Joint Ill?

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Katpau

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I could use a second opinion on a calf I’m treating for probable Joint ill. The calf was born on March 15 to a heifer. It was running alongside that heifer when we went to feed in the morning and all seemed well. We put iodine on the navel, weighed and tagged it, and went on with chores. By the morning of the 17th, I noticed the calf laying alone in a wet spot and it definitely seemed off. When we got to it, I could see it had an empty stomach and I realized it had never sucked. I don’t usually stand around to see if they all suck, as long as they look strong, but I sure wish I had with this one. We ended up having to tube it for two days before it would take a bottle. It was day seven before we finally got it sucking on the heifer without help. At that point, I thought we had it made. Although she is putting on weight and looks healthy, she never seems to run and play or follow the cow. They are in a small pasture by themselves. I was hoping to put her back in with the other heifers, but not until she was staying with the cow. She gets up to suck and then returns to her favorite spot to sleep most of the day. I can’t see any real lameness, but she is not very active. Finally, a couple of days ago, I decided her knees might be slightly swollen. I took her temperature and it was 103.2. I talked to my Vet and he recommend we treat her for joint ill. She never received colostrum, so this seemed like a good possibility. There is no swelling at the umbilical. He had me give her 6 ml per 100 pounds subQ, along with some Banamine for swelling and pain. She seemed better within hours and actually hopped around a bit. Now, two days later, she still seems quieter than other calves and her temperature is still at 103.3. I am to repeat the Nuflor, every four days, two more times, unless her temp is still up. Then we will try a stronger antibiotic. I was not able to reach a vet today to ask if I should be concerned that her temperature is still 103 on day 2.

I am wondering what others think of this? Everything I read says treat daily or every other day. The vet says that since this is a double dose given SubQ, that every four days is adequate. I’d sure like a second opinion from one of the Vets that post here. I am posting some pictures of her knees. There does not feel like there is much if any fluid and they are not warm, but I think they are a little bigger than they should be, and she has a slight fever.

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Stocker Steve

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Tough situation. Some never come around, and it is hard to catch lame calves after a couple daily treatments.

I decided to try daily pen injections into the front joints. There was a lot of pus in there so I would poke, squeeze, and then inject. Flushing may have been beneficial. The calf never thrived but it was weaned and sold.
 

Silver

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Sure looks like it could be joint ill from the pictures. Sounds like you are doing what you can. I have never had much luck treating it unless caught real early. Excede would be my choice, with metacam. Or if it could be caught every day then Borgal or Trivetrin / Trimidox but apparently those drugs aren't available to you down there.
Good luck, joint ill is a tough one.
 

Buck Randall

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I think your vet's advice is sound. Remember that joint ill originates from bacteria in the bloodstream settling out in the joints. In almost all cases, those bacteria have also settled in other places we can't see, such as the lungs or liver. Given those circumstances, you have to expect that recovery will be slow and require prolonged treatment. As long as he doesn't appear to be getting worse, stay the course.
 

Rydero

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Fixed it once with Trimidox every day for 2 or 3 times longer than the vet initially said. 2-3 weeks I believe. I kept it in a pen for easy access. Believe it got Metacam or Flunazine daily as well. Poor calf was a pin cushion by the end but it worked.

Lack of colostrum may be the bigger concern, tends to rear it's head some way and take them. As Silver said you're doing what you can which is all you can at this point.
 
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Katpau

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I think your vet's advice is sound. Remember that joint ill originates from bacteria in the bloodstream settling out in the joints. In almost all cases, those bacteria have also settled in other places we can't see, such as the lungs or liver. Given those circumstances, you have to expect that recovery will be slow and require prolonged treatment. As long as he doesn't appear to be getting worse, stay the course.
She is definitely not worse. I think she is a little better, because she will now follow the cow away from the shed shown in the third photo. She lays down though, as soon as the cow stops to graze. Before, she would wait for the cow to return to the shed, nurse, and lay back down under the shed.
Do you agree with giving Nuflor 6 ml SQ per 100 pounds, once every four days?
The calf is easy to catch, since she was bottle fed for several days before we got her on the cow, and she is quite tame.
Should her temperature have come down some already, or is it normal for that to take awhile?
How soon can I give her transdermal Banamine again?
Her second dose of Florfenicol (Nuflor) is due Monday. The pictures were taken the day she received her first dose. I don't think I see any change yet.
 

Buck Randall

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Do you agree with giving Nuflor 6 ml SQ per 100 pounds, once every four days?
Yes, that's fine.
Should her temperature have come down some already, or is it normal for that to take awhile?
It's normal for it to take some time. Fever is the body's response to infection, and she's not going to clear the infection in a day or two.
How soon can I give her transdermal Banamine again?
Transdermal banamine lasts for at least a couple days. Talk to your vet, as advice beyond that is outside the range of what I can offer to strangers on the internet. I would recommend exercising caution with banamine, though. I've seen plenty of cattle that were on the mend get a stomach ulcer and die from overzealous treatment.

A fever of just over 103 is very mild, and not enough to use banamine repeatedly, in my opinion. If a calf is eating and getting around okay, that's the primary goal. Fever serves an immune purpose; we don't need to treat it just because it makes us feel better.

I saw a study a couple years ago comparing BRD treatments in a feedlot. Sick calves were given antibiotics, antibiotics + banamine, antibiotics + vitamin C, or antibiotics + intranasal vaccine. A control group was left untreated. The group that got only antibiotics did the best. Banamine did not appear to have any measurable positive impact on the outcome.
 

SBMF 2015

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I saw a study a couple years ago comparing BRD treatments in a feedlot. Sick calves were given antibiotics, antibiotics + banamine, antibiotics + vitamin C, or antibiotics + intranasal vaccine. A control group was left untreated. The group that got only antibiotics did the best. Banamine did not appear to have any measurable positive impact on the outcome.
Very interesting. I always have used banamine IV in conjunction with antibiotics. Just as a anti inflammatory make them feel good so they start going back to the bunk sooner.

Nuflor would be my go to for joint ill. I try and avoid introducing anything into joints if I can avoid it.
 

Buck Randall

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Very interesting. I always have used banamine IV in conjunction with antibiotics. Just as a anti inflammatory make them feel good so they start going back to the bunk sooner.

Nuflor would be my go to for joint ill. I try and avoid introducing anything into joints if I can avoid it.
Despite the results of that study, I still use banamine and believe it has value for treating sick calves. I'm just a little more selective about how I use it instead of reflexively including it in every treatment. Fever of 103.1 and still eating? I'll go antibiotics only. Fever of 106 and ears hanging down? Banamine for sure.
 
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Katpau

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Buck,
Thank you so much for your response. That relieves much of my worry. It is always reassuring to hear the same advice from another Vet.

I know the trans-dermal Banamine is to be given only once per instructions on the box, but I had wondered if maybe I should be giving another NSAID to bring down inflammation. It is good to know that is probably not necessary. I have hope she may recover since she still looks pretty good. She is eating well and has clear eyes and perky ears. I guess I just need to be patient and hope for the best.
 

simme

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I remember a case of joint ill many years ago. This was before my daughter went to vet school. But I remember that she flushed the joint. I don't remember all the details, but she placed a needle in (maybe near) the joint on one side and then placed a second needle on the other side and flushed into one and out the other. I was trying to research the details and found this:

I always read that it is difficult to treat, but rarely hear recommendations to flush the joint. Best I remember, the calf recovered.
 
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Katpau

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Thanks for the info. I wouldn't dare try flushing the joints myself, and it would not be cost effective to pay a Vet to do it. Her joints don't seem the same as what's described in the article. She is not obviously lame, and her knees don't feel warm. There is no swelling in the area of the umbilical. I'm hoping the antibiotics will do some good.
 

Buck Randall

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I remember a case of joint ill many years ago. This was before my daughter went to vet school. But I remember that she flushed the joint. I don't remember all the details, but she placed a needle in (maybe near) the joint on one side and then placed a second needle on the other side and flushed into one and out the other. I was trying to research the details and found this:

I always read that it is difficult to treat, but rarely hear recommendations to flush the joint. Best I remember, the calf recovered.
I've done it and it can work, but there's risk of doing more harm than good and I reserve it as a last resort. Definitely not something I'd recommend that the average person try with the average calf.
 

GoWyo

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Banamine Transdermal will make them lose their hair where it is poured on. An ititial use is great. Follow ups not so much if can avoid it.
 

TCRanch

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Interesting thread with lots of valuable info! Good luck with your calf, @Katpau.

I've only had naval ill (last year). Caught it early, treated with Resflor Gold (3 treatments) and he made a complete recovery.

But as a side note: inadvertently got Banamine Transdermal in my mouth a couple weeks ago. Long story, epic fail, tastes horrible. Figured I'd be dead by morning or not have to take Aleve for at least 3 days. Clearly, the latter and no residual effects - that I know of.
 

TCRanch

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Very interesting. I always have used banamine IV in conjunction with antibiotics. Just as a anti inflammatory make them feel good so they start going back to the bunk sooner.

Nuflor would be my go to for joint ill. I try and avoid introducing anything into joints if I can avoid it.
That is interesting. When I had my pneumonia tsunami last year, Resflor Gold was my go-to but if I had to work them in the pasture, it was just Draxxin (ain't no way I'm doing IV in the pasture with a calf roped & snubbed to my grill!). The Resflor calves always responded faster/better. Didn't get Banamine Transdermal until halfway through and it seemed to make a huge difference when used in conjunction with Draxxin.
 

ccr

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But as a side note: inadvertently got Banamine Transdermal in my mouth a couple weeks ago. Long story, epic fail, tastes horrible.
TCRanch, I'm glad no residual effects. Curious how that happened and what not to do when applying.
 

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