Cow down but OK otherwise

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by wjoerob, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. wjoerob

    wjoerob Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Jersey cow went down 2 weeks ago, but acts OK, just won't get up. Maybe 7 yrs. old, pregnant but not due till March. Alert, eyes clear, holds head up. Eats good, excreting lots but not diarrhea. No sores, no broken bones, nothing stuck in hooves. 2 vets have looked at her, gave calcium, minerals, etc., no change. Any ideas?
     
  2. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    I don't have an answer as to why she is down, but don't give up on her too soon. We had one that got down in the creek having a calf. We got her up on a sled & dragged her to the barn where she stayed for three weeks. After a couple of weeks, we rigged a pully, & started pulling her up every day. Finally she started getting up on her on & eventually she recovered completely & had a good calf the next year.
     

  3. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    17,240
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Have you used a pour on wormer or ivomec on her lately?
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,485
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    What has happened with this matter?
     
  5. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    17,240
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    The reason I asked about wormers is that there are certain times of the year that you simply must not worm for grubs, and I know this includes part of the winter. As I remember, these grubs migrate toward the spine at a certain time of year and if you kill them at this time they can paralize the cow permanantly.
     
  6. wjoerob

    wjoerob Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Thanks for the suggestion OD. Hoisting her up is exactly what we're trying. We got her into the barn, where we rigged up two winches. We got her off the ground, but she still doesn't act like she wants to use her legs, especially rear legs. Still acting OK. Should the sling in the rear be in front of or in back of the udder? (She's pregnant). We're thinking of blocking her up with some straw -- is that a good idea? Should we raise and lower her once a day, or more? Should we leave her hanging any length of time?
     
  7. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    We had a "thing" that clamped on her hip bones--nothing under her belly. At first, she wouldn't even try to stand, but after a few days, she would try to get her feet under her, then we would loosen the winch & put a little weight on her legs & she would try to stand for a few minutes. We didn't leave her hanging very long, maybe 30-45 minutes a day. We turned her over 2-3 times a day at first, but after awhile, she started turning & scooting around on her own. We would put feed in one corner & water in another corner so she had to move around to get it.
    One day, she was standing pretty good so we took the hoist off & left the gate open while feeding the other animals, & she just walked outside & started grazing. It was spring & the weather was nice, so we left her outside. We'd help her up in the morning & she would stay up almost all day. One morning I looked out & she had already gotten up by herself. She improved steadily after that & never needed help getting up again.
     
  8. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Messages:
    14,609
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction
    Yayyyy, OD! I LOVE to hear a success story! :) :) :)
     
  9. wjoerob

    wjoerob Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Here we are a week after my first post. The Jersey cow is still down, but OK in every way we can tell. We hoist her up once or twice a day, she's still eating and drinking, etc., alert. Does anyone have an idea what the device is that fits over the hips to lift her up? We're wondering if the straps underneath cause just as much trouble for her to use her legs.
     
  10. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,738
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Hi,
    Alway's very hard replying to an overseas post because what goes for one country doesn't necessarily go for another.

    The device that fits over the hips is simply called hip clamps and can be attached to the FEL or similar of a tractor to help get the cow up and then keep her there. Over here many vet clinics will hire them out for a small cost. Avoid using straps if she is doing little to try and bear her own weight - the psi on narrow bands is huge. You would be better making a sling out of a wool bale if you can get hold of one.

    However, I feel that you need to find out why this apparently otherwise healthy cow is down in the first place as from the little you have said, it sounds as though she may have paralysis. Was she running with other cows, is there a possibility of her having been accidentally banged by one of them? Your paying your vets very good and hard earned money - ask them for some answers.

    Turn the cow from one side to the other every 2 - 3 hours and massage and work the legs as much as possible. If this cow is to ever stand it is imperative that the blood supply to the leg muscles is kept going. Having a downer cow is hard work and time consuming.

    Good luck with her - and start riding your vet :)

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  11. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    Don't know the name but I do know they sell them at Tractor Supply Co. (TSC)
     
  12. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    363
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Location:
    Land of the Long White Cloud
    OK deeeeep breath... Please dont laugh at me... :eek: I vaguely remember this from my childhood, which was longer ago than I'm prepared to own up to. I may have it totally wrong.
    I remember (I think) hearing my uncle tell my dad about a cow that went down for no apparent reason. It was a mystery to (nearly) everyone, someone checked her ears and found she had an infection. This may have been said for my benefit as they knew I was listening .. but they suggestted that the ear infection made her feel wobbly she didnt like the feeling and so sat down.
    But more realistically.. When you massage/work her legs is there tension in all the legs? Is there less resistance in one leg than the others? If none of the obvious things are wrong start looking at the things you think couldnt possibly cause her to go down.
     
  13. MARYDVM

    MARYDVM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    777
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Did the vets do a rectal exam? Lymphosarcoma (cancer) can paralyze a cow, and sometimes the superficial lymph nodes are normal sized, but inside the pelvis you find masses of cancer.
     
  14. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    363
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Location:
    Land of the Long White Cloud
    I would really like to know how your cow is doing.
     
  15. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,634
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    VA
    I'm wondering if you might have wormed her a few days before she went down. Especially with Cydectin.

    There is a worm which lives inside the spinal column, I think it's called a bot worm. A wormer can kill the worm. The decomposing worm releases toxins that can paralyze the animal. While this goes on, the animal continues to eat and drink as normal.

    It takes a little over a week for the worm to be absorbed. If the animal stayed in good health otherwise, it should then begin to regain it's feet. After another week or two, it should be back to normal.

    Ask your vet about this.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm

     
  16. wjoerob

    wjoerob Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    We had finally decided to kill the cow, and she died anyway. She started putting her head around tight by her side, and then she was gone. We have to pay $35 for someone in the next county to haul off the carcass. We didn't want to risk using the meat. My 14 year old son is pretty discouraged. He bought her and the calf with his own money for a 4-H project and as an investment. He now says he'll never buy any more cows. We told him we'd pay him for the calf ($300), since we butchered it. But we couldn't afford to pay him for the cow.
    Thanks for all the input, everybody. We may never know what happened to her, but it's nice to know all you folks out there care and tried to help.
     
  17. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,485
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I'm sorry but not surprised at the conclusion of this one, please impress upon your son that this is the negative side of owning livestock but it is a very real part of the business. Take this time to look back over the whole thing and see if there's anything to be learned from it all, investigate your feeding/supplement program and look past your own gate, how long have you had her, did her previous owner miss something in his program or did he sell her because she was unthrifty?
     
  18. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    363
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Location:
    Land of the Long White Cloud
    I am really sorry to hear she didnt make it. It seems a bit strange to be concerned about the welfare of a cow on the other side of the world, but I was hopeing she would pull through. I support everything wr said. Its just a fact of life that when you have livestock you will also have deadstock. I hope your son will change his mind once he gets over the sadness of this. Cows are such wonderful creatures.