tetanus in calf

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by cdny4, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. cdny4

    cdny4 Member

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    Jun 10, 2003
    ok, we have never had a calf with tetanus before, we are under vet care, but I feel like I'm missing something or we're too far gone...need some input.
    Calf was born 5/15. tagged and banded on 6/1. yesterday counting heads because mom was yelling and we found this little guy stiff as a board.
    We gave him penicillin, cut out the ear tags-ear was infected, banded area fine. Cleaned both areas with betadine and injected lidocaine into the ear with the infection. Was able to get anti toxin from the vet and a muxcle relaxer, IV fluids(saline/potassium drip). 3cc ACE.

    We turned him without bloating, today tried to stand him up in the cattle chute with straps to keep him upright. Temp is not elevated, it's within range, but even after all the meds he's still stiff and labored breathing.

    Is it possible for a calf to survive this or would we be better off puting him down? Have we missed something? Any recommendations to try? It's been 24 hours now and he's not showing signs of improvement. We have him in a dark sound free area, eyes covered(using gel for lubricant, he can't close them all the way)

    anti toxin page says that temp will elevate shortly before death, so we are trying to keep an eye on that. fluids are going well, but I'm not sure how many bags are safe for him. My thoughts are that when I went in to the ER they gave me one saline bag an hour until they thought I was better , he weighs about the same as me. We are not going to tube him-he's already raspy and I'm worried about pneumonia. Figured the IV would be better.

    Like I said, we've never seen this before, and I feel like I'm missing something. Anyone have a suggestion?
     
  2. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    This is a new one to me. What does the vet say? I would imagine the anti-toxin would work pretty quickly...or it's not going to work, but that is just a guess.

    Please let us know how it turns out.

    Jena
     

  3. MARYDVM

    MARYDVM Well-Known Member

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    The tetanus antitoxin ony prevents free toxins circulating in the bloodstream from making the calf sicker. The toxins already bound to the muscles, and causing the calf's symptoms will have to break down over time. This could take days or weeks depending on how much toxin is present. You will have to tube feed if he doesn't begin eating within a couple of days. It is possible for an animal to survive tetanus, but not easy.
     
  4. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Minnesota
    One of the grim realities of homesteading is that sometimes, you need to let it go and put an animal out of it's misery. In the case of tetnus, I would say this is one of those times.
     
  5. cdny4

    cdny4 Member

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    Jun 10, 2003
    No luck. The calf died yesterday morning. I have never seen this before.
    Vet thinks we used a new ear tag that is medicated and it caused the pierce hole to pull back, allowing dirt to get in the pierce. Needless to say they are in the garbage.
    Tetanus vaccines are due in this week, a little late. Vet says the vaccine should have passed to the calf in the colostrum from the cow, so he's not sure what happened. The odd thing is it hit so quick...we counted heads and watched the field when we pulled in a round bale after lunch, everyone was moving around fine. We found him around 8 or so stiff on the ground with the mother bawling looking for him.
    Vet said if we had caught him walking stiff legged he may have had a better chance, but there was only a 10-20% chance of survival at that rate. I think we did everything we could, just felt like I was missing something.