Bloat

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Anonymous

I'm going to pick the brains of all you cattle experts out there!

I have a Jersey/Holstein first-calf heifer. She was very young when she calved, not quite 22 months (wouldn't have bought her if I'd known she was that young). Heifer calf is now 12 weeks and weaned. Calf weighed 100 lbs at birth and had to be pulled, mother contracted a uterine infection and had to undergo antibiotic treatment. She's been doing real well until the past few days. A week ago Saturday, she bloated. I called the fellow I had bought her from and he administered "Bloat Drench"s and she was fine in a few minutes (this was when I found out just how old she is -- turned 2 this week). Now she has bloated 3 times in as many days -- and today it took a visit from the vet to finally get her to release the gas. She didn't respond to the "Bloat Drench" or to the vet's suggestion of baking soda.

In the course of administering the baking soda mixture to her, I noticed that she appears to be teething -- and I also noticed some apparently dry clumps of hay in her stools. Is it possible that she's having trouble chewing? and could that contribute to bloat?

Any thoughts would be appreciated -- I really like this heifer, but I can't do this every day! Too many more episodes and it's off to the salebarn!

Ann B

She has very limited access to grass/weeds, her diet consists of a dairy mix milled locally just for her, and equal amounts of good alfalfa hay and good brome hay.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

My first question would be how much dairy mix? Too much grain can affect the microbes in the rumen and not allow the cow to use the roughage she is being fed. All of the dairy fix type stuff around here has bicarbonate in it to affect the acid rumen. Could also be a problem chewing which should correct itself in time. I would cut out the alfalfa and just go with the grass hay also. But I'm just a simple solution type of person, I like to let nature take it's course if possible.

dunmovin farms

> I'm going to pick the brains of
> all you cattle experts out there!

> I have a Jersey/Holstein
> first-calf heifer. She was very
> young when she calved, not quite
> 22 months (wouldn't have bought
> her if I'd known she was that
> young). Heifer calf is now 12
> weeks and weaned. Calf weighed 100
> lbs at birth and had to be pulled,
> mother contracted a uterine
> infection and had to undergo
> antibiotic treatment. She's been
> doing real well until the past few
> days. A week ago Saturday, she
> bloated. I called the fellow I had
> bought her from and he
> administered "Bloat
> Drench"s and she was fine in
> a few minutes (this was when I
> found out just how old she is --
> turned 2 this week). Now she has
> bloated 3 times in as many days --
> and today it took a visit from the
> vet to finally get her to release
> the gas. She didn't respond to the
> "Bloat Drench" or to the
> vet's suggestion of baking soda.

> In the course of administering the
> baking soda mixture to her, I
> noticed that she appears to be
> teething -- and I also noticed
> some apparently dry clumps of hay
> in her stools. Is it possible that
> she's having trouble chewing? and
> could that contribute to bloat?

> Any thoughts would be appreciated
> -- I really like this heifer, but
> I can't do this every day! Too
> many more episodes and it's off to
> the salebarn!

> Ann B

> She has very limited access to
> grass/weeds, her diet consists of
> a dairy mix milled locally just
> for her, and equal amounts of good
> alfalfa hay and good brome hay.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

She gets about 15 lbs of dairy mix daily, divided over 2 feedings -- which is actually a little less than what was recommended by the feed dealer. He said to feed her 2 lbs of mix for each 100 lbs of body weight, and she weighs 850 lbs.

What I don't understand is why all of a sudden she's got this problem -- her diet hasn't changed at all over the past 12 weeks since she calved. I could see it if she were eating something that the other cattle aren't, but they all get the same thing -- just much smaller amounts of the dairy mix for the one that's dry.

What about mold? We're down to the last couple of bags of feed before having new feed milled, there isn't any visible mold or even anything visibly different about these bags than any of the other bags that the 1/2 ton consisted of. But then again, the others are getting the same thing and no problems with them.

Can you tell I'm frustrated? LOL

Ann B

> My first question would be how
> much dairy mix? Too much grain can
> affect the microbes in the rumen
> and not allow the cow to use the
> roughage she is being fed. All of
> the dairy fix type stuff around
> here has bicarbonate in it to
> affect the acid rumen. Could also
> be a problem chewing which should
> correct itself in time. I would
> cut out the alfalfa and just go
> with the grass hay also. But I'm
> just a simple solution type of
> person, I like to let nature take
> it's course if possible.

> dunmovin farms
 
OP
A

Anonymous

I can't tell you, but, all animals, or is that each animal, has different tolerances for everything. Just like one person can eat hot Mexican food and it will nearly kill another. What about minerals, does she have free choice access, or is it included in the dairy ration? My only suggestion would be, call the vet and discuss it with her/him (or if in CA) it.

dunmovin farms

> She gets about 15 lbs of dairy mix
> daily, divided over 2 feedings --
> which is actually a little less
> than what was recommended by the
> feed dealer. He said to feed her 2
> lbs of mix for each 100 lbs of
> body weight, and she weighs 850
> lbs.

> What I don't understand is why all
> of a sudden she's got this problem
> -- her diet hasn't changed at all
> over the past 12 weeks since she
> calved. I could see it if she were
> eating something that the other
> cattle aren't, but they all get
> the same thing -- just much
> smaller amounts of the dairy mix
> for the one that's dry.

> What about mold? We're down to the
> last couple of bags of feed before
> having new feed milled, there
> isn't any visible mold or even
> anything visibly different about
> these bags than any of the other
> bags that the 1/2 ton consisted
> of. But then again, the others are
> getting the same thing and no
> problems with them.

> Can you tell I'm frustrated? LOL

> Ann B
 
OP
A

Anonymous

may be a dumb sugestion but could the antibiotics have messed with her digestive tract. with all the upset she had maybe the meds pushed her over the the edge.

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

This is a good point. Also, would her milk production be any less, now that the calf is weaned - or are you milking her. The amount of milk production will make a difference on her needs. I also, would lower grain & increase GRASS hay. Jeanne <A HREF="http://www.SimmeValley.com" TARGET="_blank">http://www.SimmeValley.com</A>

> may be a dumb sugestion but could
> the antibiotics have messed with
> her digestive tract. with all the
> upset she had maybe the meds
> pushed her over the the edge.

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

I've not raised or calved any Jersey/Holstein crosses, but I don't see that 21 months is extremely young to calve. The generic "ideal" goal is about 24 months. The size of the calf sounds pretty big, though.

I don't advocate this, but we have an older cow who first calved at 14 months and was a second calf heifer at 24 months. She was bred as a 5 month old by a 6 month old bull calf.

You mention limited access to grass/weeds. Do you know what those weeds are? Could any of them be toxic or toxic at this time of year?

Does she have access to fresh water at all times?

I would increase the roughage in her diet in an effort to stimulate the rumen - feed more stemmy hay, preferably grass hay, as Dun advised. The ends of the stems actually do stimulate the cow's gut to move food on through, according to our vet, and is a natural part of digestion. He says if you remove or reduce the stem from the diet, you have a cow that tends to bloat more easily.

I would also give her a daily dose of a product designed to replace the normal flora/bacteria in her gut for a few days. If you don't have a commercial product, try some yogurt.

As for "apparently teething" I'm not sure what you mean. It wouldn't hurt, though, to have the vet inspect her mouth for broken, loose or diseased teeth or other problems.

You get the occasional cow or steer that just seems to have a genetic tendency to bloat, but most of the time good detective work can find the cause and cure the problem.

> I'm going to pick the brains of
> all you cattle experts out there!

> I have a Jersey/Holstein
> first-calf heifer. She was very
> young when she calved, not quite
> 22 months (wouldn't have bought
> her if I'd known she was that
> young). Heifer calf is now 12
> weeks and weaned. Calf weighed 100
> lbs at birth and had to be pulled,
> mother contracted a uterine
> infection and had to undergo
> antibiotic treatment. She's been
> doing real well until the past few
> days. A week ago Saturday, she
> bloated. I called the fellow I had
> bought her from and he
> administered "Bloat
> Drench"s and she was fine in
> a few minutes (this was when I
> found out just how old she is --
> turned 2 this week). Now she has
> bloated 3 times in as many days --
> and today it took a visit from the
> vet to finally get her to release
> the gas. She didn't respond to the
> "Bloat Drench" or to the
> vet's suggestion of baking soda.

> In the course of administering the
> baking soda mixture to her, I
> noticed that she appears to be
> teething -- and I also noticed
> some apparently dry clumps of hay
> in her stools. Is it possible that
> she's having trouble chewing? and
> could that contribute to bloat?

> Any thoughts would be appreciated
> -- I really like this heifer, but
> I can't do this every day! Too
> many more episodes and it's off to
> the salebarn!

> Ann B

> She has very limited access to
> grass/weeds, her diet consists of
> a dairy mix milled locally just
> for her, and equal amounts of good
> alfalfa hay and good brome hay.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Cow is being milked, calf was bottle raised, cow is producing 50+ lbs of milk daily, antibiotics were over with almost 3 months ago.

It does appear that the problem is a weed. One of the days that she bloated, she had nothing but water and grass hay -- and a bit of that weed in the pen. After talking with a local dairyman and my feed dealer, they both think that this weed is the problem -- so currently the cow is stalled, while her pen is sprayed then plowed under and replanted. Since she's been stalled, she's had no further problems at all -- milk production is right back up where it was.

Funny how she was the only one who was eating that weed -- the others don't touch it.

Ann

> This is a good point. Also, would
> her milk production be any less,
> now that the calf is weaned - or
> are you milking her. The amount of
> milk production will make a
> difference on her needs. I also,
> would lower grain & increase
> GRASS hay. Jeanne
> <A HREF="http://www.SimmeValley.com" TARGET="_blank">http://www.SimmeValley.com</A>
 
OP
A

Anonymous

A big clue is the other cows didn't eat the weed. Most of the time (but not always, as you've seen) cows will avoid plants that aren't good for them.

You need to identify the weed. Take a sample, including roots, to your extension office and they will identify it for you. Or try your county weed control office or your state ag college.

There are some links to websites on poisonous plants on my website's links page: <A HREF="http://www.murraygrey.com" TARGET="_blank">www.murraygrey.com</A>

Many of the sites have photos of the weeds.

Make sure the spray being used isn't harmful to your cow and find out exactly what is being sprayed and how long the half life of the spray is.

Also, look into the minerals your cow is receiving. Free choice loose mineral mix is best. Sometimes cows eat strange things because they are deficient in minerals.

I have one cow who eats dirt if I don't make a good loose mineral mix or a high quality supplement tub available to her.

> Cow is being milked, calf was
> bottle raised, cow is producing
> 50+ lbs of milk daily, antibiotics
> were over with almost 3 months
> ago.

> It does appear that the problem is
> a weed. One of the days that she
> bloated, she had nothing but water
> and grass hay -- and a bit of that
> weed in the pen. After talking
> with a local dairyman and my feed
> dealer, they both think that this
> weed is the problem -- so
> currently the cow is stalled,
> while her pen is sprayed then
> plowed under and replanted. Since
> she's been stalled, she's had no
> further problems at all -- milk
> production is right back up where
> it was.

> Funny how she was the only one who
> was eating that weed -- the others
> don't touch it.

> Ann
 
OP
A

Anonymous

I just re-read your original post where you mentioned the cow was apparently teething. I couldn't figure out what you meant, but now that you've talked about the toxic weed, I think you must have been talking about drooling. Yes, drooling can be a sign of ingesting a poison and/or a sign of something stuck in the throat.

> A big clue is the other cows
> didn't eat the weed. Most of the
> time (but not always, as you've
> seen) cows will avoid plants that
> aren't good for them.

> You need to identify the weed.
> Take a sample, including roots, to
> your extension office and they
> will identify it for you. Or try
> your county weed control office or
> your state ag college.

> There are some links to websites
> on poisonous plants on my
> website's links page:
> <A HREF="http://www.murraygrey.com" TARGET="_blank">www.murraygrey.com</A> Many of the
> sites have photos of the weeds.

> Make sure the spray being used
> isn't harmful to your cow and find
> out exactly what is being sprayed
> and how long the half life of the
> spray is.

> Also, look into the minerals your
> cow is receiving. Free choice
> loose mineral mix is best.
> Sometimes cows eat strange things
> because they are deficient in
> minerals.

> I have one cow who eats dirt if I
> don't make a good loose mineral
> mix or a high quality supplement
> tub available to her.
 
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