Calf down will not get up

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Well-known member
Oct 8, 2004
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Letohatchee, AL
I have a six month old bottle baby that well has never really done good. But he is down and will not stand. He sounded like he had trouble breathing so I gave him 6ml of duropen penicillin on Sunday. Been giving him a bottle twice a day, water hay, feed. He is eating, peeing, and pooping. But will not stand. How long can he stay down. I keep moving him turning rolling over, moving his legs. Any suggestions? Gave him a booster shot yesterday of dura pen.
Sounds to me like the end is near.... 2 possibilities come to mind.

1. Navel ill from a bacterial infection, with the usual culprits being staph or strep bacteria or mycoplasma.
I say this because you said He's never been quite right... meaning unthrifty or poor doer from the get go.
If he has swollen joints (front knees) then in my opinion most likely navel ill from mycoplasma infection.

2. Mycoplasma bacteria as a primary or secondary lung infection. Most often it infects calves already weakened
from a viral infection like IBR. It's a known cause of respiratory infections leading to pneumonia and or arthritis.

Penicillin doesn't work... nothing works well, although Baytril and Tylan claim they do, NuFlor helps sometimes, but
if anything is going to work it's Draxxin.

More bad news... the earlier it's treated the better the chance of recovery.
I tried to save one late stage calf (like it sounds yours is) he seemed to make progress for a couple of weeks
as I spent $$$ on treatment..... only to relapse and die 2-3 weeks later.

Wish I could give you better news.... but that's the way I see it.
Maybe someone else has a different opinion or knows more.
just my :2cents:
They dont need to stay down long. You need to get him up on his feet at the least a couple time a day and get home to stand. You may have to support him some while he's up.
Check for a fever, may be an indication of an infection. Banamine has worked for us with fevers. Bacteria infections are extremely common right now, at least for us with this temperature swing.
If he does not have a fever, it could be Selenium deficiency, know as White Muscle Disease. A shot of Seleniem (BoSe, MuSe or Multimin) all needs to be purchased from vet. ALL calves should get a SE shot at birth IMHO
Still down, we moved him around the last two days and worked him saturday trying to get him up. He is eating more, peeing more and pooping more, I keep feed and water in front of him. he is drinking about 6 to 8 gallons of water a day now. trying to find a sling to buy so i can get him up and support him. any ideas? he did weigh around 350
thommoos":3kdscyzy said:
trying to find a sling to buy so i can get him up and support him. any ideas? he did weigh around 350

You could try to fashion one out of a heavy duty, canvas-type painters cloth/tarp and some heavy-duty ratchet straps. Or, perhaps you could check with a couple of local FD's or animal control offices and see if they have a sling set-up you could use. Like they type that is used to "rescue" livestock from swimming pools, or from having fallen through ice.
Helped pick a neighbor's bull up last month with 2 slings of the type they cinch loads down on 18 wheeler trailers. Pushed one under in front of rear legs, the other right behind front legs and threw them over forks on a fel.
It worked pretty good and the bull was upwards of 1300 lbs.

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