Down bull calf

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cow pollinater

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I have four ten-twelve month old bull calves on fescue/clover/bermuda irrigated pasture with a mineral tub. All are vaccinated but have yet to recieve their second dose of clostridials.
All four were fine and dandy this morning after work as I left for the ranch and apon my return a few hours later one was down and bloated with spasms and another was up with no sign of bloat but twitching... still eating but he acted like a dairy cow with ketosis.
I tubed the bloat and got him up and around... He's back down and shaking like he's gonna die...
I called a few vets I know and everyone is stumped. We agreed to let whatever happens happen and deal with it after the fact. I'm going to bed shortly as tommorrow starts in seven hours but I'm curious to find out if anyone else has any insight for me...
 

KNERSIE

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I'd give some activated charcoal just in case. Can't hurt a thing, but might just do a lot of good.
 

TennesseeTuxedo

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cow pollinater":20glefrp said:
I have four ten-twelve month old bull calves on fescue/clover/bermuda irrigated pasture with a mineral tub. All are vaccinated but have yet to recieve their second dose of clostridials.
All four were fine and dandy this morning after work as I left for the ranch and apon my return a few hours later one was down and bloated with spasms and another was up with no sign of bloat but twitching... still eating but he acted like a dairy cow with ketosis.
I tubed the bloat and got him up and around... He's back down and shaking like he's gonna die...
I called a few vets I know and everyone is stumped. We agreed to let whatever happens happen and deal with it after the fact. I'm going to bed shortly as tommorrow starts in seven hours but I'm curious to find out if anyone else has any insight for me...

What's the latest cow pollinator? I hate to hear about animals in distress like that. Best of luck.
 
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cow pollinater

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The downer is still down with no bloat but responsive and still shaking. The one that showed symptoms yesterday is still tremoring and HIGHLY agitated. The two that were OK yesterday are now showing the trembling as well.
I gave the downer an IV of CMPK this morning just in case we were dealing with a case of deficiency in spite of the tub but it had zero effect.
We tried to gently coax them up into the horse pasture(all bermuda) on foot just in case something in the pasture was the problem and instead of being the quiet cattle we're used to(from this bunch anyway), one went after my boy(age 7) and chased him until I got in there with a hotshot and heavy boots... It was a draw... The bull and I both got beat up pretty good but my boy is fine.
I didn't want to use dogs or horses without knowing what was going on as I was concerned about stressing them and I'm not willing to haul them to a different pasture until I know what they have anyway so instead I got on the tractor and mowed everything short and started the pump to irrigate heavy and hopefully if it's a problem with the fescue that will solve it.
I did manage to get the best one up into the horse pasture... At least if he croaks there I can get to him with a loader a little easier. :(
The vets are still stumped but we're leaning towards a problem with the fescue but I'm the only :dunce: out here with fescue so none of us are really sure what all kinds of problems it will cause.
The other option is a clostridial of some sort as they haven't had their second vaccination yet.
 

dun

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The overly excitable/aggresive part reminds me of something from years ago but I for the life of me can;t remember what it is. If it was toxic as in poisonous you would expect just the opposit and lower body temps to boot.
Is the area with the problems unusally wet/boggy/marshy?
 

dun

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kenny thomas":1rgvqri6 said:
dun, I have not had it in years but does grass tetany cause them to be agressive? But that should not be in calves. oh well.
Yes it will, but usually they die so darn fast that they don;t get much damage done. It's the combination of weakness and bloat along with agresivness that rings the bell. There are a bunch of oddball plants that grow in marshy/wet areas that can cause it, don;t recall what they all are now. Butnormally if you have decent grass they don;t mess with the bad stuff.
 

hillbillycwo

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Could it be rabies? The reason I ask is the tremors and agressive behavior could be caused by that. Not probable I would think. But if they have gone off feed and are drinking a lot that could be.

With the field being fescue clover and bermuda I wouldn't think the fescue would be that big of an issue as the ag agents tell me that the clover and bermuda dilute the fescue's bad effects.
 

regolith

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How are they now?

It's a bit of a long shot, but if you haven't done it ask the vet about giving Vit B1 (thiamine). Sounds like poisoning of some sort, I don't understand how clostridia could affect the whole group at once and after their first vacc.
There's similarities between magnesium deficiency and endophyte staggers (NZ cows get endopohyte toxicity from the rygrass) but there'd have to be something unusual going on to affect them to this degree with a diluted diet. With endophyte, they can collapse but will get up when they're relaxed enough, any sort of stress brings out the symptoms.
 
A

Anonymous

Lantana, soda apple, primrose, cannalilly, irises pokeweed, milkweed. They all grow in wet areas and are poisonous
 
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cow pollinater

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Thanks all for the replies.
The downer is still down with the same convulsions but he's eating and drinking fine and trying to get up. He's on the fight but his eyes are bright. The big one that showed convulsions and irritability seams to be better. One has done nothing except a slight shiver, and the fourth seams to be going down-hill. He is quivering so bad he can barely stand up but he's still up and eating. All of them are up in the horse pasture on hay just in case it was something in the field.
The pasture is level irrigated ground with no inedible weeds so weed toxicity is a distant concern.
I'm also leaning away from clostridial problems since they've had first shots so there should be some immunity and it hit the whole bunch at once.
We ruled out grass tetany since they were on mineral with plenty of magnesuim... but it does fit :nod: I dumped some "right now" over the top of the tub just in case but no takers so I have to assume they aren't deficient.
Rabies, if I'm not mistaken, is aqua-phobia so I'd expect at least the downer to be off-water and he's not.

Of the two best bulls in the bunch, one is so far unaffected and the other seams to be getting better so I still have hope. I'll leave the downer as long as he shows improvement but if he stalls I'll put him down.
 

Gale Seddon

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I sure hope they will all recover. Any blood lab work done? Will be thinking of you and these four in trouble.
 

Howdyjabo

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Hit them with the CMPK again-- sounds like grass tetaney to me. The aggressiveness and twitching is typical symptoms for it here.
Also hit them with a heavy dose of Multi-min
They may be so out of balance they need that for the CMPK to work.
 

Kathie in Thorp

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cow pollinater":33wximfi said:
I have four ten-twelve month old bull calves on fescue/clover/bermuda irrigated pasture with a mineral tub. All are vaccinated but have yet to recieve their second dose of clostridials.
All four were fine and dandy this morning after work as I left for the ranch and apon my return a few hours later one was down and bloated with spasms and another was up with no sign of bloat but twitching... still eating but he acted like a dairy cow with ketosis.
I tubed the bloat and got him up and around... He's back down and shaking like he's gonna die...
I called a few vets I know and everyone is stumped. We agreed to let whatever happens happen and deal with it after the fact. I'm going to bed shortly as tommorrow starts in seven hours but I'm curious to find out if anyone else has any insight for me...

No advice or suggestions, but OH CRAP! Hope you get this figured out, CP, and then let us know. Good luck and I'll throw in a few critter prayers your direction.
 

Lucky_P

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Have you actually had a vet on the place to actually examine these calves?
You could call me and tell me what you wrote in the original post, and I'd have a few thoughts about possibilities - but I can tell you from experience, what the owner describes and what the vet sees once they're on site are often worlds apart.
I've had calls from veterinarians submitting animals to the laboratory, describing what they were seeing, and when the animal gets here, I see things that they didn't describe, and think, "Why didn't you tell me about THAT?" It's not that they didn't necessarily see or recognize things - they just didn't tell it. Those of us out here in cyberspace, regardless of our experience, knowledge or capabilities, are just shooting in the dark at your problem.
Some of the possibilities and recommendations that have been offered up here are reasonable, but some are ludicrous. If you've not had a veterinarian out to examine these calves, you need to do so.

Rabies is still on the list. If the downer dies, you need to have a necropsy done - including testing the brain for rabies - especially since you've had your hands in his mouth, tubing him.
 

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