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Contracted tendons

Katpau

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A week ago I had a calf with extremely contracted tendons. He weighed well over a 100 pounds out of about a 1100 to 1200 pound cow. At first he walked only on his fetlocks, then the top of his toes. He now will walk for short distances on the front of his tippy toes. I stretch on them each day and have applied splints twice. Once between days 2 and 3, and again between days 6 and 7 (today). When I pull on them they will not pull forward all the way to a normal position. I have the cow and calf separate from the herd in a small covered pen. He is gaining rapidly. He is the largest calf I have calved out of my mostly Angus herd in 16 years. Interestingly his father was an Angus yearling with a calving ease EPD of 10 and Birthweight EPD of .8. I guess that shows that no matter the EPDs its hard to guess what what you will get from an unproven animal. My guestion is, has anyone seen a calf with such extreme tendon contraction recover?
 

Bez+

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Katpau":qdojntpg said:
A week ago I had a calf with extremely contracted tendons. He weighed well over a 100 pounds out of about a 1100 to 1200 pound cow. At first he walked only on his fetlocks, then the top of his toes. He now will walk for short distances on the front of his tippy toes. I stretch on them each day and have applied splints twice. Once between days 2 and 3, and again between days 6 and 7 (today). When I pull on them they will not pull forward all the way to a normal position. I have the cow and calf separate from the herd in a small covered pen. He is gaining rapidly. He is the largest calf I have calved out of my mostly Angus herd in 16 years. Interestingly his father was an Angus yearling with a calving ease EPD of 10 and Birthweight EPD of .8. I guess that shows that no matter the EPDs its hard to guess what what you will get from an unproven animal. My guestion is, has anyone seen a calf with such extreme tendon contraction recover?

Very common - lots of info if you search on these boards.

Some work with your system and splint and stretch.

We do nothing.

They will get over it and be just fine.

Give the calf time and you will see.

Regards

Bez+
 

randiliana

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We've had some as bad as you describe. If they are walking on their fetlocks all or more than half of the time I like to splint them. If they are walking tippy toe at least half the time we leave them alone. We have never had one that didn't come out of it, after a couple weeks you should hardly notice it on some, and the very bad ones should be noticably better.

The cow has a lot to do with the BW as well.
 

TB-Herefords

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Isn't it said only 2/3 of progeny will fall within the EPD's. Maybe not; I'll be corrected if wrong.
 

dun

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TB-Herefords":2epjinhz said:
Isn't it said only 2/3 of progeny will fall within the EPD's. Maybe not; I'll be corrected if wrong.
Correct, that's the way a bell curve works. Then you get into accuracy and the lower the accuracy the freater variation is possible (within the 66 2/3%)
An example would be for BW with an accuracy of .20 the variation may be plus or minus 10 pounds, at .40 it may be plus or minus 6 pounds, etc.
 

Katpau

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I know there is more information somewhere on contracted tendons, but when I do a search I find very little. My search only seems to find more recent posts I am new to this forum so perhaps I am doing something wrong. I actually discovered this site by doing a google search for "contracted tendons" I found some good information. When I came directly to "Cattle Today " and this forum I was not able to find any of the information I originally googled. I tried googling aqain and couldn't find any of the information I found the first time. Very frustrating. Thanks for your responses. I am encouraged. He walks mostly on his fetlocks without the splint. With The splint he seems quite happy and anxious to move about and play. Without he lays down most of the time, just getting up to eat.
 

cfpinz

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Contracted tendons have been discussed on here quite a bit. We give them a shot of Bo-Se and leave them alone. Worst I've had personally stayed doubled over for two weeks before he started walking on his tip-toes. Couldn't pick him out of the pen at weaning time. Nature has a way of taking it's course, there was some yahoo on here that gave his calf an infection from misuse of splints and it died, one of those self-proclaimed geniuses.
 

Sage

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Give the calf a shot of Vit A and selenium. Selenium defeciency is a major cause of the contracted tendons.
 

randiliana

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Here are some quotes I have found that relate to contracted tendons

From The Nature of Bovine Virus Diarrhea in Cattle
John H. Kirk1, Robert Moeller2, Dale Moore3


"Typical effects from BVDV infection are determined by the pregnancy status of the cow.
Infections prior to about 45 days of gestation may result in early embryonic death.
Infection between 45 and 130 of gestation may produce fetal death or persistently
infected calves may result. Congenital defects such as cerebellar hypoplasia, contracted
tendons
, hydranencephaly and hydrocephalus may form when infection takes place
between 100 and 150 days of gestation. Abortions may occur with infection from 100 to
270 days of pregnancy. This is also the time frame for congenital infections to occur. Still
births occur with infections during the last week or so of pregnancy."

From the Merck Vetrerinary Manual
http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index ... /90206.htm

"Contracted flexor tendons are probably the most prevalent abnormality of the musculoskeletal system of newborn foals and calves. An autosomal recessive gene causes this condition. In utero positioning may also affect the degree of disability."

From Iowa Beef Centre
Congenital Defects in Cattle
R. R. Schalles, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University
H.W. Leipold, Department of Pathology, Kansas State University
R. L. McCraw, Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University

"Flexed pasterns (contracted
flexor tendons) is usually caused by a large fetus
developing in a small uterus. However, both crippled calf
and flexed pasterns can also be genetically caused,
inherited as simple recessive traits."
 

S&S Farms

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Do not know the cause, but we take 2 inch pvc cut a 6-8 inch piece then cut it in half the long way, grind the edges and round the corners. Then take a old tube sock for padding. Insert the splint into the sock place on leg so it can bend at the next highest joint and duct tape on leave for 4-6 days and then cut them off. Never had a problem with this method 100% cure rate.


Jeff
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I have a pair of velcro fastened splints - WE DON'T USE THEM. Have 100% cure rate by leaving them alone. There may be some calves born this way from a genetic defect. Never saw one. Generally, it's a calf too big for mom's capacity. They are cramped & keep their legs bent. Had 1 calf last year, none YET this year. Down to 5 left.
If we have a really bad one that can't get around, we will keep them seperated from herd for a few days, til they get going good enough to get out of other cows way.
I have to agree with Randi, never assocciated this condition with Selenium deficiency - lots of other "stuff", but not this.
 

Sage

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Maybe it's a Vit E def and not Selenium, the bottle from our vet is Vit E & Selenium and it definatly helps speed the recovery on the few we have had. The bigest thing is the tendons need to be streatched, the natural walking of the calf will do this as long as they are on their toes, if their feet are folded under or the calf isn't up then the splints are suppose to be good. Have never had to use splints here they always come out of it within a day or two.
 

Katpau

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Thanks again for everyones help. Several people mentioned vitamin deficiency as a possibility. I do supplement my cows with a free choice minerals that were designed for our area. We are deficient in both selenium and copper. The cows seem to love the mineral and I worry sometimes that they could eat too much. I don't think this is the problem though, as we have had hundreds of calves over the years and this is my first case of severe contracted tendons. This calves Mom, like most of my cows, is small in frame. I am guessing a crowded womb may have had something do do with it, but I am not eliminating the possibility of a genetic problem. I bred a number of half sisters to this bull with no other problems and have only one still to calve, but you never know. I really like his calves so he will get another chance, but I probably won't keep any heifers out of the cow. She is a five year old cow. She has had 3 bull calves and a heifer so far. Heifer got an umbilical infection. She got through that fine and still weaned in the top percentile, but this is definately one of those bad luck cows.
My first splints were just stiff cardboard and vet wrap. Then I used some splints that I had from a broken ankle. I put them on the front and pulled the foot forward. Yesterday I took one of your suggestions and used PVC pipe and duct tape. It worked great! He went from laying there and crawling to the cow on the front of his feet to running and dancing around an old squeeze chute in the pen. I was going to take them off today as I was warned they could rub and cause sores but I did not have the heart to do it when he got up and began to play this morning. Several people have told me to just leave him be and he will come out of it, but it is hard to see him like that. Is there much harm in leaving him like this another day or two. Our ranch is almost a 1000 acres with plenty of predators so I don't dare just throw him and his mother out with the rest of the cows. He is in a small covered area with a cement floor which is pretty hard on the legs. I wish I could give him more room to exercise. Outside is deep mud until you get out to the open pasture.
 

S&S Farms

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Katpau":1qhdlfhn said:
Thanks again for everyones help. Several people mentioned vitamin deficiency as a possibility. I do supplement my cows with a free choice minerals that were designed for our area. We are deficient in both selenium and copper. The cows seem to love the mineral and I worry sometimes that they could eat too much. I don't think this is the problem though, as we have had hundreds of calves over the years and this is my first case of severe contracted tendons. This calves Mom, like most of my cows, is small in frame. I am guessing a crowded womb may have had something do do with it, but I am not eliminating the possibility of a genetic problem. I bred a number of half sisters to this bull with no other problems and have only one still to calve, but you never know. I really like his calves so he will get another chance, but I probably won't keep any heifers out of the cow. She is a five year old cow. She has had 3 bull calves and a heifer so far. Heifer got an umbilical infection. She got through that fine and still weaned in the top percentile, but this is definately one of those bad luck cows.
My first splints were just stiff cardboard and vet wrap. Then I used some splints that I had from a broken ankle. I put them on the front and pulled the foot forward. Yesterday I took one of your suggestions and used PVC pipe and duct tape. It worked great! He went from laying there and crawling to the cow on the front of his feet to running and dancing around an old squeeze chute in the pen. I was going to take them off today as I was warned they could rub and cause sores but I did not have the heart to do it when he got up and began to play this morning. Several people have told me to just leave him be and he will come out of it, but it is hard to see him like that. Is there much harm in leaving him like this another day or two. Our ranch is almost a 1000 acres with plenty of predators so I don't dare just throw him and his mother out with the rest of the cows. He is in a small covered area with a cement floor which is pretty hard on the legs. I wish I could give him more room to exercise. Outside is deep mud until you get out to the open pasture.


As long as you put padding around the pvc splint you should be good for 4 - 6 days with out worry.

It bothers me to think that if you can catch the calf then you should do something for it. With animal welfare such a big issue it looks bad to see calves triing to crawl around to nurse. I am guessing if you dont interrvene then that calf probably did not get the right amount of colostrum from mom either just another strike against a calf surviving to weaning.

Jeff
 

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Good luck with him. We had a bad one born a couple of months ago, a big white charolais bull calf and he could only walk on his front knuckles and sort of sideways on them too. It looked hopeless. He was nowhere near any facilities so we decided to leave him a week or two and see what happened. We mustered the paddock last week and branded the calves and he was 100% normal.
Also, I recently read where it is common practice by top vets on the thoroughbred breeding farms in Australia to give oxytetracycline injections to valuable foals with contracted tendons. It says it causes the tendons to relax and allows them to lengthen.
 

randiliana

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Keep in mind though, that what works for one species won't necessarily work for another. I have also heard about the oxytetracycline in foals, just never heard about whether it will work in calves or not.

We've used splints before, as long as they are padded well, and you keep an eye on them they should work. But, they do not help strengthen the tendons, just stretch them, so he needs to walk without them to strengthen his legs. I would likely leave them for about 4-5 days, then remove them and reassess the situation. If he is walking more normally you may then want to leave them off entirely or even just part time. Once he is walking on his tippy toes, you can leave them off for good.
 

Kate

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This happened to us 4 weeks ago. Really big calf, small mother. Calf had all 4 feet affected. I bottled fed her the 1st 3 days and she started to get up and nurse. Noticed everyday she was getting stronger with her feet and you should see her now! 4 weeks old and running like crazy with the other calfs. I had her and mother up in a small lot for about 3 weeks and then let them out with the others.Took about 2 weeks to really notice a big difference. Your calf should be just fine. If I knew how to post pictures I would of her. :D
 

Katpau

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I'm sure he got colostrum because he is so tall he needs to go to his knees to nurse anyway. He was born by the feed barn. I checked him and measured him shortly afterward. It was pretty obvious the cow was sucked. Each time I passed the barn while working that day I saw him and his Mom in a different location, but he was always laying down. On the following morning It finally occured to me I had not actually seen him stand. That is when I made him get up and realized the problem. He immediately crawled to the cow to suck.
 

HFSimmOH

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Don't worry we had a calf that had really bad contracted tendons this fall and I was told that they would work themselves out of it as they grew. I really wanted to do something to help it along but nature will fix it if it can. It took about 6 weeks of that calf walking on its tip toes before thing went back to where they were suppose to and the calf looks awesome now, you would never know the difference. But our vet said to make sure we keep up on the minerals throughout the summer and that those fall cows have enough nutrition late in the summer.
 

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