Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Vital info:
Holstein bullcalf
maybe 3-5 days old
Have no info on previous history
Yellow, loose stools. Stinks to high heaven!
No fever
He's maybe 40 lbs.
Gave him a shot of LA200 yesterday.
I only have goat's milk to feed him.
He can't get up on his own, but once up will walk a bit.
Drinks water from a bucket on his own.
Will take the goat's milk willingly.
Drank about 3 pints 2x's a day yesterday and today
Refused a bottle in between.


So, our friend decided to buy a nurse cow. He got a nice Holstein and calf pair. She was cheap because she was skinny and had been attacked by a dog and was badly infected. We helped him to get her healthy. He sold the calf after a month or so and made his money back. Now he has a Holstein that is working on getting her health back and has already raised a 300 lb calf (it was a Holstein-beef cross). He's used to raising beef cattle and hasn't quite figured out that a Holstein in milk needs more food, especially if he is going to put more than one (young) calf on her fairly late in her gestation cycle. He went to the sale and bought 2 Holstein bull calves. One was what I would call a hard calf. He was very healthy and an aggressive nurser. The second was much younger, probably just a day old. Rough-coated, ribs sticking out. My husband told me that our friend would let us have this one to raise because it wouldn't nurse and the cow and the other calf kept knocking it over. I adamantly refused and told him that they should just put the calf out of it's misery right now. So, the next day he brought it home. He said if the calf dies we wouldn't have to pay our friend for it. If??? Some friend. Actually, he is usually a good friend, but this was pretty low, and my husband was complicit.
This morning my husband left on a trip for work. At the moment, I have no car. There is no money for a vet call on a calf that probably will die.
The basic problem:
Sick calf, few supplies, no money no car, no help.

Any advice would be appreciated. I know he is likely to die. But I feel bad just sitting and watching him get weaker and weaker. I'm wondering if he even got colostrum when he was born. He was with a group of about 20 calves sold at the market. He was the youngest (and the last to be picked).

Thanks for reading this long post and any help you can give.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Update: He drank a quart of molasses water on top of 3 pints of goat milk this morning. He might be a few days older than I thought, judging by his ability and willingness to drink from a bucket. If I get him standing he heads to the water bucket and takes a long drink. He's still very weak, though, and will fall over and can't get up on his own.
The horrible smell of his poops has got me worried. Nothing can smell that bad and be right. I have raised a few bottle calves, but only on cows milk (We have 4 jerseys right now, but they are out on some leased property raising 2 calves each) and there was never a smell like this. Could it be the goat;s milk?
To add insult to injury, someone put one of those metal clips through one of his ears and it's infected. I've flushed it with hydrogen peroxide and put some antibacterial gel in there. I want to remove the clip, but I can't do it by myself, so it will have to wait. Also, his little nose was so sunburnt when I first saw him it was blistered. Those have broken and the nose looks ok, but it's obviously sore.
I will have a car tomorrow and I'll go and get some supplies if he is still alive. What kind of milk replacer do you recommend? Also, what is the best thing to stop this diarrhea? Any other suggestions of what I could do to make this guy more comfortable and actually live would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Jayne
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,279 Posts
Sounds like it might be cryptosporidium; I think that's one cause of very bad smelling diarrhea in a calf. You'll ave to research it for some ideas of how to handle this it with the calf. Your hands are tied without money, transportation, help, or supplies.

Here's a previous post on milk replacer; it's expensive.
http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/cattle/520486-milk-replacer.html

You might get some Re-sorb (electrolytes) to feed him between bottles/buckets of milk.

I have no experience with bottle calves, sorry. Good luck with this; hope some others can offer better help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info. I will look it up and see what to do. He's still eating. That surprises me. If he makes it till tomorrow I can get supplies.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,703 Posts
Lots of people raise calves on goats milk.
I would tend to think real milk is preferable over any sort of replacer,
if it is at all possible.

Every time you change feed it disrupts their stomach some.
Also, then you wont be buying a big bag of MR which may go to waste if the calf doesn't make it.

Just my opinion. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks gone-a-milkin, I wonder if you can mix the goat milk with the replacer to make it last longer? If I had known I would be doing this I wouldn't have allowed my 2 best does to dry up just yet. The remaining does (4 of them) all together aren't making enough for a calf right now. Their babies are pretty much ready to wean so the does are on the downside of their lactation. I'm working on increasing their output, but it's not happening fast enough. I had quite a bit of goat's milk in the freezer, but it's about gone.
I'm not happy with using MR. But it's better than nothing. If I get stuck with a full bag we'll just get another calf. Hopefully it'll be healthy from the start. If the calf lives you can't go wrong with today's prices.

So,G. Seddon, I looked up cryptosporidium. Here's a link that simplifies it:
http://prairielivestocksupply.com/archive/cryptosporidium-calves

It's pretty scary because it looks like it can cross to other species, including us humans. Fortunately, I don't have any other real youngsters, and everyone else is healthy.
I also got the name of several MR's to check out tomorrow. I'll get some electrolytes, too.

Has anyone used Gatoraide as an electrolyte for calves? I have some powdered that I can use now if it is safe. Fortunately he's been drinking every chance he gets so he's not showing any signs of dehydration. He's mostly just listless and wobbly on his feet.

One more question while I'm picking your brains: What is the best way to keep flies off of him? The flies in general aren't really that bothersome right now, but because he smells so bad, they are really concentrating on him and making him uncomfortable. I wash him off every chance I get (thank goodness it's so hot out) but he still smells bad. I don't want to make him worse by using something that will hurt him.
 

·
My name is not Alice
Joined
·
4,185 Posts
No issues here using goats milk. I'd feed store bought milk before feeding milk replacer. I hope you get the little fella going.

Eta: flies. Get a permethrin based fly spray and follow the mixing directions for use as a premise treatment, and just treat his bedding and pen. It won't hurt getting it on him in his condition. Doing so will cut the population to a manageable level. You definitely don't want a fly load right now. And if they are only bothering him, well, welcome to the world little buddy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, Abe. I think I have some permethrin spray. I'll give it a whirl in the morning.

He drank three pints again tonight, along with some molasses water. He's funny. He doesn't bop with his nose. I think it hurts because it's so sunburnt. He sort of leans on me and twines around me like a cat (though very slowly so he won't fall). He holds his mouth open with his tongue curled, ready for the nipple. I named him Elwood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Well, Elwood is still alive. I don't know how. It's been my experience (limited as it is) that a calf this sick dies pretty quickly. This one is still hanging on.
Got some Re-sorb yesterday and tubed him. I alternated that with goat's milk. Scours are not as bad. That's the good news. The bad news is that he can no longer stand, or really raise his head. His temp is low (100-101), and his eyes are cloudy and goopy. I gave him his second shot of LA. I brought him in the house where I can keep him cleaner, and free of ants and flies. Also keeping warm towels on him to offset the low temp. I don't have much hope at this point, but I will keep trying as long as he is breathing. He will still suck and swallow today, but it's slow. Still alternating the electrolytes and the milk. He's peeing and pooping pretty regularly so that's working.
Any other suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Well it honestly doesn't sound good . You could try a vitamin A shot and keep giving him electrolytes but you have to know that given his weight and condition you received him in the odds were stacked against you. Couldn't tell for sure if it was crypto without looking at a stool sample through a microscope for eggs but you want to be careful since it does transmit to humans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for answering. We are being careful. He's in the laundry room and has his own dedicated sink and washer. No one's allowed to touch him but me. I even have shoes I wear only in the room with him. That said, he's a little more responsive tonight. He's holding his head up and looking around. We'll see how he is in the morning.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
309 Posts
If he was here I would give him probiotics, vitamin B complex and stop the LA200. On calves that young LA200 is extremely tough on their gut.
The Vitamin B will help with appetite and give him an energy boost. The probiotic will help replace what he's lost in his gut from sickness and the LA200.
Are his eyes sunk in?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
It's funny you should mention that about the B-Complex, because I just gave him a shot this afternoon. I was only going to give him the 2 shots of LA200. The last one was yesterday. The probiotics are a good idea that I hadn't thought of. I have some powdered I keep for the goats. I can ad it to his milk.
About his eyes: Yesteday morning they were cloudy and goopy. This morning they were matted shut. I had to wash the goop off so that he could open them. They were also sunken in then.That has improved since he's been inside. They still don't look normal, but they're better. What does that indicate?
Thanks for your help,
Jayne
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
309 Posts
Good job! :)
Anytime you have an off calf/cow probiotics are a good idea. ESPECIALLY when you've given antibiotics. More important in calves. Over the years we've noticed a huge difference in responses since adding probiotics and Vit B to off/sick calves.
I'd highly recommend a tube of oral probiotic paste. Much more effective but give what you got until you can get some. Live microbial's are much more effective.
As far as his eyes it sounds like he's dehydrated. Scours will do that very quickly. This can be the main reason he's lethargic. As long as he's improving keep up what your doing! IV fluids SQ are they best option but sounds like you don't have access to a vet that will seem them to you.
Keep up the great work! Keep him warm and keep the fluids coming.
Is he still scouring? (Loose stinky stools?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
He's much better this morning. Still down, but attentive to sounds and movements around him. Haven't tried feeding him, yet. I'm still bleary-eyed myself and have to get the human kids off to school.
His stools are still loose, but not as bad as they were. Still stinky, but also not as bad. I'm hoping he will take a bottle this morning so we don't have to tube him again. I feel I need to get him standing, if only for a few minutes. I'll work on that when the kids are gone and peace has returned.
Thanks,
Jayne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,657 Posts
I agree with DoubleR. No experience with cows but from a nursing POV, sunken eyes on any living creature is usually a primary sign of dehydration. When you stop to think about the volume of fluid the little guy is loosing to watery stools compared wit the amount of fluid he is taking in you can see the problem. With the dehydration comes a loss of body minerals, sodium, potassium, for example. If they get too low you have lethargy and cardiac implications.

Pinch a fold of skin between thumb and fore finger to form a tent. If the 'tent' stays and the skin sticks together, you have dehydration. If the 'tent' immediately flattens back out no dehydration. You can judge the degree of dehydration by how fast the 'tent' returns to flat.

Fluids and electrolytes is all I can recommend. Maybe you could get the little guy to drink some pedialyte or the bovine equivalent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thanks, badlander. We've been tubing him with electrolytes and milk. Once we got our technique down he improved greatly. He was trying to drink from the bottle this morning, but it was too slow, so we tubed him again. He's starting to resist a little bit, which I take as a good sign. Got him up on his feet for a few minutes. He took a wobbly step or two, then I helped him to lay down again so he wouldn't fall (the floor is hard and he's all bones-had a hard time finding muscle to put the b-complex into). Yesterday he couldn't even get his feet under him to support his weight. Small improvements, but I really didn't expect him to recover at all.

I'm worried about pneumonia from the stress and inactivity, plus trashed immune system. Is this something I need to be concerned with, and what steps can I take to prevent it?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,949 Posts
Imodium can help calves with diarrhea. A veal calf outfit near me highly recommends it. It might be something to try if he keeps scouring and you want to try something different and you might already have it in your medicine cabinet.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
309 Posts
He's much better this morning. Still down, but attentive to sounds and movements around him. Haven't tried feeding him, yet. I'm still bleary-eyed myself and have to get the human kids off to school.
His stools are still loose, but not as bad as they were. Still stinky, but also not as bad. I'm hoping he will take a bottle this morning so we don't have to tube him again. I feel I need to get him standing, if only for a few minutes. I'll work on that when the kids are gone and peace has returned.
Thanks,
Jayne

Improvement is good. Keep it up! :)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
309 Posts
Thanks, badlander. We've been tubing him with electrolytes and milk. Once we got our technique down he improved greatly. He was trying to drink from the bottle this morning, but it was too slow, so we tubed him again. He's starting to resist a little bit, which I take as a good sign. Got him up on his feet for a few minutes. He took a wobbly step or two, then I helped him to lay down again so he wouldn't fall (the floor is hard and he's all bones-had a hard time finding muscle to put the b-complex into). Yesterday he couldn't even get his feet under him to support his weight. Small improvements, but I really didn't expect him to recover at all.

I'm worried about pneumonia from the stress and inactivity, plus trashed immune system. Is this something I need to be concerned with, and what steps can I take to prevent it?

Your doing great!
You don't want to tube him any longer than you have to so your doing exactly what you need to be by trying to allow him to nurse 1st then tubing. Sometimes calves get lazy and figure why nurse when my tummy gets full without it ;). Be sure to give him a reasonable amount of time to nurse before tubing him.
He's on the right road to recovery. I have faith that with the amount of energy your putting into his recovery he will make it. I've seen MUCH worse come around and thrive here.
If possibly can you snap a photo of him and a photo of his stool and his eyes? Would help a lot. :)
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top