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Discussion Starter #1
Wow!
Our Jersey heifer got turned out onto fresh (overgrown hay - not green) pasture today, and has bloated. She's still up and around, but kept us up with her bellowing. It's obvious she doesn't have the usual Jersey hollow between ribs and hip on her left side. We called the vet, and he talked us through the procedure for stabbing her side to let gas escape from her rumen, and I tried and couldn't get through her tough hide. I called my hubby for help, and he brought a very sharp, double-edged knife, but it didn't go through either, even with him doing the stabbing. I suppose it could just be the angle, since we've got her in her stanchion, and there's a wall on her left side. It's kind of hard to get the right angle along with the force needed. The vet's on his way now - emergency fee and farm call - darn it! Has anyone else successfully done this with a knife? Yikes!
mucklingmom
 

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We normally "tube" them. Did stick beef cows with a 16 gage needle already...forget how long it was. It worked but not near as well as tubing them with a short garden hose.
 

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I think you can give them a bloat drench or use a tube. Sticking them with a knife is only for if these don't work and the cow is starting to suffocate. If it is a really mild case of bloat, a few tablespoons of oil poured down their throat should work.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Vet did a mineral oil tube. We were without a tube, and it was 3:30am. He said it was a pretty mild case, after all. Boy, was she putting up a fuss, though. One of our first-timer mistakes - oh, well! I guess if she had been more bloated, her rumen would have been easier to "pop," huh?
Thanks for your help.
mucklingmom
 

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Stabbing a cow is something done only as a very last resort. The chances of losing the cow to peritonitis after stabbing is high.

There are easier and safer ways to save a bloated cow. Tubing is the safest, but you have to know how to do it. Taking the cow off all feed AND water for 24 hours can help. We use Therabloat and also give some probios with pretty good results.

You can help prevent bloat by feeding a bloat block daily. The cow licks the block (remove any other supplements or salt blocks) every day and receives a small dose of medication that helps to prevent bloat. The bloat block does not treat bloat - it only helps to prevent it IF the cow has the medication every day.

The risk with bloat is that the stomach will increase in size to the point where it will interefere with breathing. If your cow is not in any respiratory distress and you watch her closely, she will probably be ok. But, respiratory distress is a medical emergency!
 

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In the beginning before learning about tubing them I have had occasion to stab a couple. I really didn't have any problem. They were bloated to the point that there rumen extended higher than there backbone and they were severe cases. I stabbed with a pocket knife and whoooosh. Held the knife there until the gas had all escaped. Thank goodness I learned to use a garden hose not long after that. The hose only needs to be about 3 or 3 1/2 feet long and smooth off the end a bit.
Sometimes with mild cases all you have to do is keep them moving and they will pass it through themselves.
 

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Sometimes a hose just doesnt work. I've found that a large IV needle (don't know the guage, but they are about 4 inches long) along with a 60 cc schringe. It's slow, and the needle tends to plug up, but with the scringe on the needle (with the plunger removed) you can hear the gas hissing out, and if it plugs up, you can use the plunger to push it back out. I have used this method many times, and have never seen periotonotis. Almost every time I have seen a knife or trocar used, I've seen infection along with it.
 
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