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Chief Bottle Washer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK. This was too weird, I just wanted to tell this and see if anyone else has had anything like this happen. Here's the scenario.

Wed Aug 15th
8:30 AM: Went out and brought new heifer calf and cow in from field. Not too sure how old calf was; umbilical cord sort of dried up, but calf still seemed damp. Left her with cow all morning til maybe early afternoon. Then separated them. Beautiful, normal calf.

6 PM Fed calf bottle. She slugged back the whole thing. (only one thing to note. Normally we give calf bottle of its mother's colostrum, but cow hadn't been milked yet. So due to time constraints gave calf milk from current 4 cows being milked at the time. This isn't unusual for us to do and we've never had a problem with it.)

Thurs Aug 16th
5:15 AM (approx) Calf comatose. Or as near as I could tell. She was on her side, non-responsive, drooling, head on ground, eyes closed or just barely opened. I tried to feed her bottle but she only swallowed convulsively once or twice, then milk just drained from her mouth.

5:30 AM. Husband went out and looked at her. Drug her out of pen and out of the way to be taken to boneyard later after chores were all done. She was barely breathing and as I said, totally non-responsive.

This was a real grief as the cow she came from is a great milker and to get a heifer from her was a joy.

But.

12 noon on Thurs. I came home from town to see her sitting up looking around.

7 PM. She was very weak, but stood up and drank her whole bottle.

Since then...she is still weak and wobbly on her pins, but she gets up and staggers around and seems to get a bit stronger every day. Her poo is normal mustard colored calf poo. She drinks most, 3/4 at least, of her bottles. But now she's BLIND! To me it is too weird. In the pic you can see how milky and clouded her eye is. Both eyes are like that. Husband says he had an older heifer do that once; go blind after a serious illness. But her sight returned eventually.

Anyway. Has anyone else ever known of something like this happening? Did the critter make a full recovery?

On a dairy you avoid making pets out of the animals, but it is really tempting with this one.
Rebecca

 

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Gosh, I've had this happen and was told it was a trace mineral deficiency but I must be having a case of the stupids today because for the life of me, I can't remember the mineral. Normally, I would just call the old rancher but he's run away from home to visit family and it tends to scare the daylights out of him if I call him on his cell.
 

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Hi I don't have cattle (yet) but I was chatting with someone today and they were mentioning they heard of a goat that was not very responsive and looked like it was going blind. Turned out to be a disease that caused a vitamin B shortage!
Best wishes to you...
If I hear anything else I'll let you know.
 

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Any way the calf could have gotten lead poisoning in vitro?
 

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Chief Bottle Washer
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your suggestions. It is weird. Dunno about the vitamin B shortage or the lead poisoning. Anything is possible. It's just weird that it would only happen to one calf and happen so quickly. Wouldn't a vitamin shortage have to had originated with the mother for the illness to hit w/in 24 hours of birth?

How would the fetus get lead poisoning in vitro? Wouldn't it affect the cow as well? The cow is doing great, but maybe it is something the calf got in vitro or was just born with. Dunno.

The calf is perking up, getting stronger every day. I call her BB-Blind Betsy. Ha
R
 

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At first it sounded like a deficiency of some sort. But animals don't just spontaniously heal from that. Perhaps it was a birth defect or a neurological parasite? Did you take her temperature while she was almost dead?
 

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Chief Bottle Washer
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sprout,
No, unfortunately we didn't take her temp. I wish we had had the foresight to do so. Husband thought she was a goner and wouldn't have bothered anyway. He thinks that the temp is what made her blind and that she will get her eyesight back eventually. I hope she does.
 
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