Cause of death? (Bloating + prolapse)

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aaronstiff

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Woke up this morning to a dead 5 month old calf. :(

Had noticed the day before that he looked kind of bloated but wasn't showing any other signs (e.g. no lying down, labored breathing, bellowing, etc.). The corpse was still bloated when I found it and the anus was prolapsed. All the other calves are perfectly fine. They've all been on hay for the last month and were weaned 3 weeks ago. The dead one was running around just fine 2 days ago. Any ideas? Did it eat something that got stuck?
 

TCRanch

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I lost a weaned steer that choked on a hedge apple a few years ago, almost lost one last year but was able to catch her, get her to the vet & the obstruction was dislodged. Always a possibility.

Another possibility with a recently weaned calf is bloat from pneumonia. Even though it was running around 2 days prior, pneumonia can hit them fast, hard & fatal.
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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I lost a weaned steer that choked on a hedge apple a few years ago, almost lost one last year but was able to catch her, get her to the vet & the obstruction was dislodged. Always a possibility.

Another possibility with a recently weaned calf is bloat from pneumonia. Even though it was running around 2 days prior, pneumonia can hit them fast, hard & fatal.
Interesting. Thanks for the suggestions. The more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to think something was stuck inside, given the prolapse and the gradual bloating, but this is only my second year with cattle so what do I know. :) I wish I had clued in at the time, but other than the fatness it looked fine.
 

sim.-ang.king

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Blocked bowel, twisted inside internal injury, toxin of some kind, overeating. The toxin and overeating wouldn't have killed it as fast, but still a minor possibility. If no one else shows anything then you can mark it as unlucky. Also do a check for trash or string laying, to be safe.
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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Blocked bowel, twisted inside internal injury, toxin of some kind, overeating. The toxin and overeating wouldn't have killed it as fast, but still a minor possibility. If no one else shows anything then you can mark it as unlucky. Also do a check for trash or string laying, to be safe.
Thanks for the suggestions. That's how I feel: there's so many things it could be that there's no point losing sleep over it.
 

Lucky_P

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90+% of the time, when I was presented with a healthy calf in good body condition, found dead with no sign of illness the day before - with a tightly-distended abdomen - it would have either an abomasal or intestinal torsion... a 'twisted gut'.
Usually, the owner just finds them dead, but I have seen them, on occasion, displaying evidence of abdominal pain... twitching tail, kicking at abdomen, lying down & getting up frequently trying to find a comfortable position.
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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90+% of the time, when I was presented with a healthy calf in good body condition, found dead with no sign of illness the day before - with a tightly-distended abdomen - it would have either an abomasal or intestinal torsion... a 'twisted gut'.
Usually, the owner just finds them dead, but I have seen them, on occasion, displaying evidence of abdominal pain... twitching tail, kicking at abdomen, lying down & getting up frequently trying to find a comfortable position.

Wow, that sounds exactly like what it was, except I didn't see any signs of pain. What would cause that? Something they ate?
 

gcreekrch

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I sympathize with losing a calf but they do die. The good part is no matter how hard we try, we can’t kill them all.
Where they vaccinated with a clostridium?

At times we refer to James Herriot books and write these random, unexplained deaths off as Gastric Rot or Stagnation o t’lungs.
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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I sympathize with losing a calf but they do die. The good part is no matter how hard we try, we can’t kill them all.
Where they vaccinated with a clostridium?

At times we refer to James Herriot books and write these random, unexplained deaths off as Gastric Rot or Stagnation o t’lungs.
No, they haven't received any vaccines. They're being raised as grass-fed, antibiotic-free, "uncertified" organic meat, so I try not to.

"We can't kill them all". That made me laugh, thanks! 😄
 

Lucky_P

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No vaccines? I'm sorry, that's just stupid. I'm not being 'mean', I'm just telling it like it is... and, believe me, I've done 'stupid'.
Now that you've given us that little fact... I'd say that there's a 95+% likelihood that your calf died of blackleg/malignant edema or one of the other Clostridial diseases.

Grass-fed, organic, antibiotic-free is one thing; not doing the minimal Clostridial bacterin/toxoid inoculations is a whole 'nother level of ignorance or idiocy.
There's really nothing you can do to prevent torsions, but not doing "blackleg' vaccinations just to fit in that 'box' is really just neglectful, and actually bordering on abuse... fatal Clostridial infections are exceedingly common, but are readily and inexpensively prevented with the bacterin/toxoids we have available. Even 'certified' organic production programs allow vaccination.
Please vaccinate the remaining calves, ASAP, and booster according to label directions. But... even at that, you may lose some more over the next 2-3 weeks.

Several years back, I was presented, at necropsy, with a half-dozen beautifully-marbled, nearly 'finished' feedlot steers that the owner/feeder had declined to vaccinate... "Because, it's so HARD on them.", he said... Not nearly as hard as dying, needlessly, of blackleg, I'd say.
 

wbvs58

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I sympathize with losing a calf but they do die. The good part is no matter how hard we try, we can’t kill them all.
Where they vaccinated with a clostridium?

At times we refer to James Herriot books and write these random, unexplained deaths off as Gastric Rot or Stagnation o t’lungs.
Does Mallock come to take them away Dave?

Ken
 

damengineer

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No vaccines? I'm sorry, that's just stupid. I'm not being 'mean', I'm just telling it like it is... and, believe me, I've done 'stupid'.
Now that you've given us that little fact... I'd say that there's a 95+% likelihood that your calf died of blackleg/malignant edema or one of the other Clostridial diseases.

Grass-fed, organic, antibiotic-free is one thing; not doing the minimal Clostridial bacterin/toxoid inoculations is a whole 'nother level of ignorance or idiocy.
There's really nothing you can do to prevent torsions, but not doing "blackleg' vaccinations just to fit in that 'box' is really just neglectful, and actually bordering on abuse... fatal Clostridial infections are exceedingly common, but are readily and inexpensively prevented with the bacterin/toxoids we have available. Even 'certified' organic production programs allow vaccination.
Please vaccinate the remaining calves, ASAP, and booster according to label directions. But... even at that, you may lose some more over the next 2-3 weeks.

Several years back, I was presented, at necropsy, with a half-dozen beautifully-marbled, nearly 'finished' feedlot steers that the owner/feeder had declined to vaccinate... "Because, it's so HARD on them.", he said... Not nearly as hard as dying, needlessly, of blackleg, I'd say.
I missed vaccination due to the problem of help and that covid in 2020. I paid for it this spring with pneumonia in calves. I had to treat 4 for pneumonia. I lost one during that cold snap that I had treated for pneumonia. Just FYI, my best treatment for pneumonia is Pennicillin, Sulfamethazine, and Draxxin.
 

Lucky_P

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I've missed vaccinating due to too much on my plate and not MAKING TIME to get it done - and lost a calf or two to blackleg... but never because of making a conscious decision NOT to vaccinate.
 

faster horses

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We calved the end of March and give blackleg vaccine in May. You might need to do it sooner, our cattle were on a year round mineral program so we didn't have much trouble, if any. All we gave at branding was blackleg/C&D vaccine. Most people give more at that time, but we learned the cattle were too young to take advantage of the IBR/BVD/PI3 vaccines. Not saying everyone should skip that, it's just that we did and never saw any bad consequences from it. We did give pre-conditioning shots in the fall before the calves were delivered.

I would say Blackleg/C&D vaccination is a MUST in every herd. It is approved in 'Natural Beef' programs.
I'd sure vaccinate the other calves right away. Good luck.
 

Lucky_P

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Maternal colostral antibodies will have waned enough by about 60 days for most calves to respond to most vaccines... that's when we generally gave the first dose of Clostridial bacterin/toxoid to ours, then boostered 3 wks or so later. The farther out you go past 3 months, the greater likelihood that they may die.
The Clostridium organisms are on every property, worldwide. You might 'roll the dice' and get away with not vaccinating for a while... maybe even a few years, but eventually, your calves will take a hit... and if you lose one - and it always seems to be the very best, growthiest calf - you'll have lost enough to pay for many years' supply of vaccines. It's really cheap insurance... and has been stated, 'organic' and 'natural' programs recognize the importance of disease prevention, and allow - if not promote - appropriate vaccination.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Too young for IBR, PI3, BRSV?? Like Lucky_P said, by 2 months old their antibodies should be gone. Latest research I've seen says you don't even need to worry about interferance from dam's colostrum?? Need to watch out using MLV while nursing - just make sure the dams have been vaccinated within 12 months.
 

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