Cow down but OK otherwise

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by wjoerob, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. wjoerob

    wjoerob Member

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    Our Jersey cow went down a couple of weeks ago, but acts OK, just won't get up. Maybe 7 yrs. old, pregnant but not due till March. Alert, holds head up, eyes clear, eats good & excretes a lot but not diarrhea. Nothing stuck in hoof, no sores, no broken bones. 2 vets have looked at her, gave calcium, minerals, etc., but still the same. Any ideas?
     
  2. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I read somewhere that if you hold your hand over the cow's nose so she can't breathe, she'll rise in her struggle for air. Haven't tried it, but thought it was interesting and might work.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    If the cow has been down for a couple of weeks it likely can not rise if it wants to. You need a lifting frame regardless of what other treatment she needs. Shes pregnant and down so what are you feeding and how much flesh cover has she got? A single dose of calcium would be near useless on a cow, as would any single dose of minerals....... selenium? Is she running a fever at all?
     
  4. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    The resident cattle expert in our house (and I assure you, she is) says that if its been WEEKS since your cow went down - she ain't gonna get up...matter of fact, Wind In Her Hair says to start diggin' a big hole.

    " When a critter that big gets down, they're puttin' enormous PSI on nerves and paralysis sets in...kinda like an arm or leg that goes numb...but problem is, the critter never regains use of these extremities and never gets up."

    " I have lifted and helped lift litrally hundreds of cattle with the use of a sling and a tractor - sometimes up to five times aday - allowing the critter to stay in an upright position for a half hour or so in an attempt to allow it to regain use of its legs and try to support its own weight - if even for a fraction of a minute."

    "Maybe 20% are able to recover - the rest slowly succumb to predators - who will eat them alive - others succumb to the elements - cold and wet - and develop pneaumonia from underinflating their lungs. Like humans, others will develop "bedsores" from pressure points and will die from infection."

    Thinking that if she is left to lay there that she'll recover ? She'll get tired of laying there and one day just get up? It ain't gonna happen.

    If she were ABLE to get up - she would have by now...and if she can't - no amount of tail twisting and slapping and shouting or cow prodding will get her going - those are the time-tested methods of getting a cow to move.

    I wish I could give you better news - its just that Jersey's ain't known for their "tougness". If she was a Brimmer , I'd give her chance.

    But his gal is a lost cause. Get her up - or send her on her way.
     
  5. LisaBug

    LisaBug Well-Known Member

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    Back in our dairy farming days we had a 2nd calf cow go down, suspected pinched nerve after calving (it wasn't milkfever, we'd deal with that in other cows). She was down for over 2 weeks, without apparent discomfort. We did raise her with a sling, she didn't even try to stand and appeared to be happy laying there. One day we opened the barn door and she was standing there with the rest. Of course we made sure to feed and water her mutiple times a day, that she wasn't in the hot sun and we stuffed bedding under her as much as possible. We also made sure to move her legs around to keep the blood flowing and rolled her from laying on one side to the other (always keeping her upright, never roll them over on their backs). She probably never milked to her full potential but we were glad she rejoined the herd.

    There's always a chance she slipped and ended up with about the same injury our holstein did and the chance she'll recover. Have you checked to make sure she has feeling in her back legs?

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes, it's an interesting predicament.

    LisaBug
     
  6. kate

    kate Well-Known Member

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    turn her from side to side two or three or more times a day, prop her that way with a bale of straw or something.......get the circulation back into her legs. then make her life a little miserable, so she wants to get up bad..........she probably has lost all feelling in her back legs, so it is up to you to put it back in. treat her like a sick human patient. or you will bury her.
     
  7. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I've had similar situations and the vet tells me that after 3 days a cow will loose muscle mass and the longer she's down, the greater the muscles atrophy. I'm in total agreement with Cabin Fever's cow expert. I'd also bet that if you have a good close look, she's probably started to look emaciated but you won't notice because of the way she's laying and if your ground is at all damp she very likely is starting to develop sores. She's been down and laying in her own urine and feces for weeks. What advice did your get give you when he saw her and what was the cause of her going down? Please don't think I'm being rude or judgemental but you have a responsability to that cow and your repsonsability is to make very sure she does not suffer and she has humane living conditions and I'm not so sure that her conditions at this time are reasonable. How do you view her quality of life?
     
  8. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the cow will probably never get up. I also know if she COULD she would have! Covering her nose, or making her miserable will only add pain and suffering for her. It won't make her get up!

    I have my own down-cow remedies, but they rarely work. If this cow has simply been laying there for 2 weeks, none of my ideas matter anymore as they are all about preserving the use of her legs.

    You can continue to care for this cow, but she will probably die. You can cut your losses and simply shoot her, giving her a humane end to a probably hopeless situation. There is always a chance she will get up, but it happens so rarely and she's already been down so long, I would bet against it.

    Jena
     
  9. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Time to contact a rendering processor. Determine when they can pick the animal up and put the cow down prior to their arrival. This will save the burying expense and she will go to some use as she will not be buried on your property to possibly contaminate it. Seldom do downer cattle get up and it now illegal to process for human consumption a downer cow.
     
  10. LisaBug

    LisaBug Well-Known Member

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    Well??? What'd you decide to do? What happened?

    LisaBug