Calf surviving but not thriving

Help Support CattleToday:

Will P.

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
3
I had a heifer born in mid Dec. with everything looking normal. She started sucking right away and for the first month or so was doing well. She seemed fairly tame as well and wouldn't run off like most of the calves when I came near.

Around early February I noticed she had scours which were grey in color. She started being more lethargic as well and never ran and played with the other calves. I treated her and the Vet treated her for parasites/worms as well. The scours continued for close to a month and always were a distinctive grey color. She also had (and still has) a smell different from the other calves/cows. An agent form the University observed that she didn't appear to be chewing cud when she should and so we started a regimen of giving her Glyceryl tributyrate with Silicon dioxide to help with rumen development.

Long story short, she survives but is not growing like her peers, probably less than 2/3rd their size. She is frequently bloated (swollen, not true bloat) on both sides daily, has a pocket of fluid/cud that rests in her throat frequently and undulates, is very pokey - never runs, but when she is excited and/or stressed will vomit. I moved the cattle one day close to a mile to reach new pasture and she was the last one to arrive and when she took a drink at the stock tank she vomited after each drink (over 7 times). She seems to poop and pee normally and grazes and sucks normally but doesn't seem to grow much.

I don't know if there is an enzyme deficiency or some other internal issue going on with her but it seems to have baffled us all. Without doing more expensive testing, I was wondering if anyone has had this type of experience before or has any suggestions.
 

damengineer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 2, 2016
Messages
186
Reaction score
183
Sounds like a deformed gut. I knew an old time vet who would give a big dose of B complex vitamins to a poor doer as he called them. If they came out of it, it worked, if not, he said to bury them the killers did not need that meat in the hamburger... He made the dairy guys mad as hell all the time. He absolutely hated it when anyone took a sick cow in to the stockyards.. He used to say if you owned them, then take responsibility to keep everyone safe... He was one hell of a good vet..
 
OP
W

Will P.

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
3
Sounds like a deformed gut. I knew an old time vet who would give a big dose of B complex vitamins to a poor doer as he called them. If they came out of it, it worked, if not, he said to bury them the killers did not need that meat in the hamburger... He made the dairy guys mad as hell all the time. He absolutely hated it when anyone took a sick cow in to the stockyards.. He used to say if you owned them, then take responsibility to keep everyone safe... He was one hell of a good vet..
Thanks
 

Hereford2

Well-known member
Joined
May 7, 2016
Messages
488
Reaction score
164
Location
Missouri
An uncle of mine had a Heifer calf like that, grey scours, which it got over it never thrived or grew very big. It was boney also, it smelled different than the other calves also. I tried to get him to put it out of it's miserable existance because it progressively got worse, . Worming did no good, meds did no good, vet said put it down. He wouldn't do it himself or let anyone, then
1 day it dropped dead
 

wbvs58

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
6,032
Reaction score
1,260
Location
S.E. Queensland, Australia
Sounds like something is stopping things from being swallowed properly. I know in other species defects in blood vessels around the heart can contribute to swallowing difficulties, not sure of this in bovines though I don't see why not. Otherwise maybe something caught down its oesophagus like a bit of baling twine anchored around the pharynx and trailing off into the gut?????? The regurgitation would certainly have me looking in this direction.

Ken
 
OP
W

Will P.

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
3
An uncle of mine had a Heifer calf like that, grey scours, which it got over it never thrived or grew very big. It was boney also, it smelled different than the other calves also. I tried to get him to put it out of it's miserable existance because it progressively got worse, . Worming did no good, meds did no good, vet said put it down. He wouldn't do it himself or let anyone, then
1 day it dropped dead
Thanks for the reply
 
OP
W

Will P.

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
3
Sounds like something is stopping things from being swallowed properly. I know in other species defects in blood vessels around the heart can contribute to swallowing difficulties, not sure of this in bovines though I don't see why not. Otherwise maybe something caught down its oesophagus like a bit of baling twine anchored around the pharynx and trailing off into the gut?????? The regurgitation would certainly have me looking in this direction.

Ken
Thanks for the suggestion
 

Ridgetop

Active member
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
32
Reaction score
42
Had a twin lamb like that. Normal size at birth but after a month her twin kept growing while she just never grew right. Looked bloated too but no scours. Seemed healthy enough and lively, just didn't grow well. Only 2/3 size of others born same time. Had other sets of twins out of same ewe and ram that grew just fine. Sent to auction early.
 
OP
W

Will P.

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
3
Sounds like something is stopping things from being swallowed properly. I know in other species defects in blood vessels around the heart can contribute to swallowing difficulties, not sure of this in bovines though I don't see why not. Otherwise maybe something caught down its oesophagus like a bit of baling twine anchored around the pharynx and trailing off into the gut?????? The regurgitation would certainly have me looking in this direction.

Ken
The more I think about it, the more your hypothesis about twine sounds convincing. As a young calf, she was always finding things to suck on or put her mouth on. She used to come up to me and suck on my pants legs. Something I didn't mention is that when she bellows, it sounds a bit hoarse or raspy compared to other calves. Unfortunately, if there is twine lodged there, I don't know how I'd get it out. The cost/benefit probably wouldn't make sense. Thanks again for the suggestions.
 

Latest posts

Top