Sore feet

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by willow_girl, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Once again, not my girls who are in trouble, but the ones I milk at work!

    We seem to have a lot of limping cows right now. A LOT! I'd say between a quarter and a third of the herd is lame. :(

    I mentioned this to my boss yesterday, and asked whether the weather had anything to do with it ... bacteria, after all, flourish in warm temperatures.

    He said yes, but it also was caused by "what they were fed a few months ago."

    He didn't elaborate, but that scared me! Especially the idea it can crop up months later (because I bought two of my cows off his farm!)

    There was a period of about 6 weeks when our production went way up, although at the time I attributed it to a bunch of cows freshening. I'm not always informed when changes are made to the ration (he uses a private consultant, and I think also the state ag college to formulate their feed).

    I have heard an overly rich diet will mess up their hooves ... I'm not sure whether it's internally (the way a horse can founder if it's turned out in lush grass) or externally (from marinating their feet in especially acidic urine and feces) or perhaps a combination of both. :confused:

    Is there anything that can be done about this? Is it a condition that will resolve itself on its own? Would increased use of footbaths be beneficial? (Right now they get a walk-through bath for 1 day about every 1-2 months.) Would hosing their feet while they are in the milking parlor help at all?

    I sure hate to see my girls hurting this way, and I have to believe it lowers their production. One poor cow is bad on both her back feet, and you should see her trying to walk. :no: :no: :no:
     
  2. cowsndirt

    cowsndirt Member

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    Are their hooves getting long? Cows will founder similar to horses if overfed. Overfeeding does affect their hooves, just as nutrition affects our fingernails. Many people who feed their cattle too much just once a day or if they accidently get "into the feedroom" will get long toes and lameness. Sometimes you see it in feedlots (usually people are more educated now though and it is less seen).

    If they are swollen between the toes, or around their hocks it could be what we call around here "foot rot". It's a bacteria they get from standing around in mud mixed with urine and manure. Sometimes the vet has to lance it if it gets too fluid filled. We give them LA200 or biomycin, which seems to help it. Guess with dairies, it is harder to medicate them without messing up the milk.

    Are there any new changes in environment, such as dry weather or mud? Our large cows get cracks in their feet during the dry weather, runs in certain cow families, especially in the larger breeds such as Simmental. Sometimes rocks are put in around waterers, etc. and this will lame up some cows for a while. We have a lot with many rocks at my parents farm, and you can't leave them in there long when it is dry or they will "gimp up".

    Good Luck. Hope your cows at home are not affected.

    S
     

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Thanks S!

    No, aside from 2 cows that have what I would call misshapen hooves, they are not getting too long ... trimmer comes out about 2x a year to trim and medicate (hoof wraps). I think we had about 17 cows that needed wraps last time, and 2 with foot rot (one went down after being trimmed/treated, and ended up dying, while the other improved).

    I will look for swelling between the toes ...

    I have 1 girl with a swollen front leg ... what a shame 'cause she's a nice girl too, first calf heifer and a registered cow. He had me give her ceftiofur awhile back (which is an antibiotic with no milk restriction) but there was no improvement ... she sorta hops on 3 legs while holding the other one up. :(

    I am almost hoping she will go on the bucket at some point (develop mastitis) so I can get some LA200 into her!

    Do you think hosing their feet would help any?
     
  4. cowsndirt

    cowsndirt Member

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    I think you are right, hosing the feet couldn't hurt no matter what was wrong (infection or laminitis). As valuable as dairy cow are, I would have a vet diagnose the problem if possible. They are well worth the money. Good Luck.
     
  5. If the problem is foot rot you will soon see swollen places around the coronet and between the toes. From your post I gather that you have seen and would recognize foot rot.

    LA 200, 5mg per pound four days in a row is the treatment for beef and dry dairy cattle. There is a foot bath especially for foot rot that requires soaking the foot ten days in a row--I've used it on a big bull and had him trained to the bucket by the tenth day. It worked fine, but the LA 200 is quicker and easier.

    I do not know the treatment for laminitis. Every animal I have ever seen that had bad feet from overeating was a permanent cripple. I'd like to hear someone else's experience on this.
    Ox
     
  6. GreenHolstein21

    GreenHolstein21 Member

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    Willow this guy sounds like a real gooroo...IMO. How many cows do you milk there? We ALWAYS wash there hooves we milk 30 this helps find problems before they get ou of hand. We just spray them with a hose and pistol grip spray nozzle.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    GH, that is an excellent idea and I'm going to try it on my girls at home now that I have stanchions to milk them in! (Thanks to my husband's little project for the week ;) ).

    I milk about 150 cows at work.
     
  8. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yoy can always tell founder (laminitis) because they walk on thier "heels" If they tuck their back legs under them, you can bet it's founder.Founder is an inflamination of the hoof lamina. You need to cool the hooves (cold water), and try to reduce fever.
     
  9. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Tinknal, I have been told that horses do the same thing!

    The girl who was bad on both back feet developed mastitis, so now I can get some antibiotics into her! Yay!

    Mark isn't going to cull her because she's supposed to be only 2 months from calving. I wonder about that, though, 'cause she's really skinny, not big in the middle at all. :confused:

    But it will buy her some time, and maybe we can get those feet fixed up in the meantime!

    I'm curious about the dosage, though ... he has me give them LA 200, 60 cc's every 3 days (not every day as Ox suggested). :confused:

    I will doublecheck with him tomorrow regarding this.
     
  10. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    I asked him whether she should be getting LA200 every day and he said I could give it to her every-other day.

    She seemed to be slightly improved today (after just one dose!) ... not "hopping" from one foot to the other quite so bad!
     
  11. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This really sounds like founder. Stay the course, and cut out all grain, and feed the poorest (clean) hay you have.
     
  12. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Well, if she were mine, I'd put her down and be done with it. :(

    She has Johne's too, and is just skin and bones ... :no:

    But she's (supposedly) carrying an ET calf worth $5,000, according to boss.

    So the idea is to keep her alive until October, when she is supposed to calve. Then she'll be culled, or whatever.

    (Personally, I have a hard time believing she's even pregnant, she's so thin, but ... :rolleyes: )

    He's keeping her in the milking herd for the extra nutrition, I guess ... he said if he takes her down to the dry-cow barn, she'll die.

    She's giving so little milk, I wouldn't even bother bringing her into the parlor, except to give her shots. We are out of LA200 right now, so I've been giving her penicillin instead. It does seem to be helping a bit ...

    I was trying to clear up her mastitis too with intramammary infusions after the LA200 didn't touch it (thinking that any kind of infection in her system was bad :confused: ) but he told me not to bother.

    (Mind you, we have some very nice cows, too, in fact most of the herd is very nice, but I don't post about those! Just the wrecks I'm trying to figure out how to patch up. :) )
     
  13. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Tell your boss that you need to dry her off to save that $5000 calf. If she is so thin the founder is probably not feed related, so keep a little grain in front of her.
     
  14. Kathryn L.Holck

    Kathryn L.Holck Active Member

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    A cattle can founder over night if fed a rich food. I think a clean environment will help considerably for any sore footed animal. The hosing at the parlor would help and probably be soothing as well. Foot baths are important and sounds like a cleaner lot would be beneficial for cow health which would increase milk production dramatically. Good luck and your efforts will be rewarded.
     
  15. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Tinknal, she's not being milked (since she basically doesn't have any). I have only been running her through the parlor to give her shots, the rest of the time I try to sort her out but she's such a good girl, sometimes she slips by me and goes right into the holding pen with the rest of the herd. :(

    I think she is getting a little better though, I've been seeing her get up on her own for food and water. That's a good sign.

    The one with the swollen front leg was showing mastitis today, so I finally got some LA200 into her. YAY!

    And my boss milked yesterday morning, and decided to put another cow who could barely walk on antibiotics.

    There are 2 more who are really having problems ... mostly because they appear to have more than 1 sore foot.

    One seemed to get better when she was dried off, but the problems came back after about 6 weeks in the milking herd. :( (She's sore on both back feet.)

    I just hate to see my girls hurtin'. :(

    If it were my farm, I'd scrape all the alleys twice a day instead of just once, but oh well, it's not so there's not much I can do about it ...
     
  16. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    If this cow has Johne's......

    I would not buy any more cattle from this place! It's probably too late, but you really don't want to get your place infected with Johnes! Bad news.

    LA200 is a long-acting antibiotic that ought not be given every day. It's like a time-release type of deal....every 3 days is the right way to do it.

    Jena
     
  17. poorme

    poorme Well-Known Member

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    This guy sounds like a very poor manager to me....
     
  18. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    I am paranoid about Johne's, too, especially since I have sheep as well as cattle.

    According to my vet, most commercial dairies around here have at least some Johne's cows. :(

    My boss says odds of transmission among adult cows is only about 5%. Calves less than 6 months of age are the ones mainly at risk, and of course they have little contact with adult cows.

    I am always very careful to spray my boots off before I leave!

    I believe he culled all the other Johne's-positive cows at the same time he got rid of Twister (the one I just bought). It's sad, one was a nice little first-calf heifer. You'd never have guessed anything was wrong to look at her. She wasn't giving a whole lot of milk, though, and that probably factored into the decision.

    I think my boss does the best he can. He is a young guy just starting out. Before he hired me, he only had 1 other milker who milked 1 shift, 5 nights a week. He milked all the other shifts, plus feeding, scraping, doctoring, repairs and field work. I don't see how he did it!!!
     
  19. poorme

    poorme Well-Known Member

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    The Johne's test is not either positive or negative. It's a range of results, extreme, high, low, none, ect. ect.

    Many dairies, maybe 40%+ have it. You have to manage it the best you can. The high positives have to be culled immediately. There's a vaccine, but it has limitations. Most importantly, the calf must be separated from mother immediately at birth so that zero manure gets into it's mouth. Colostrum from Johne's positive cows should NEVER be fed to calves. Pasturization is not even effective, which is kind of scary as far as humans are concerned...
     
  20. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Well, the Johne's cow went down today. I thought she had been doing a little better, she certainly seemed to be walking with less difficulty. But today I couldn't get her up (she had been getting up on her own) and her breathing was rapid and shallow.

    My boss called the vet, and they cut the calf out of her. He was big feller for being 3 weeks premature, but sadly, he didn't make it. We just couldn't get that first big breath of life into him, to get his lungs working. I was so sure he was gonna make it ... he even bawled a couple times ... but it just wasn't happening. We worked on him for quite awhile, until it was obvious. I hate to give up on a calf ...

    Afterwards, of course, the vet put the cow down. So we lost 'em both. It sucks. :(