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I had a calf born this AM that will not stand, and has a stiff neck. If you try to turn his head his eyes roll like he is dizzy, and then he falls over and flails for a bit. I sent the mrs. to the vet with it, and got a diagnosis of torticollosis of the neck and possible hydroencephalous, which is water on the brain I think. The vet was a little upset that we had no appt. and the Mrs waited an hour and 40 minutes to get in, so she was a little short when she got home too. So I am seeking more info. Vet says the cow may have injested a poisionous plant before calving. What can I do to help him, he is a good size bull calf, has been tubed clostrum, has watery eyes, and a real pale navel cord. Breating well but won't sit up. Thanks!
I looked it up in a human medical dictionary. It is refered to as wry neck, and it is a problem with shortened tendons in the neck causing it to kink to one side, or be spasmatic. No cure was listed. Hope this helps, and good luck!
Hi Joe,
Tortiticollosis in human babies is a congenital muscular abnormality and the exact cause is somewhat of a mystery, though many infants born with this have experienced difficult deliveries. For whatever reason, one of the sternocleidomastiod muscles developes a contracture (shortening) and as a result, the neck becomes tilted toward the affected side. Gentle daily stretching of the muscle corrects this probelm in 90% of childeren by their first birthday. Surgical intervention is used for more resistant cases. Early, frequent and gentle stretching are key as young muscles seem to respond more readily. You might also check the calf's hips as 1/4 of human babies born with torticollosis also have congenital dislocation of one or both hips. Don't know if this works the same way in bovine babies, but maybe this will help. Good Luck!
Day 2 and no improvement. We keep trying to sit him upright instead of laying flat, sometimes he lasts 30 min., most of the time less and he gets to flailing and falls over. No sucking reflexes, so we've been tubing. His eyes are real red, swollen and watery, maybe from beating his head. He is laying on blankets tho. The mrs has been stretching and massaging!!! his neck often. He can kick his legs, but when trying to stand him he is like a wet rag, a heavy one. I think he is one of the larger calves we had this year. I just don't know how long to keep him hoping he'll improve?
Have you given a vitamin shot? Maybe a steroid from the dr. would help with pain and swelling. No real help I know, but good luck and keep us posted.
The question is as alwasy, how long should you continue. Also, if it should recover, what will it be good for. Obviously not a breeding animal, but will it be viable enough to survive to butcher age.
The longer you have to deal with the existing problems the more the likelyhood that others will crop up. I think a small piece of lead in the ear would be the most humane and probably the least expensive option at this point. It's a hard enough decision when an older animal needs to be done in. But calves are alwasy real heart tugger.
Persoanlly I think 2 or 3 days without a significant improvment is an adequate timeframe.

Thanks Dun, I think I just needed my thoughts reaffirmed. He doesn't look any better this AM, drooling, eyes are hazy, and it seems he can't see anylonger. So he has an appt. Saturday morning for D-day. Thanks for eveyones help. Joe
Joe":3h9p3o9a said:
Thanks Dun, I think I just needed my thoughts reaffirmed. He doesn't look any better this AM, drooling, eyes are hazy, and it seems he can't see anylonger. So he has an appt. Saturday morning for D-day. Thanks for eveyones help. Joe

I hate to come off as being a heartless old phart, but sometimes people just need a little nudge to do what they really know is right anyway.
Good luck and don;t get disouraged.

When we decided to get back into cattle we picked up a couple of gorgeous little F1 Polled Hereford X Simmenthal heifers. 2 days later one was dead from a dog attack, the other was hamstrung. The poor little thing tried to stand and walk but just couldn't do well. I had to pop her and boy that was a bad day for me and anyone unlucky enough to come in contact with me.

Lead in the ear? Is that better than between the eyes? Had to put down a newborn heifer (beautiful and perfect of course) that had had her hind leg stepped on by her overly excited dam broke the leg above the hock, bone sticking out. She didn't even act like she was in pain. Took three shots to make her stop twitching. That really upset me, want it over with quick. Do not want them suffering.
We butcher our own beef and use a .22 cal. We visually make an "X" on the animals forehead from where, if they have horns, they protrude from the head to the eye on the opposite side of the body. Aim for the middle of the X, and we have never had a problem putting them down in one shot.

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