another calf dead

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by vtfarma, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    We are heart sick - yesterday around 1 pm our hereford "lucky" had a healthy female calf. She was fine. Up quickly, nursing up a storm, a bit cold in the evening when it started raining but she cuddled into the hay and was fine. She was up and running this morning chasing her shadow, mother etc around the pen. We found her dead this afternoon - she was fine at 11:00 am this morning. Shows no signs of being squashed or attacked. She is laying on her side with her tongue out just slightly and a tiny bit of blood around the side of 2 teeth.

    What are we missing? What are we doing wrong. We have never lost any cows until this years fiasco. Help!
     
  2. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Was the previous calf weaned off? I know you aren't a big fan of weaning and it does sound like the new calf was injured (probably internal) more than anything else. I can think of no other reason that a calf would be fine and healthy and dead a few hours later with the exception of poisoning and lightning.
     

  3. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    She weaned her calf off about 5-1/2 to 6 weeks ago. She had no other cows or calfs in with her. No hoof marks not flattened like a piglet.

    What about pneumonia?
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You usually have some warning with pneumonia, they start looking dull with some nasal discharge and at the advanced stage they are panting or gasping and mouth breathing but by that stage, you darned well know you have a sick baby. You have no toxic plants that might have caused this? I saw a situation like this not that long ago but it was found that someone had dumped an old car battery inside the fence of a pasture and that's what was poisoning calves. Seems to me this is your second loss and your herd isn't that large so you might want to have a post mortem done.
     
  5. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    I think we need to have to post mortem done. I was with this calf/momma when she had her. The birth went fine (I was back probably 40 feet of so). She was laying down when she had her. When I got to them she was cleaning it. The calf's head was tucked under her backwards - I actually thought she was dead for a second - then she moved so I lifted her a little and she moved her head around then I wiped her nose and mouth. She had alot of fluid as they do at the beginning but was blowing it out fine. The first calf we lost I think was a cold weather issue but maybe not. That Mom tends to not take no for an answer when she says get up. This one is such a gentle mom it just leaves me with my heart hurting - she is looking for her and calling.

    On the weaning issue, we don't force the issue with them - they all seem to be weaned now and it was done by the moms.

    Thanks, Laurie
     
  6. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Dry weather is coming! (figure id say that because I am right next to VT sorta). With pneumonia, another sign is off of feed, they usually go off feed. The fiasco we had, they went off feed, then showed the other signs mentioned.


    Is it a slight possibility the mother accidentially stepped on the calf, causing internal injury that can't be seen or felt? I have heard of cows laying on their calves by accident, but as you said, it would have been squished. I can only think of an accidential stepping, also what color was the blood if I may ask. Was it light red, with any bubbles? If so, it could be a lung injury. Also, since this hasn't happened any other time, it could be one of those years. Some years are 100% A-OK, while others are hell, and you sometimes question "why?". Either way, good luck, and ask if there is any bruising around the ribs, if you have a vet check out the body. I would have it looked at, because if anything for a piece of mind.


    Jeff
     
  7. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    The blood was red - no foam. I figured I would have seen a hoof print on the baby but then again it may not have shown. It has just been so wet that I would have thought we would have seen the muddy hoof print. I spoke with the vets office yesterday - they said to call in this am to talk to the main vet. He should be able to give me some insight, thanks, Laurie
     
  8. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    I spoke with the vet. he seems to think a mineral deficiency. Selenium - we have to ad dry cow minerals to our grain and inject the other 3 moms with musa (spelling?) and we need to double check our vaccines for colistrdium.

    I wish we could learn while they still lived!

    Laurie
     
  9. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I disagree with your vet and it's one of those 'get you off the phone' suggestions. Do some research on white muscle disease and you'll find that affected calves are not up running around and keeping up with their mothers. They range from totally unable to get up to poor co-ordination. A selenium deficiency would also leave your cows with problems of retained placentaes. It's a great suggestion but you speak of this calf up and travelling quickly and that just isn't at all what a selenium deficiency shows. Did you happen to have a lot of wind on the day the calf died?
     
  10. twstanley

    twstanley Well-Known Member

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    I also disagree with your vet. If she was fine around noon and then dead suddenly, that has to be trauma of some sort. Maybe she ran herself headfirst into a post, maybe mom stepped on her head by accident when she was sleeping, its hard to tell.

    The blood is very indicative of trauma as well as the sudden transition from bouncing healthy calf to dead calf.

    You have my sympathies, its always hard to lose one, especially one that starts with such promise
     
  11. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    I don't have cows, but had to chime in here.... last year was like that with our sheep - lost 3 or 4, all to different things, and we've never lost lambs in the past with our small flock. One was laid on, one we think was either bloat or a bee sting (all out together, no one else sick, that's why I question that it was bloat) one born tiny and ate and ate, but never thrived and finally died, and one other that I can't remember what happened to it. That was like 27% of our lamb total! This year, all strong and health. Some years, just strange things happen. A lady at a feed store last year commented that it was a terrible lambing year for them too, had lost way more than normal.

    I hope you can get an answer! I would also agree that selenium is not the issue - lambs born deficient have trouble holding their heads straight, they are wobbly and will die if not given BOse quickly. They are NOT up and running around like your calf then drop dead! Good luck and I'm sorry for your loss!
     
  12. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    Okay that makes sense that it may not be a mineral deficiency. He said the mineral block is not enough, I got some dry cow mineral and mixed in with the grain tonight.

    As for the weather ... well that could have been an issue. We had 50 degrees and rain with wind not horrible wind but still windy. The calf was in the coral with Mom and it is protected by equipment around it from strong winds. There was an "umbrella" from our patio table over the side where the calf was to keep her dry. It did not move, it was anchored well and nothing hit her from that - it was on the outside of the corral. She was cold from the weather but was fine when she snuggled in a bit more.

    WR what are you thinking with the wind?
     
  13. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I live in an area with a lot of wind and we find that when the wind gets really bad, the cattle start milling and occasionally new calves (because they are sleepy and have less co-ordination) get stepped on. It really affects the more high strung animals & heifers. They don't have to look crushed flat or all that damaged on the outside but a broken rib will puncture a lung.
     
  14. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Yeah but laurie we have very similar weather, our calves are outside and have been in those past rain events and they are doing excellent. In fact, I have a hard time catching one of them to lead around for the fair in August, toooo darn lively. I think it is trauma, and all it takes is mom to shift its weight just enough somewhere to do damage. It doesn't take much for a calf to suffer enough of an injury to croak. Actually there has been some rare cases of bulls injuring the calf because he lands on it, your situation isn't a bull, but just an example.


    As far as the mineral block, we use one as well, and have no problems. Mineral blocks work well. Feed is different, but our climate is very similar, and I am not experiencing the same problems, I do think it is trauma, that blood is a little "strange" to be any defficency. I have had cows step on my feet (boots), and see no visible hoof print, so there might not be any signs. Some mothers are easier around their calves, one of ours, calf in the way laying down, will step OVER the calf, its an interesting sight. Calf fell down in the walk way in the barn, legs sprawled out. Each of her hooves missed the calf, as she steps around it, being carefull. While others, not as carefull. This sounds nasty, but get someone to skin the calf, to look for bruiseing, if you still have the calf. That would be a tell tale sign of trauma.


    Jeff
     
  15. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I can skin it. It would make me feel better to know. The blood in the mouth was just along the side of her mouth, very slight amount. The tongue stuck out seems like she was squished. She was definitely a lively little sprite, mom is huge so it could have happened. I just hate when they lose them and are so heart broken. Thanks for the input folks. Laurie
     
  16. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Yeah, skin it and check for bruiseing.. Good luck!



    Jeff
     
  17. twstanley

    twstanley Well-Known Member

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    Check the head and neck area, I think the poor thing got stepped on in the head or neck area.
     
  18. Debbie at Bount

    Debbie at Bount Well-Known Member

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    I know what white muscle disease is, I have had problems with my sheep witih it. The babies are too week to do anything. I give all lambs a shot of BoSe. Sheep are the ones that have a real problem with lack of Selieum (sp). I haven't ever had a calf die looking like that. Older sheep get it in a very hot summer too, that looks like they are paralized. They just lay down and do not get up. You will not find them dead though just paralized.
    Debbie