Sick calf...not looking good

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LB2727

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Some might have seen my post the other day about a newborn calf (born Mar 4th) having nursing issues but looked healthy. Well yesterday she started to look sick so we decided to pull her from mom since that wasn't working anyways. Took her temp and it was 104. Looked a little dehydrated but not bad. Still alert. Navel looked good, not really scouring but stool was loosing that evening compared to that morning. We have her penicillian, iv fluids, and she drank about a pint. This morning she looked a bit better and drank 2 pints. By afternoon she looked worse again. I picked up stuff from the vet this afternoon: Nuflor, Electrolytes, and Dexamethasone/B12 injection. Got home just now and thought calf was dead but isn't. Breathing now sounds labored and won't hold head up or keep eyes open. Gave her the injections and fluids but wondering if theres a point to keep going with how she is now. Anyone have luck bringing one back from being so far gone? Will tube her soon if she's still alive. First calf of the season and a really nice one too.
 
Some might have seen my post the other day about a newborn calf (born Mar 4th) having nursing issues but looked healthy. Well yesterday she started to look sick so we decided to pull her from mom since that wasn't working anyways. Took her temp and it was 104. Looked a little dehydrated but not bad. Still alert. Navel looked good, not really scouring but stool was loosing that evening compared to that morning. We have her penicillian, iv fluids, and she drank about a pint. This morning she looked a bit better and drank 2 pints. By afternoon she looked worse again. I picked up stuff from the vet this afternoon: Nuflor, Electrolytes, and Dexamethasone/B12 injection. Got home just now and thought calf was dead but isn't. Breathing now sounds labored and won't hold head up or keep eyes open. Gave her the injections and fluids but wondering if theres a point to keep going with how she is now. Anyone have luck bringing one back from being so far gone? Will tube her soon if she's still alive. First calf of the season and a really nice one too.
She sounds like she doesn't have long for this world. Sometimes they can surprise you, make sure she is warm as hypothermia will flatten them if they are weak and warming them can improve their demeanor. If there is no response to treatment within 12 hours I would part with her though sounds like she will expire shortly.

Ken
 
Some might have seen my post the other day about a newborn calf (born Mar 4th) having nursing issues but looked healthy. Well yesterday she started to look sick so Took her temp and it was 104. Looked a little dehydrated but not bad. Still alert. I picked up stuff from the vet this afternoon Electrolytes, Anyone have luck bringing one back from being so far gone?
Yes, with electrolytes ASAP. We keep a pail of BLUELITE C for calves on hand and have had good luck with it, including once tubing a neighbor's half dead calf too weak to stand, with it that I was certain was too far gone... but he made it.
So Best of Luck.
 
""First calf of the season and a really nice one too.""

Just out of curiosity, was the calf premature to your first calving date?
Reason I ask is I lost my first one from my spring herd. It was about a week premature to my first date which doesn't really tell you how premature she really was but at least a week. The calf never was 100% and was always dragging up the rear when the herd moved. Found dead when about a month old.
 
Good luck with this calf.
We used to be able to get Etherated Camphorated Oil to treat calves. That stuff would warm up a lamb whose mouth was cold...and you know that is almost impossible to do.
We saved a lot of calves using that. It was a stimulate and an expectorant so it made them cough. Just a few minutes after you gave it (3 cc in a shot and after you made sure you checked to see if there was any blood in the syringe) you could smell it come out of their nose as it has passed all the way through their system. It has been off the market for a long time now. The last we got a vet got it out of Canada for us.

We had a horse fall in the Powder River with Mr. FH and the horse got some of that dirty water in his lungs. I could hear him wheeze from the river all the way to the house. We called a vet, (we were a LONG ways from town) and he asked if we had any etherated camphorated oil and we said yes. He told us to give him that for X amount of days (don't remember how long) but the horse totally recovered and never had any lung problems afterward. It was great stuff!!
 
""First calf of the season and a really nice one too.""

Just out of curiosity, was the calf premature to your first calving date?
Reason I ask is I lost my first one from my spring herd. It was about a week premature to my first date which doesn't really tell you how premature she really was but at least a week. The calf never was 100% and was always dragging up the rear when the herd moved. Found dead when about a month old.
I knew the Dams due date and calf was born 5 days early. She calved 5 days early last year as well. If only this time went as smoothly! Sorry to hear about your rough start.
 
Calf is still hanging on. Surprised she made it through the night. She doesn't look any better though...seems to be the same as last night. Her fever is gone but now her temp is low at 101°. Would think she would start looking better today if she's going to pull through but not betting that will happen. Going to keep tubing her with milk and electrolytes, giving antibiotics, iv fluids, and banamine as long as she is willing to hang on.
 
Sadly they usually hang on long enough to get $30 or $40 of meds before they die.
Can't argue with that one..only to say that they are usually to far gone by that time for it too do any good..why some vets get a bad rap too..they get there in a situation like this ,and can't save it no matter what ..then the customer complains to other cattleman..all I got out of him ,was a big bill and a dead cow..
 
You can only use an esophageal tube to give milk to a calf for the first couple of days of life. For the first couple of days the will go into the abomasum and you're OK. After that, if you tube them it goes into the rumen where it ferments, causes scours, and causes acidosis. However, you can give oral rehydration fluids through an esophageal tube for as long as you want. If the calf is not having scours, it's best to use rehydration fluids that do not alkalinize. Also, be aware that Nuflor can depress the appetite because it causes some inflammation. Draxxin is much more expensive, but it causes no irritation at the injection site. Another trick, is to give a shot of banamine on day one and at the same time give oral meloxicam. Then you can start giving the meloxicam every other day.
 
I had a cow lose a calf and bought a Holstein calf to put on the cow. a few days later, calf was not looking good so I treated with electrolytes and probable other stuff. looked worse that night so had the vet come up to treat. he gave it a few shots, fluids, and a shot for me to give it in the morning. the next morning, calf was on its side, couldn't hold its head up, and barely breathing. I gave it the shot anyway. drove the cow back out in the pasture right next to the barnyard where the calf was in the barn. I left for work. returned expecting the calf to be dead. to my surprise, the calf was outside running along the fence with the cow pacing back and forth trying to get reunited with the calf. I could not believe it. calf grew fine with no after effects of being sick. hope you have a pleasant surprise also. good luck
 
Some might have seen my post the other day about a newborn calf (born Mar 4th) having nursing issues but looked healthy. Well yesterday she started to look sick so we decided to pull her from mom since that wasn't working anyways. Took her temp and it was 104. Looked a little dehydrated but not bad. Still alert. Navel looked good, not really scouring but stool was loosing that evening compared to that morning. We have her penicillian, iv fluids, and she drank about a pint. This morning she looked a bit better and drank 2 pints. By afternoon she looked worse again. I picked up stuff from the vet this afternoon: Nuflor, Electrolytes, and Dexamethasone/B12 injection. Got home just now and thought calf was dead but isn't. Breathing now sounds labored and won't hold head up or keep eyes open. Gave her the injections and fluids but wondering if theres a point to keep going with how she is now. Anyone have luck bringing one back from being so far gone? Will tube her soon if she's still alive. First calf of the season and a really nice one too.
The first thing I think of when newborn calves develop 'issues' at such a young age is intake volume of colostrum in the first 6 hours of birth. The symptoms you describe are exactly what I'd expect from a calf that didn't get adequate colostrum. Adequate means all momma has and can produce until she comes into milk. Now comes the hard part. Your calf is sick and lethargic and by your description the prognosis doesn't look good. The hard question is.....what is best? Mortality or morbidity? IMHO, both economically and aesthetically, is to cut your losses, euthanize the calf and look forward to better things next time around.
 
You can only use an esophageal tube to give milk to a calf for the first couple of days of life. For the first couple of days the will go into the abomasum and you're OK. After that, if you tube them it goes into the rumen where it ferments, causes scours, and causes acidosis. However, you can give oral rehydration fluids through an esophageal tube for as long as you want. If the calf is not having scours, it's best to use rehydration fluids that do not alkalinize. Also, be aware that Nuflor can depress the appetite because it causes some inflammation. Draxxin is much more expensive, but it causes no irritation at the injection site. Another trick, is to give a shot of banamine on day one and at the same time give oral meloxicam. Then you can start giving the meloxicam every other day.
I'm afraid I have to disagree with you. When I was managing a dairy in NE Texas we brought in a pot load of heavy bred Procross heifers from Oakdale, Ca. The stress of the trip made one heifer calve in the pot And she wanted nothing to do with it. The calf (heifer) was tubed with colostrum immediately, given all her shots plus TSV-2. She refused to drink off the bottle 12hrs later and refused again 12hrs later. She was tubed again with colostrum. A bottle was offered again in 12hrs and she refused. Because she appeared healthy and vigorous, ate grain at day 3 she was tubed with milk replacer twice a day until weaning 8wks later. She turned out to be an awesome replacement. Where does a nursing beef calf's milk go? Abomasum or rumen?
 
I have to agree that the most likely scenario is inadequate colostrum. And @bird dog, probably the same in your situation. The gestation calculator is definitely subjective, based on the calving ease of the bull, condition of the cow, the weather, etc. Six weeks premature, 40 lbs and can't stand, walk or suck is sitting in my lap in my avatar (and she recently spit out her 7th calf, a 100 lb heifer).

Only other thing I can think of is probiotics to help regulate the gut. You've already given her B vitamins but sometimes I'll squirt a little molasses in their mouth or rub a little sugar on their tongue for a bit of energy.
 
I'm glad that it worked for you. For the first 48 hours, anything going down the esophagus goes into the abomasum. After that, the calf needs to be sucking the cow (or bottle) in order to activate the esophageal groove and direct the milk into the abomasum instead of the rumen. I had a boarded bovine internist explain all this to me. Then, I had a 2 day old calf that absolutely would not nurse, no matter what I did (it did not get colostrum either -- it was one of those cases in which I was not watching closely because the cow had a good history of taking care of her calves - it seems like its always the ones I trust that give me a problem). I decided to give it milk via an e-tube as I figured milk in the rumen was better than no milk anywhere. I was also giving it oral rehydration solution as needed because I was trying to have the calf a bit hungry so maybe I could get it to take the bottle. The calf developed some scours, but nothing very bad -- was pretty mild. After about 3 to 4 days of giving milk via e-tube, the calf became so depressed and acidotic that I had to give additional bicarbonate in the oral rehydration solution to get it back. Got it back for a while, but eventually lost it about 4 or 5 days later (had ulcers in rumen and omasum, which the pathologist said was typical for sick calves that have failure of passive transfer). At any rate, I'm glad that it worked for you, but I'd still push like crazy for bottle feeding over tube feeding after 48 hours.
 
101 is normal temp in a calf. If you can find it where you are, get 2 bottles of SXCalf, give half a bottle twice daily between milk feedings. One day is usually enough, but if the calf is extremely dehydrated you might need two days to turn it around.
 
May I ask what breed you had that you tube feeding on for the week?Thanks.
 

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