i need help with my steer, please

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Anonymous

Hi- I have a pet Holstein steer that I bought from a dairy to raise as pet when he was 3 days old. "Cupid" is now 3 years old and weighs over 2000 pounds! He is a very sweet boy--a big pet--I bathe him and sit on him (we used to ride him until he got so big). He even had his picture made with Santa Claus last year. Anyway, Cupid has a problem and my vet doesn't know what it is or what to do about it. He got so fat this summer (from daily feedings of sweet feed, cookies, beer--he loved his goodies!) that he started getting sores on his hips from lying down so much. I realized he was too fat--he looked like a beef steer with his prominent bony frame hidden under the rolls of fat. He had trouble getting up and he had quit running and bucking. So I put him in a smaller pasture and quit feeding him. There was grass and weeds and I figured he would have to be moving around to eat enough to get his fill. It took a few weeks, but he finally lost some weight. I noticed he started picking his hind legs up close to his belly. Sometimes alternately, sometimes one over and over. He does it when he walks and sometimes when he is standing still. He doesn't do it all the time, though. And he can run and buck. So he isn't lame. I suspected that he had ligament damage due to the excess weight. But the vet said if that were the case, his legs would "catch". I thought maybe he was hungry and his stomach was cramping. So I have started feeding him hay daily. He does it even when he is full. I keep him brushed, so there are no burrs or briars that would be bothering him. I just don't know what to do. I'm afraid I did permanent damage by overfeeding him. Does anyone have any idea? I know very little about cows except what I have read in conjunction with raising him. The farmers that I know don't know what is causing this either. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you. Susan Westfall, Bristol, Virginia.

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Anonymous

Kicking at the belly could be colic/abdominal pain. There are many causes for this, including abomasal ulcers. An alternate thing it could be is urinary calculi--which could also cause pain. Hardware is on the list as well....liver abscess....a thorough physical exam should help differentiate from the possibles for you--when in doubt, there's a vet college in your state. (can't remember exact location but the students were Virginia/Maryland so it should be fairly close.....)
 
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Anonymous

Cupid has been doing this for about 3-4 weeks now. Can colic be chronic? I guess if it is a result of an ulcer or abcess, it could be. I wondered about urinary blockage. He always urinates when I bathe him. So I wet him with the hose one afternoon that it was warm enough, and he did urinate an ordinary amount without any apparent discomfort. I have noticed that his manure has more consistency and is more of a brown color than the normal greenish black plop. Would this indicate the ulcer or abcess? Has this happened because I changed his diet so abruptly or because he was not getting enough to eat before I started supplementing his pasture with hay? Is it a lack of protein or nutrient he was getting in the sweet feed? Yes, we have Virginia Tech about 2 hours away. I doubt my husband would let me incur vet expenses of that nature. I was lucky that he allowed me to have a pet steer. I had always wanted one but Bill wouldn't let me have one until I had an available stall. He knew that I would treat Cupid as one of the horses with his own stall, etc. And yes, I put him up in the worst of the winter weather. I keep all my animals until they die, and Cupid will be euthanized and buried as well. But everyone drools over the idea of eating him, so the compromise is that I don't spend a lot of money on an animal that could be used to save money if he were raised for beef. I'm sorry to ramble...I just love him and feel responsible. You have helped me a lot because I know the pulling his legs up means that something is wrong. If he does have something wrong, I would rather put him down than to have him suffer. Thanks again, Vicki. Susan

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Anonymous

sorry... What Cupid is doing isn't really like kicking at his belly. I have seen horses colic. It is more like when a horse has a stifle problem. But then the vet said it would "catch". He sometimes lifts his legs a few extra inches off the ground as if he were walking in briars and sometimes he pulls them up high towards his belly. None of the movements are quick. When I reach between his legs, he raises the near leg even higher as if to help me see what is wrong. Does this help clarify the problem?

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Anonymous

Animals will sometimes be itchy in the groin and will lift their leg to allow you better access to scratch them there, so the extra lifting of the leg isn't a big help. If it's a stifle problem, he'd be lame. Same with hip in the vast majority of cases. I still feel a proper physical exam and further diagnostics as indicated would give you the answer. Also check the feet for heat at the coronary band (skin around the top of the hoof) for founder. Unlikely, but not impossible... Good Luck V
 
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Anonymous

Well, the vet said it was arthritis from having gained so much weight. She gave him banamine and steroids, following-up with 6 days of decreasing doses of bute. Cupid has not responded at all to the meds. Now his hind legs are swollen in front of the hocks. The fluid forms a ball the size of a baseball on each knee. Since he first started doing this after his weekend escape, I suspect founder. I had put him on a diet for 3 months with no grain or lush grass. Then he ate for 2 days--all the green grass he could eat. Seems like the vet should have checked for this. His coronet band feels warm, but not hot. His knees are sore and warm. How can I tell if he is foundered? How can I treat it? Will he get back to a comfortable state? If not, I need to put him down. Thanks.

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Anonymous

I'd be much more suspicious of a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) than founder. Founder happens to the foot only and they "walk on eggshells". A torn/ruptured ACL will cause swelling and heat on the stifle....but again he'd be really lame. (consider walking on an unstable knee...) It will never hurt to poultice/wrap the leg (without DMSO) and can sometimes cause relief. There are numerous products you can use...even linament. Without seeing this animal, I feel there's a big piece of the puzzle missing and I can't help you more than this. Good Luck! V

> Well, the vet said it was
> arthritis from having gained so
> much weight. She gave him banamine
> and steroids, following-up with 6
> days of decreasing doses of bute.
> Cupid has not responded at all to
> the meds. Now his hind legs are
> swollen in front of the hocks. The
> fluid forms a ball the size of a
> baseball on each knee. Since he
> first started doing this after his
> weekend escape, I suspect founder.
> I had put him on a diet for 3
> months with no grain or lush
> grass. Then he ate for 2 days--all
> the green grass he could eat.
> Seems like the vet should have
> checked for this. His coronet band
> feels warm, but not hot. His knees
> are sore and warm. How can I tell
> if he is foundered? How can I
> treat it? Will he get back to a
> comfortable state? If not, I need
> to put him down. Thanks.
 

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