Help! Newbie with sick calf!

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Anonymous

HI all, I'm COMPLETELY new to cattle, and DH brought home our first calf a week ago. He purchased him from the local stock auction--naturally he is sick. He was allegedly 3 days old when he was sold at the auction (but cord was still moist) is Angus/Holstein crossed, extremely thin (think emaciated bag of bones wrapped in fur), but did drink his bottle well from the outset.

Second day here, he began scouring--and showed some blood in the stool. The scouring was what I'd call moderate in amount--he wasn't going more than 3-4 times a day, and not huge amounts, but very liquid, yellow stools laced with clots of blood and mucous when he did go. He continues to urinate normal amounts so he can't be dehydrating yet. I switched him immediately to Scour Control 2 formula, administered a shot of LA 200, and a day later began additional Terramycin tablets at the suggestion of a local cattleman I met at the feed store. Additionally, he was also given the recommended doses of Sulmet for 3 days. He shows NO change whatsoever, except that his eating has become a bit sporadic with his bottle. (He is beginning to nibble a bit of hay though.) I had a fecal done at the local hack vet (whom I learned not to trust years ago with my dogs but who is also the only large animal vet locally.) His report is that the fecal sample was completely clean for worms, coccydiosis etc. (He could not have run a bacterial culture in the amount of time it took for him to do the test.)

Meanwhile, back on the One Acre Ranch, T-bone the calf is still scouring, still bloody, eating a bit less and I have no idea what to do next. I'd be EXCEEDINGLY grateful if any of you could point me in the right direction. I do have another vet coming on Monday, but no sooner since he is so far away. Thanks so much! Jesse aka Wolfrunner

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Anonymous

Ok.....a one week old calf CANNOT be positive for coccidia, unlikely for worms so a fecal culture would have been more appropriate. The calf likely has E-coli or viral enteritis. Frankly, he likely needs electrolytes. Terramycin binds up in the calcium found in milk so that was likely useless. Sulmet can be hard on the kidneys, especially if the calf is dehydrated. Remember the kidneys continue to function even if dehydrated, and certain toxins can make things worse.

What to do? First, take the temp. (rectally, please) Normal temp is 101.5-102 or so. If high, the calf is either heat stressed or truly febrile. If truly febrile, appropriate antibiotic/supportive care is required. If temp is normal, what you've got the calf on is likely ok but still needs electrolytes. If it's below normal, the calf is trying to die and may need intravenous fluids ASAP.

I have excellent results with toxic calves with oral activated charcoal to bind toxins. I'll give about 120ml by mouth. (I prefer charcodote but that's just a preference) Jello (they seem to prefer strawberry flavour) which is normally mixed but not set yet but cooled will often be sucked out of the bottle. 2 cups is plenty. What does it do? It's a source of sugar, and as it gels it stops the diarrhea. Gelatin also binds bacteria and may bind toxins. I don't give together with charcoal. I'll use a good antibiotic (tetracyclines don't qualify as that for me with a scouring calf) which is appropriate to the farm. Sometimes nuflor, sometimes synergistin, sometimes trimethoprim/sulfa...it all depends.

Why the blood? Gut damage. Either viruses or Enteropathic E. coli can do it. Antibiotics may or may not help. Other bacteria which are possible? Salmonella is a biggie--especially when you can get sick from it!!

I'm in a bit of a hurry so I'll stop now. Ask away and someone will answer! Good Luck! V
 
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Anonymous

vicki... i have had good luck with neomysn.. in the medicene called Biosol.. what is your thoughts about neomysn?

thanks gene

> Ok.....a one week old calf CANNOT
> be positive for coccidia, unlikely
> for worms so a fecal culture would
> have been more appropriate. The
> calf likely has E-coli or viral
> enteritis. Frankly, he likely
> needs electrolytes. Terramycin
> binds up in the calcium found in
> milk so that was likely useless.
> Sulmet can be hard on the kidneys,
> especially if the calf is
> dehydrated. Remember the kidneys
> continue to function even if
> dehydrated, and certain toxins can
> make things worse.

> What to do? First, take the temp.
> (rectally, please) Normal temp is
> 101.5-102 or so. If high, the calf
> is either heat stressed or truly
> febrile. If truly febrile,
> appropriate antibiotic/supportive
> care is required. If temp is
> normal, what you've got the calf
> on is likely ok but still needs
> electrolytes. If it's below
> normal, the calf is trying to die
> and may need intravenous fluids
> ASAP.

> I have excellent results with
> toxic calves with oral activated
> charcoal to bind toxins. I'll give
> about 120ml by mouth. (I prefer
> charcodote but that's just a
> preference) Jello (they seem to
> prefer strawberry flavour) which
> is normally mixed but not set yet
> but cooled will often be sucked
> out of the bottle. 2 cups is
> plenty. What does it do? It's a
> source of sugar, and as it gels it
> stops the diarrhea. Gelatin also
> binds bacteria and may bind
> toxins. I don't give together with
> charcoal. I'll use a good
> antibiotic (tetracyclines don't
> qualify as that for me with a
> scouring calf) which is
> appropriate to the farm. Sometimes
> nuflor, sometimes synergistin,
> sometimes trimethoprim/sulfa...it
> all depends.

> Why the blood? Gut damage. Either
> viruses or Enteropathic E. coli
> can do it. Antibiotics may or may
> not help. Other bacteria which are
> possible? Salmonella is a
> biggie--especially when you can
> get sick from it!!

> I'm in a bit of a hurry so I'll
> stop now. Ask away and someone
> will answer! Good Luck! V

[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

i am not sure that i have ever seen a 3 day old calf with a moist cord... not saying it can't happen, but my experience has been they dry up much sooner than that. the trauma of being born, and being moved and sold so quick in life, for whatever reason, would raise the question in my mind, did that calf get enough colustrum after birth? if not he may be sickly for a while, and as i understand, at somewhere around 2 months, the calf's own immune system will start to kick in and help him out, but the challenge is to keep him alive that long.

what kind of milk are you feeding him in his bottle? i have used a good milk replacer plus given my calves neomysn for the scours.. this has worked so far for me... BUT vicki knows much more about this than i ever will, and i have asked her opinion about neomysn. i hope all goes well.

good luck

gene

> HI all, I'm COMPLETELY new to
> cattle, and DH brought home our
> first calf a week ago. He
> purchased him from the local stock
> auction--naturally he is sick. He
> was allegedly 3 days old when he
> was sold at the auction (but cord
> was still moist) is Angus/Holstein
> crossed, extremely thin (think
> emaciated bag of bones wrapped in
> fur), but did drink his bottle
> well from the outset.

> Second day here, he began
> scouring--and showed some blood in
> the stool. The scouring was what
> I'd call moderate in amount--he
> wasn't going more than 3-4 times a
> day, and not huge amounts, but
> very liquid, yellow stools laced
> with clots of blood and mucous
> when he did go. He continues to
> urinate normal amounts so he can't
> be dehydrating yet. I switched him
> immediately to Scour Control 2
> formula, administered a shot of LA
> 200, and a day later began
> additional Terramycin tablets at
> the suggestion of a local
> cattleman I met at the feed store.
> Additionally, he was also given
> the recommended doses of Sulmet
> for 3 days. He shows NO change
> whatsoever, except that his eating
> has become a bit sporadic with his
> bottle. (He is beginning to nibble
> a bit of hay though.) I had a
> fecal done at the local hack vet
> (whom I learned not to trust years
> ago with my dogs but who is also
> the only large animal vet
> locally.) His report is that the
> fecal sample was completely clean
> for worms, coccydiosis etc. (He
> could not have run a bacterial
> culture in the amount of time it
> took for him to do the test.)

> Meanwhile, back on the One Acre
> Ranch, T-bone the calf is still
> scouring, still bloody, eating a
> bit less and I have no idea what
> to do next. I'd be EXCEEDINGLY
> grateful if any of you could point
> me in the right direction. I do
> have another vet coming on Monday,
> but no sooner since he is so far
> away. Thanks so much! Jesse aka
> Wolfrunner

[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

Hi again all, And thank you all for your time and thoughts. Now after reading these--especially Vicki's post if you are indeed a large animal vet, I'm really worried. My neighbor was raised on a cattle farm and DH went down to ask his advice. Wayne came up to see the calf and informed us that he (T-bone aka Cowboy) needed to begin eating solids. He then proceeded to show us how to teach him to do so with sweet feed for weaning calfs. T-bone did indeed begin to get the hang of it--but was this the right thing to do??? He's only 10 days old!

Ya' know, I LOVE my animals, and I love nothing more than taking care of them day to day. (We have chickens, goats, turkeys and guines as well as 2 dogs, one indoor cat and several feral cats who are leuk positive who I care for. But DANG I wish my husband would stop bringing these animals home on the spur of the moment before I have the time to research their needs!!! And we have a 10 month old baby who could concieveably be affected if something in this poor calf is infectious! (I'm careful as possible, but at his age-stuff happens.)

As for dehydration, I don't think it's a major issue at the moment. I did begin adding electrolytes to his formula when he began scouring, and then to his water when I noticed he was beginning to drink. (I add sugar to the water automatically with a stressed, ill animal.) He's urinating well and often, and his eyes are bright, so hopefully he'll hold until the vet gets here on Monday. The formula he's on contains 2 antibiotics (including neomycin), BTW. I can get pennicillin at the feed store--would this be recommended at this point? And should I add some yogurt culture to his bottle/feed after all these antibiotics? Thanks again for putting up with this dummy! Blessings, Jesse

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Anonymous

Hi, yes I am indeed a large animal veterinarian. I doubt that penicillin would be appropriate for the diarrhea, but there could be a navel infection which could respond to it. Re: feeding solids... it's ok to start introducing sweet feed to cattle at this age, but don't depend on them to be able to digest enough to survive--the rumen isn't fully functional until about 12 weeks.

Re: neomycin...I don't particularly have anything against it, or biosol in specific, but I've rarely had it work for my clients. I prefer other antibiotics due to efficacy. About yogurt, if an all natural one with live culture, it won't likely hurt but may not help. It all depends on WHY we're scouring. If from gut overgrowth of harmful non toxic bacteria, it'll help. If not, it won't hurt but won't help.

Good Luck! V
 
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Anonymous

Hi Jesse! I too recently took on a bottle calf. Actually two, but unfortunately I lost one. I got them like you, newborn and from the dreaded market. Both were near death by the time we got them home. I wanted to share my experiece for any help you may gain or suggestions from others. The first order of care was quarentine in a quiet stall. Then 7cc penicillian/IM, probios, and vaccination with Covexin 8 (some local farmers call it sevenway or black leg?) My local vet says it will take care of just about everything. The Probois helps put the good bacteria back into the gut after antibiotic therapy or any stressful situation in which the rumen can get off kilter. I use it everytime I give an antibiotic. I think it is alot easier to administer than yogurt, plus it doesn't need refridgeration. I use it frequently with our goats and horses. Looking back I don't think the penicillian did anything. These calves were not receptive to the bottle and at times during the first few days not even strong enough to stand. Still they had fresh water, hay, sweet feed AND fresh grass clippings free of choice. Not realizing I could drownd them, I drenched them with Blu-lite (electrolites) and milk replacer (medicated with Oxytet). I am certain I drownd(fluid in the lungs) the one calf. This was a very hard lesson learned, now I know the importance of an tube feeder. The other calf, Moo, did fair over the next couple of days, then developed a 106 fever and was DOWN. She got 1cc banamine (painkiller and relaxer) and 2cc Naxcel/IM (I think this is mostly used for pneumonia). I continued Naxcel 2cc once a day for 3 days even though she responded well after the the first dose. I have read Nuflor is also a good antibiotic. Moo is now 8 weeks old, fat, and living in the pasture with the goats. She is eating well enough that I suppose I could wean her but I have read they shouldn't be weaned until 3 months. I have a feeling weaning is going to more stressful for me than her. I posted a question regarding pink eye a week or so ago and am happy to report that a penicillian eye wash with a good measure of SWAT (fly repleant) around the eye once a day works very well.

Good luck with your baby!

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Anonymous

Hi again everyone! I'm pleased to report that my "Cowboy" (T-bone is just too crass a name ;-) is doing much better now! The vet came by Friday, did an exam, and drew some blood, took some urine, and other than being extremely thin and just a tad dehydrated (ran an IV on him which really perked him up quick) the vet pronounced him relatively healthy. The vet also feels that he is likely OLDER than we were told, since he has his molars???, but couldn't explain the damp umbilicus except for a possible infection of the navel. THe blood/urine cultures are still out, but the vet did not feel that he needed to put him on another antibiotic (other than a penicilllin injection for possible navel infection) until he saw what grew out on the cultures. So we'll see MOnday or Tuesday if he'll need more antibiotic therapy. At any rate, this is now a different little boy! He's still pitifully thin, but he's gaining strength and spirit daily. I'm still having to "encourage" him to eat the sweet feed, but he's now drinking water very well, and nibbling hay and grass as well on his own. Of course, he bawls off an on throughout the day because he wants more bottles than I can give him, (vet says 2 a day only) but other than that, he's a much happier boy! (And I am a MUCH relieved calf owner!) He's really developing a personality now too--and can be quite the ham. (No pun intended.) He's a bossy little brat who definately knows what he wants, and smart enough to be able to manipulate me a bit too. Today, when I no longer responded to his pitiful bawling for a bottle in the afternoon, he layed down on his side and set up a HORRIBLE fuss! I ran outside, seeing him prostrate, thinking surely this was the end for poor Cowboy! As I ran over to him, he sort of rolled up as if to stand, then lay back down and fussed some more. (I swear he was throwing a temper tantrum!) "Geez Cowboy, don't have a cow!" When I got to him and kneeled down, UP he springs--takes a few loping steps foreward, does a half spin and charges back toward me to grab my hand and start sucking my fingers! I've heard all about how STUPID cows are--but if you'd seen THAT particular act--and the mischief in his eyes as he tried to swallow my hand-you'd have truly believed that the beast was MUCH smarter than the owner! (Which, come to think of it, he just may be.) Anyway, just wanted to thank you all for your concern--you too Ginger--and give you all an update on my guy. I'm truly in love! (And I SURE hope this guy gets REALLY ornery as he gets older or I'm going to have PET STEER instead of a sale check! Hmmmm...wonder if I could train him to do tricks.....we could do the fairs billed as "Cowboy and his Little Heifer." ;-) Blessings, Jesse

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