Losing a first calf cow

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Jan 11, 2018
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I came home about 72 hours ago now to find a first calf heifer in labor with a breech calf. I worked a while but couldn't push the calf in far enough to find hocks. I decided I needed help and called my vet who responded. When he found hocks he struggled and struggled to pull the breech calf. We discovered too late she had twins and he had a hock from each calf. Both calves were pulled out dead. We gave the cow Dex and left her alone. Sunday I gave Banamine and more Dex. Yesterday, she still hadn't eaten and was very lethargic. I gave LA200 and more Dex. Went to pay the vet today and ask advice on her. He felt we didn't pull hard enough to do any damage and said just keep up antibiotics. When I got home she was laying comfortably. By the time I got meds loaded and back out there she was laying flat on her side groaning.

Her stomach doesn't seem distended but does seem harder than it should be. I loaded her with Banamine and Pennicillin and called the vet. He felt like that's all I could do and hope for the best. Any last ditch suggestions?
It's killing me. I should probably go shoot her but this group of heifers is my favorite I've ever owned and I just can't do it.
There's probably not much more to be done for her. Even if you didn't have to pull hard enough to seriously hurt her, the uterine contractions against a stuck calf are enough to do some serious damage. Internal tearing or bleeding would not be out of the question, but you can't provide much more for that than you already have.
Thanks Buck I appreciate it. I've been in some form of the cattle business off and on for 50 years and this is the first time I've bought a set of heifers that were more like my horses to me than cattle. Naturally, I'd have a rough calving year with this group!!
Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately all of us that have cattle have been there in some form. Doesn't make it any easier though, try not to get disheartened. Wbvs58 made a good point, that the heifer had likely been in labor longer than realized.
I am so sorry. I am also so sorry to say that i have honestly never had a cow survive after a bad calving and the no eating to follow. Has she eaten now? Or is she on the other side?
sorry to hear about your heifer. someone on here posted a while back that the only farmer that doesn't lose cattle are the ones that don't own any. I felt terrible when I had to put down one of my favorite cows a few years ago after calving problem. sometimes owning livestock just sucks.
I've gone in armpit deep many times and favor finding the lower jaw to get the body turned then fish the forefeet to the nose, by starting at the elbow, before pulling them out. That has worked for me every time.
These situations are tough, you sit there and hope in one hand and hold reality in the other and can argue yourself until you're blue in the face about what to do. I'm very guilty of this.

If she doesn't have the strength to lay sternal anymore and has not been eating or drinking this looks grim. I have bounced back a couple dopey cows/calves after a hard labor with some dextrose and CMPK (regardless of it not being milk fever).

I'm sorry about your misfortune. It always seems to be the favorite, the best, the ones with the most potential.
Thanks for all the replies. Sorry I just saw them. It's been a rocking busy week. The cow died shortly after my last post. I've lost cows before and know I will again. This heifer season has been an especially rough one. If I ever lost a cow from a rough pull it would have been in the 70's when we put Charolais bulls on our Angus cows. At that time Charolais were known for anything but calving ease. We pulled a lot. I don't remember losing a cow but I was a youngster then so I guess we could have.

This was my first year to use the bull I have. I've been weighing his calves just for my own knowledge. Weights have averaged 57-58 pounds for heifer calves but I've lost more than I should have to these heifer mommas. I hope things come off well with my cows next month!!
Looking back I have had way more problems with cows (heifers) that I have purchased as bred than any I have raised.
I definetly will not calve before 24 months and I avoid any hint of double musceling, high birth weight epds or mature weight in the bulls used.
live and light is better than long dead
So sorry.. We have only 10 heifers to calve out this year. Really hoped for 0, but, prices were down and it was a good crop of girls... Anywhoot, its been my experience with heifers is.... 1.. first one will be born dead. 2. You'll find a calf poop ( happens overnight while they are laying down, calf comes out and heifer just thinks she's pooped, calf lives half the time but we have to work to make the heifer know she had it)... 3. The heifer who decides someone elses calf is hers while she's in labor, ugh. 4. The heifer who just doesnt want a calf. 5. One will have a giant calf that has to be pulled, then its retarded and takes forever to get it on its mother, (doing that right now but could have been the first dead calf because i got out very early that morning and caught a glimpse of a yellow foot hanging out of her while laying down with everyone and she was doing nothing so it could have been a 1, 2, or 4...but since i found her in time, she was a 5.. ) This also goes for herds of cattle. We culled back hard this year due to the solar farm starting. Got rid of every bad udder, thin cow, all the older ones, but did that solve all the problems, nope. They get together and arrange for 1 to be paralyzed calving ( current cow forgot and went limp a week later and will be put down in the next few days if we see no improvement). 2.We'll have one skinny cow that makes us worry we'll find her dead but wont die till spring. 3. prolapse 4. Bad teats ( and i swear, i got rid of some really good cows because i did not want the problems their udders were headed for and if i get a calf who cant nurse, i'll just scream)......
We too have more problems with purchased bred heifers than any we have raised. I will not buy bred heifers as a rule anymore.
I calve my heifers in the 26-30 month range. Have had lots of people tell me that I am waiting too long. To each his own.... I have not pulled a calf from one of our heifers in so long I can't remember..... and I like it that way. OOPS, I did "pull a calf" 2 years ago, feet, no head, the head was back and as soon as we got her in and it straightened out, she had it but it was dead. So technically didn't pull it but had to fix a bad presentation.... She bred back and had a calf normally.
Lost a good heifer that got her head down the hill just a little bit, under a fence and could not get it figured out to get her head out..... freak thing. Could have been a cow just as easily.....
Sorry for your misfortune, but it happens to every single one of us sometime, no matter how good a care we take.

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