Problematic Bottle Calf

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Jun 8, 2019
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East TN
Got a 30 day old heifer that we've been feeding via a bottle. She failed to get any colostrum I am pretty sure. Has been one thing after another, but she's been eating about the whole time. She's a little thin but is growing. We feed her all the milk she will eat. Doesn't seem one bit interested in the calf starter I keep out for her. Don't think she's drinking water yet either.

Treated her with Draxxin at 4 days old, and terramycin. Brought her back to life.

Last week noticed her navel was infected, went into her hip that evening. Gave a shot of excede at vets direction. Am spraying the navel with an iodine solution. It seems to be working. How long does the excede work? Does she need another dose? She is over the joint issues and navel looking much better.

Yesterday she was having trouble swallowing and didn't eat her mid day bottle. Was uncoordinated in her movement. Needed help to stand. Seemed breathing was difficult. Was running a fever I think. Gave her electrolytes early afternoon followed by a shot of draxxin and a small shot of dex. She was up and eating 3 hours later. About to take her the morning milk.

She eats 3 quarts morning and night, with a quart or two mid day. Sound right? I let her eat what she will.

Also, one of her eyes went cloudy at 4 days of age. Had lots of discharge. Was not pinkeye. It has since cleared up and seems normal, lasted about 12 days. Read that could be to do with IBR or going septic.

Curious what yalls thoughts are.

Really wondering if I need another round of excede for the navel. I feel like the draxxin will not do much for that. I'm somewhat medicine ignorant beyond pen, draxxin, dex, lute and LA.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. This is the first bottle calf we've had to deal with. I know her not getting colostrum is a big mark against her. I try to give her probiotics every other day to combat the antibiotic effect on her belly. Have given selenium paste to her a few times too.

I've only herd her make an audible noise twice. She's pretty much silent. Really hope she will straighten out for us.
My goodness. She's been a project for sure.

Plenty of milk I'd say!

As far as the drugs, it's hard to say over the internet. But it sounds like ya may to give her another dose. Is her navel hot or swollen??
I've just had my first run in with navel ill and it didnt turn out well. So I'm probly not the best to give advice on treatment. But it sure sounds like your doing everything you can!
Vet told me to give 2 rounds of Resflor Gold when I had a calf with navel ill. Cleared it right up, didn't segue to the joints. If it makes you feel any better, this calf probably didn't get much colostrum; didn't realize mama had raging mastitis until the following day. Treated mama but 2 quarters were dead, so supplemented the calf with a bottle until he figured out how to rob off other cows.
Call your vet again. If its drinking a total of 8 quarts a day its stomach is in darn good condition. And its too full to want calf starter. I never fed over 2 quarts morning and night.
I missed the calf starter. No kidding! I'd be full too. Wouldn't worry about calf starter if I was feeding that much milk too.
I feed 2 qts twice a day as well. They usually get on feed pretty quickly
I try to encourage them to start eating calf starter feed at a few days old, by literally sticking it in their mouths a few times after bottling. They work a lot of it out at first but eventually get to chewing on it and swallowing some of it. Usually isn’t long until they are nosing around in the feed on their own, though some do take longer than others.
We just feed bottles twice a day, two quarts at a time.
I had a calf a few years ago that got a bad case of joint ill and my vet had me give the calf a shot of excede every 4 or 5 days for a few weeks until the calf was over the hump. He also had me give Banamine to help with the pain and inflammation during that time.
We have had a few calves over the years that didn’t get or were too late getting colostrum. We never gave up hope with them but don’t remember any getting past one year of age. The antibodies in the colostrum for immunities are most important. Best of luck with this one.
Not much help here, but we had one this year who didn't get much colostrum on day one, even though we thought he did. None of the cows fault. He had every illness under the sun, starting with hypothermia day one. Pneumonia did him in at 2 months, even though we treated him.
I know what I'm saying isn't helping any, it's just one of these things where you can try everything under the sun and the calf just comes back with something else. Like @gcreekrch said, best of luck. I mean that.

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