Dead twin ?

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Mar 8, 2014
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Pisgah, Alabama
Had a cow to calve a little over a month ago that had a really small calf, maybe 30 lbs, she looked like a little black fawn. So small that she could walk under her moms belly without touching ! I thought possible twins but after a lot of looking in the pasture didn't find another calf . Noticed mom a couple of weeks ago looked like she was getting pretty thin but we have gone through the drought in NE Al and all my cows are a little slimmer than I like them but compared to a lot of my neighbors cattle I can't complain. I was putting out hay Monday morning and saw the cow coming up the hill and she was a little unsteady with her walking. I went back to the barn for another hay roll and went I got back she was down and couldn't get up. I called my son and with his help we gave her some anti inflammatory and some antibiotic and got her up , and separated from the rest of the herd. Talked to my vet today and he suggested that she may of had twins but retained one; reason for her going down hill and lack of appetite . I have been hand feeding her for a couple of weeks now. My question to him was how could she still be alive with a dead decaying calf in her ? Anyone else had a similar case ?
Happens more than you think. But, in this case, I would also consider retained placenta resulting in metritis - which is even more common, especially with premature calves. Vet should be able to shove an ultrasound probe through the back end and see what's going on.
He urged me to palpate her myself but the prognosis wasn't good if if I found a dead calf skeleton or a swollen uterus filled with gas. My vet is a good friend of mine and tries to save me some money when he can. We have treated her with more anti inflamatories , antibiotics, and a vitamin B12 shot. His other option was to do a C section but didn't think she would survive it. She is a registered cow but not one I'm willing to spend thousands on. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.
Not sure why he would suggest C-section if he thought she could be potentially septic? That's a death sentence in itself.
He said that was only an option if we found a dead calf; but said she wouldn't survive so it was not an option
Has he palpated her? I would suspect retained placenta or even just a uterine infection. Why no Luta shots to get her to expel any retained placenta? That's the first thing that we'd do, Lut shot, week later, another, just to help them get cleaned out. If there was a dead calf in there, she might have passed it sooner than later with the lut and then you would only have to deal with an infection.
But okay, trying to save you money is great, but at this point, he is the expert, so he should palpate her to see/feel what is going on before you keep pumping stuff into her.

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