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Well-known member
Feb 21, 2008
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Franklin (Middle) Tennessee
Just wondering if any of you have had any success with a cow having a hernia. Cow was trying to calf Thanksgiving Day and I went into the field to check on her and noticed that her left side had dropped and the water bag already out. Knew something was wrong and called the vet. He came and pulled the calf (Large heifer) and said to watch her and made sure she would eat and drink. Well she went for water as soon as she had the calf up and going but I have not seen her drink water since. I have taken her feed and square bale orchard grass, she eats the feed and a little of the hay but thats it. We also had to tie her to a fence post in order to pull the calf. Do any of you think she will start eating and drinking or do I need to call the vet again? Thanks for all your help.
Not quite sure what you mean by "left side had dropped". Is that what you are referring to as the hernia? Or did the left side of her abdominal cavity/area literally 'drop' and is now sagging?

Is she not eating much hay becasue she still has a fair amount of grass to eat?

Did she clean out after calving? Is it possible she has a retained placenta?
Is she running a fever?

Is the calf getting enough milk? Does the calf suck a few times a day or does it appear to be sucking 20 times a day (an indication that it is not getting enough)?

Either way, if she's not eating and drinking like she should, then yes, I'd call the vet back out.

The vet said it was a hernia but her whole left side has fallen down and you cannot see her bag from her left side, its all on the right side. The calf is sucking 3 times a day and running and jumping around, looks as if doing ok but with the cow not eating I do not know how long that will last. Frost has hit here and we only have enough grass spots here and there but maybe that is what she is eating even if I don't see her eating it. Offered her feed and hay today and she would not eat it. Ate a few bites of the feed and thats all but I did see her go to the creek for water. Guess I will just keep an eye on her. Thanks for you info.
Hmmmm, a number of months ago a person posted about their cow "dropping" also. (they even posted some good pics) I wish I could remember what the thread was titled. I'm pretty sure the title of the thread had the words drop or dropped or fallen in it.

I would give your a vet a call. The fact that the cow is not eating or drinking is not a good sign. Especially if offered 'feed' and she normally would eat it.

In the meantime, if you have the time do a search using the words dropped, fallen etc.

Good luck.


I think this is the one you are thinking of Katherine , by Bward a while back..

Next .did your vet not tell you anything ,did you not ask questions get meds or anti inflammatories whatever to help the cow..

Call he or she back asap and DEMAND to know what treatment if any is available for your cow. A vet is as only as good as the patients owner it is up to you to DEMAND all that you need to care for your animals..

If it was my cow and I was left with nothing, the very least I would do is give her a hard dose of long acting pen and a steroidal anti inflammatory, NOT NON steroidal,,why because it works faster and increases the appetite. Bring her and her calf where she is warm and dry and offer unlimited really ,really nice hay and clean water..

Other questions has she cleaned off, does she have a temp ,how much swelling in the vulva area from the pull ???
I called the vet again yesterday afternoon and told him what she was doing and he said there was nothing we could do for her to take her to the sale barn as soon as possible. There is a sale Monday here but this morning when I got up I watch her and she was eating grass like crazy! I went and offered her feed and she ate it also. The calf is jumping around and really cute but now I am more confused than ever. Do I keep her and let her raise the calf and will she continue to eat or do I take her and calf off tomorrow? I don't like decisions like this because I do love my cows.
Your welcome Kate, but bward is the one to thank for sharing the story to begin with.

Now as far as shipping, if you do she will most likely be condemned, so you will get in trouble for shipping her and NO MONEY...and you can not sell them as a cow/calf pair.

I would hang on to her and see how she does, of her appetite and her calf is holding her own then who knows. Do a search on ruptured bellies or "hydrops" etc. and see if any have actually recover,. It would not be the first time a vet is wrong as they are only human. I have not had any experience with this that I can remember.

If she does go down hill shoot her, and either bottle feed her calf or ship it.

Good luck, I hope she recovers.

BTW where are you at Kate, are you in Canada, because we have BSE programs in place that would be perfect for your situation..
hillsdown, thanks for posting the link for that thread. THAT is the one I was referring to. After I posted the second time I did a search using various words, but it never occured to me to use the word 'ruptured' :roll: duh.

Kate, good luck with that cow. Glad the calf is doing well. HD gave some good advice, no need for me to repeat it.

Thanks to all of you! We're in Tennessee and we do not have but 2 big animal vets in our county! I love this site for this reason. Everyone is so helpful. Thanks again.

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