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Emaciated cow eats hay but eats one cube and stops

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mjnetex

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Long story, but we took in a severely emaciated cow in July (she became so shortly after calving) and for almost four months she has not gained any weight, in spite of offering her numerous feeds. Vet can find nothing wrong and says she is only 5 or 6. Fecal was clean. All other cows in her herd are very healthy.
Vet said she might have hay netting in stomach so stomach hurts when she eats. BUT I can put cubes in front of her that she did eat for awhile and she will eat ONE and just stand there as if in pain. But I can put hay in front of her right after offering the cubes and she eats hay with no problem. And she is with a roll of horse-quality hay all day. She also eats range meal normally. She's been thoroughly wormed and given antibiotics though vet said she had no temp. and no blood abnormalities at all. A few times a small swelling has come up behind her chin (midline, and about the size of a walnut) but only lasts a day or two. Also, there is virtually no metal in her pasture so it's not likely hardware, and vet ruled that out with a blood test.
Any idea as to why eating cubes causes her pain but eating hay and range meal does not?
 
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mjnetex

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That's what I was wondering. Should I take her back to the vet for a thorough mouth exam? Or put her in the chute and try to look first?
 

Nesikep

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I would guess you or the vet has taken her temperature and it's normal?

Perhaps it would help to give her a pain medication (Banamine) and see if that changes her behavior.
 

Craig Miller

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Have you tried just a smaller pellets feed or sweet feed? Some cows just don't like cubes.
 

callmefence

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I know it's not answering your question.
I apologize for that.


:2cents:
If she's in a pen eating her fill of horse quality hay but not gaining she's a poor doer. Could be lots of reasons. Quit pouring money on the ground and replace her.
 
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mjnetex

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Temp. is normal. I will give her Banamine this evening, that thought just occurred to me too, if it is pain in mouth that might temporarily stop it. Will examine mouth too. And I know I probably should have put her down two or three months ago. Have tried several kinds of very tiny pellets and sweet feed, she won't eat at all though. And yes she does eat hay quite well but has not gained at all.
 

alisonb

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mjnetex":2pzv0egn said:
A few times a small swelling has come up behind her chin (midline, and about the size of a walnut) but only lasts a day or two.
She may have some hardware(or something else) that has penetrated the inside of her mouth causing an abscess or have an infected tooth. Put her in the chute and exam her mouth and teeth thoroughly...if you are uncertain of your findings refer to your vet. Do her feces look normal or are they watery or on the solid side?

mjnetex":2pzv0egn said:
Also, there is virtually no metal in her pasture so it's not likely hardware, and vet ruled that out with a blood test.
Did not realise a blood test was a dead cert, I certainly would not rule out the case of hardware especially seeings she seemed to have gone down hill after calving. If she was carrying some hardware before calving the contractions etc may just have made the object piece through the lining. It could also be netting as your vet suggested...whatever it is is causing her major pain.

Good luck with her.
 

Dave

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If you have been fighting this since July with no improvement it is time to cut the losses and ship her. Other wise one day in the not that distant future you will have a dead cow to deal with.
 
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mjnetex

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Feces are normal. We will put her in the chute this evening and examine her mouth, give Banamine too. If that shows nothing I guess put a magnet in her. When she went to the vet when we first rescued her I don't recall him spending but a second looking at her teeth to age her. But at that point she would eat cubes, just not much. I'll keep y'all informed......thanks for what sounds like great advice.
 

dun

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Usually if the need a magnet they will "oof" when the stand up or lay down and be sort of humped up in the middle.
 

farmerjan

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First thing would be a magnet, just on general principles. Cheap insurance. Then a very thorough exam of mouth/teeth etc. Then the banamine like suggested. One other thing. Has she been tested for Johne's ??? Watery manure?? They will eat and not gain and go downhill and it usually is triggered by some "event" like calving. If possibly hay netting, why not a quick operation to see? You've put this much time into her.... don't know why that would specifically cause her pain though. I'm thinking that it is some kind of hardware, or an infection of some sort, from a small thorn or other type puncture, in the jaw area. But chewing hay should make her hurt also.
 
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mjnetex

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Well, if you think about it, when she eats hay she just swallows it down......to be chewed later.... I actually videoed her chewing and swallowing one cube and it took 10 seconds....way too long...Should be getting her into the chute in about 3 hours.
No oofing sound, also, and not overly humped.
There is virtually no metal in the pasture she was in, I doubt hardware but we'll see.....mouth exam coming up!
 

TCRanch

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Keep in mind, "hardware" is a generic term; it can also be caused by sharp rocks, shards of glass, honey locust thorns, etc.

Is she drooling? I'm also thinking it's something with her mouth.
 

wbvs58

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If it occurred after calving I would be considering a displaced abomasum, if you take her to the vet again ask him about the possibility of that.

Ken
 
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mjnetex

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No drooling. Checked her mouth last night and didn't see anything abnormal. BUT I am going to give her one last shot and take her to the vet Mon. AM for a proper mouth/teeth exam. Gave her 10 cc of Banamine last night. This morning I noticed one difference......when she ate her one cube I heard her "crunch" like a normal cow.......did not realize this difference before but I was about 40 feet away this morning and noticed her crunching, surprised me. Proper mouth exam coming up Monday!
 
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mjnetex

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Good news! But first, she never did produce much milk, her calf was about to starve when we "rescued" them, as she was skin and bones. And has been for the last five months. Calf is doing great and outgrowing her pot-bellied look.
I did not take to vet Monday, something told me it would do no good.
Wed. AM she was acting perky and ATE several pounds of cubes! Within a minute I found a loose bolus of some kind of small rope--quite frayed after being in her stomach for five months--tied to the remnant of a black stretchy plastic garbage bag. Their hay is clean but the family that owns the property used to use several gullies as a trash dump--I feel sure she got it there, I will check it out for further dangers as soon as I can. These cattle were well-fed (we take care of them)--I guess she just likes to browse in trash dumps.
Since Wed. she eats three or four lbs. of cubes twice a day. I guess that fills her up.

Thanks for all the good advice.
 
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mjnetex

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This is the cow when we brought her home in July, and her today...and the trash she spit up on Wed.




 

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