Injured leg on pulled calf...

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pobitaylor

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We had to pull a calf for the first time. The calf and cow survived, but the calf is not able to stand properly on its front feet. It is bending at the fetlock and unable to set it's front hooves on the ground. I am sure this is because we somehow damaged the calves front legs during the pulling, but I'm not sure how, or if it will get better or if there is some way to treat it. Please let me know if you have any advice or experience with this. Thanks,
 

milkmaid

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I'd suspect it's from being cramped in the cow rather than damage during pulling, so long as you fastened the chains above the fetlock. I've helped pull a lot of calves and haven't had one injured yet. Do a search on the boards for contracted tendons... it's relatively common.
 

msscamp

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pobitaylor":29854zil said:
We had to pull a calf for the first time. The calf and cow survived, but the calf is not able to stand properly on its front feet. It is bending at the fetlock and unable to set it's front hooves on the ground. I am sure this is because we somehow damaged the calves front legs during the pulling, but I'm not sure how, or if it will get better or if there is some way to treat it. Please let me know if you have any advice or experience with this. Thanks,

Based on your description, it sounds like a simple case of contracted tendons due to a lack of space in the uterus prior to calving. Depending on the size of the pasture, I would consider penning the cow and calf (easier for the calf to get to momma to nurse in a pen, rather than in a large pasture), and the calf's front feet should straighten out in a week or two. The act of walking around will stretch the tendons, and allow the calf to stand/walk normally.
 

wood2

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I had a cow calve and it had contracted tendons on both front legs, he's about a week old now straightened right out, for the first two days the calf seemed to leap, never seen it walk right but now its just fine! :)
 

jcarkie

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the calf has contracted tendons it will straighten out in a day or two depending on the severity. i had one that was pretty bad this year couldn't use from the knee down, in 2 days just fine. it is caused by being in the birth canal too long sometime the head is swelled slightly too. just make sure they can nurse until it straightens out.
 
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pobitaylor

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All,
The vet was here today and he agreed that it was contracted tendons, his suggestion for treatment of the contracted tendons was to splint both front legs.
Here's how: first we wrapped them in a thick padding (it reminded me of quilt batting about 1/2" thick, wrapped twice) and taped it tightly. Then we made a splint by cutting a piece of 2" PVC pipe in 1/3 lengthwise - so that the piece we ended up with was about 2" wide, and 10 or so inches long (we measured the calf's leg from the tip of it's hoof to just below it's "knee" joint) and had a gentle curve to it, we sanded off all the rough and square edges. We rounded one end of the splint (to match the shape of it's hoof) and taped that on the TOP of his leg so that the rounded end lined up with the tip of it's hoof. (Only one splint per leg to my surprise). Then we taped that tightly over the padding to the calves leg and taped the tip of it's hoof right to the end of the splint to support it and keep it straight. He was wobbly when we were done, but was standing on his splinted straight legs! Vet said to give it a week and take them off and check them to see if he keeps them straight on his own. If he still knuckles over he said to put the splints back on for another week and try again. I'm completely optimistic that this will work. Thanks all for the advice!
 

Double R Ranch

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pobitaylor":2gi7npjv said:
All,
The vet was here today and he agreed that it was contracted tendons, his suggestion for treatment of the contracted tendons was to splint both front legs.
Here's how: first we wrapped them in a thick padding (it reminded me of quilt batting about 1/2" thick, wrapped twice) and taped it tightly. Then we made a splint by cutting a piece of 2" PVC pipe in 1/3 lengthwise - so that the piece we ended up with was about 2" wide, and 10 or so inches long (we measured the calf's leg from the tip of it's hoof to just below it's "knee" joint) and had a gentle curve to it, we sanded off all the rough and square edges. We rounded one end of the splint (to match the shape of it's hoof) and taped that on the TOP of his leg so that the rounded end lined up with the tip of it's hoof. (Only one splint per leg to my surprise). Then we taped that tightly over the padding to the calves leg and taped the tip of it's hoof right to the end of the splint to support it and keep it straight. He was wobbly when we were done, but was standing on his splinted straight legs! Vet said to give it a week and take them off and check them to see if he keeps them straight on his own. If he still knuckles over he said to put the splints back on for another week and try again. I'm completely optimistic that this will work. Thanks all for the advice!

We have done this and in a bind we used a magazine and wrapped it around the leg, cut it to size and wrapped it with vet rap. Worked for a few days, changed it and in a few more days was able to take it off for good. Whatever works.
Double R
 
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