IV. I'd have the vet out if he's any good, or at least have him coach you over the phone. Remember, no more than 10cc per spot, so you'd have to give her 6 shots, but you'll see fast results. If she won't drink molasses water, drench her or tube her. You CAN lose her to ketosis!

If you have any electrolytes, drench her with that. Vit B12 shot if you have it will stimulate her appetite. If you have any grass, bring her some. A blanket would be good, since a storm is moving in. Keep her in the barn, and keep pumping her full of sugary things. Karo syrup if you don't have molasses. Propel glycol is better than the other stuff. I sure hope you have some on hand.

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Last edited by Judy in IN; 12/25/12 at 09:09 AM. Reason: Eta
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  #4  
Old 12/25/12, 10:31 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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To be in ketosis, a cow has to be burning fat. If this cow has no body fat left, it is more likely suffering from chronic starvation/malnutrition. I'd set her up in the barn with bedding as deep as you can make it, and get a vitamin E/selenium shot from your vet with another of B vitamins, and an extra dose of thiamine. Be prepared to haul water to her. Even if she gets up, you'd likely find her dead in the snow if you let her out now. If she's been eating the grass hay for a few days, I'd start with some alfalfa now. She needs calories, she has no reserves left.

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  #5  
Old 12/25/12, 12:08 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 80

I will follow advice given but just to be sure I understand- everyone suggests leaving her down? what about milking? leave her alone? flip her from side to side? with beef cows, if one was ever down, everyone scrambled around to get it up before paralysis set in. do I not need to worry about that? I will be hauling warm water to her often. put a horse blanket on her and all but burried her in straw. she is currently not eating alfalfa. as in I left it for her and she chose not to eat it.

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  #6  
Old 12/25/12, 02:02 PM
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Does her breath smell funny? Did you take her temp? Did you get some molasses into her, or electrolyte, or some form of quick energy? If she has energy, chances are she'll get up on her own.

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  #7  
Old 12/25/12, 02:10 PM
 
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Rolling the cow from side to side is good. Milking out two quarters then rolling her to the other side to reach the other two will keep her udder emptied. Light weight cows and heifers can stay down for a number of days without permanent muscle damage if they are well bedded. Getting her up is even better, if it can be done without traumatizing her already weak muscles. Hip lifters can damage muscles, a belly band is better, but can be difficult to work with.

If she's been starved, they sometimes collapse from the slightest stress (like a change in the weather, or increasing production from starting to eat more). An otherwise healthy cow that is down after calving is a different situation than an animal with muscle wasting from starvation. Allowing her to rest is better than stressful attempts to rise that end up in flailing around or splitting herself. If you've got human or mechanical help for lifting, then 1 or 2 determined attempts to get her up per day is all I'd try at first.

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  #8  
Old 12/25/12, 02:56 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Oklahoma
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I don't smell anything near her mouth or nose but its sooooo cold.out there my nose was running. so... who knows. didnt take temp. my thermometer got stepped on last week of all times and I haven't gotten a new one yet. she drank about 4 gallons of really warm molasses water and did start chowing on both grass and alfalfa hay now. should I give her a small amount of grain or wait until after we get past this for reintroducing grain?

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  #9  
Old 12/25/12, 03:10 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Oklahoma
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Assuming we get her past this... how long and what steps are we looking at before shes back to good weight and strength again? thank you for all advice! and merry Christmas!

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  #10  
Old 12/25/12, 04:47 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Texas
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They always get sick on weekends, holidays and in storms. You can count on it. I'd run by the drug store first thing tomorrow moring and ask for ketone strips to test her urine. They are made for people but you can use on her. Go to youtube and search how to make a cow urinate. If you can catch her peeing get a drop or so on the test strip and see if it turns dark. The darker the worse she is with ketosis. The thing that caught my eye was you said she was in good condition but went skinny really fast. Ketosis will do that (think atkins diet). If it is ketosis, you can get the vet out to do an IV for the sugar and she will get better almost immeditely. watch how he does it and you can do it yourself in the future (next time she goes down on a weekend etc.). if you can't get the vet out, get the glyco in the tube like the other poster said. It helps but it still must go through her stomach while the iv goes right in. Once you get her up and doing better, id get her some dolomite and some raw apple cider vinegar ( pour 2 oz a day over her feed). She will need lots of fiber in good hay but I wouldn't over do it on the grain (there are those that will differ with me on that so you get to choose).

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  #11  
Old 12/25/12, 04:50 PM
 
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With really cold weather I would start introducing small amounts of grain now.

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  #12  
Old 12/25/12, 04:59 PM
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: VA
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I think it's great that MARYDVM has posted with advice TWICE (Correction: THREE TIMES!). Thank you, MARYDVM!

Tomorrow is not a holiday, so you can call your vet first thing in the morning. Nothing beats a hands-on visit in person, especially when a cow is down! Make a list of all your questions to ask the vet. And get a thermometer.

Hope the cow responds well!

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  #13  
Old 12/25/12, 07:11 PM
 
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Location: NW OK
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If the cow was eating low quality roughage she may not have adjusted to the better feed yet causing her to decline. She doesn't sound like she had any extra reserve strength to start with. I would keep feeding her what you already was, she could be up and about in a couple of days if all goes well.

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  #14  
Old 12/25/12, 07:24 PM
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Jessilee, where in OK are you? If you need some assistance, I might be able to come help provided you are not too far away. I'm on night shift right now so have some available daylight time.

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  #15  
Old 12/25/12, 08:11 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Oklahoma
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We are on the outskirts of shawnee.

Great news- she is up, acting totally normal. I really think shes just so poor she doesn't have the strength but the molasses water definately seemed to make her perkier, eat, and eventually get up. I just wonder if shes going to have issues getting back up everytime she lays down for a while?

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  #16  
Old 12/25/12, 08:27 PM
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Keep it up with the molasses water. Keep her inside during this storm. Keep the horse blanket on her, so she won't have to expend energy trying to keep warm. This is going to be a long haul, especially if she's milking. She'll try to fill that bucket with the food you give her. You can do the apple cider vinegar and kelp will help. TRY TO SWIPE A CUD FROM ANOTHER COW FOR HER. If you don't need her milk you can feed it back to her. You'll have to baby her until spring grass unless you can put weight on her. If she will eat beet pulp that will help a lot. I'd give her all the molasses that she will drink. If you give her grain, I'd drown that in molasses. She needs energy and carbs.

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  #17  
Old 12/25/12, 08:32 PM
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Wonderful! Keep after her with the molasses water. If you don't need the milk, I would dry her up. It would be a lot easier to put weight on her if she was dry.

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  #18  
Old 12/25/12, 09:36 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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I ll second the molasses and water . What does her poop look like ? May consider having the vet test her for johnnes .

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  #19  
Old 12/25/12, 10:30 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Oklahoma
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thanks so much!

I'm not worried about diseases since the place she went has not had any livestock there in 20 + years. the people just thought they could leave her in the pasture after a drought to raise her calf and give them milk and that they didn't need to give back to her at all... I'm sure she has just been all but starved to death. I know she was 100% healthy in august.
I will continue to consider drying her up. I'm hoping I can get weight on her while she milks but if she just puts it in the bucket I will dry her up for her own good.

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  #20  
Old 12/26/12, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessilee7 View Post
thanks so much!

I'm not worried about diseases since the place she went has not had any livestock there in 20 + years. the people just thought they could leave her in the pasture after a drought to raise her calf and give them milk and that they didn't need to give back to her at all... I'm sure she has just been all but starved to death. I know she was 100% healthy in august.
I will continue to consider drying her up. I'm hoping I can get weight on her while she milks but if she just puts it in the bucket I will dry her up for her own good.
An expensive venture many a good farmer has miserably failed at. Not saying it can't be done, just saying store bought milk is a lot cheaper.

Glad she's up an around. I'd also suggest some probiotics or yogurt and plenty of good feed. Hard to beat rolled oats, barley, and corn at a time like this with plenty of good quality hay.
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