Assisted birthing caused upper femur fracture

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May 19, 2012
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I need ideas on how to treat or not treat a newborn calf with a broken upper femur bone. It is in a difficult splinting location. The vet says nothing he can do. The calf is 24 hours old and cannot get up using her 3 good legs.
Oh dear, not good Willow....we have fixed a break like that using a plaster cast with wire "basket handles". If, when you lift the calf up, she will feed and doesnt seem to be in pain, there may be some hope of helping her. Otherwise, it may be best just to put her down and move on. Good luck.
Thank you for replying Jilleroo. She is bottling well at this time. We gave her a peg leg at this time, but she isnt coordinated enough to stand with it yet.
Upper femoral fractures don't lend themselves to splinting/casting - trying to do so may, in many cases, actually impede healing.
Fortunately, there's enough muscle mass(even in a baby calf) to hold things in reasonable alignment, and they bear something like 60% of their weight on the front legs, so femoral fractures usually heal quite readily in cattle. Your results, especially since this is a baby, should be VERY GOOD. Just keep calf and cow up in a small enclosure for a week or two so the calf doesn't have to walk long distances, and so that you can provide assistance if the calf needs help getting up or nursing.
Within 2 weeks there should be a good fibrous connective tissue callus holding things in place, and you can probably turn 'em out with the rest of the herd if she's getting around OK.
She may not be 'perfect' - that leg may end up a bit shorter than the other one, but she'll do OK. I'd probably plan on selling her with her steer cohorts as a weanling or yearling.
Thank you Lucky P for your response. I am going to remove her splint and let nature heal her. I agree that the splint may cause too much pressure on the break and impede healing. I am going to remain optimistic with her. I will repost with updates for anyone who is interested in following her case.
Willow":1nwtw9v3 said:
I will repost with updates for anyone who is interested in following her case.

Yes, do. I'm curious to know how this will pan out.

Good luck with her, and I hope things progress.

The little girl is now 3 days old (Gracie). She still cannot rise fully on her legs. She does more of a crouch. This has not stopped her from crawling around her enclosure any. She is getting stronger each day and has a hearty appetite. I remain optimistic for her.
Just a quick not for those of you interested in the progress of the fracture. Gracie is now 6 days old and has been able to get up on her 3 good legs for a little while at a time. She hasn't figured out how to hop around yet, but it will come.
At 2 weeks old Gracie is progressing slowly. She has no use of the injured limb. Her pelvis/pin bone drops on the injured side when she stands. She has a big appetite and is growing. Im trying to stay optimistic. Any ideas on how to help her more?
Keep doing what you can but sounds like she'd be a good candidate to feed out early and eat.

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