• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Tubing vs. Bottle feeding a newborn calf

Help Support CattleToday:

A

Anonymous

Guest
For example, a newborn calf is weak (from chill, hard labor, etc - or just won't get up and nurse). In the past, we would feed a newborn (under a few days or so) a bottle, if he was able/willing to suck. Our vet just recommended (we had never thought to ask before) that if you had to feed a newborn to just go ahead and tube it-as it gets the milk/electrolytes down where they need to be faster with less effort from the calf. And that there is no risk of the fluid ending up in the lungs (providing the tubing procedure is done correctly); whereas, a bottle could allow the fluids to go down the "wrong" hole. I would not have thought this and thought tubing as a more stressful, invasive and "risky" procedure. We have done both procedures successfully, but was just curious, if anyone else had any opinions or preferences. Fortunately, since this advice we have not had any newborns in need of feeding-hopefully our good fortune will continue. Thanks in advance for your comments.<p>{The reason for our question was we had a calf (under 24 hrs) die from fluid in her lungs (and perhaps other problems too-she also took a bad chill). You could hear her labored raspy breathing and after she died-blood or blood colored fluid came out of her nose. (She was breathing this way before we fed her a bottle.)Our vet said sometimes bottle feeding (or vomit) can run down into a calf's lungs and cause this bad situation, so to avoid this just to tube them in the future. Given that she had raspy breathing before we fed her, he said it could have come from inhaling ambiotic fluid during the birth. (It was not a hard birth. We actually observed this birth- it only took about 10 mins from "feet to finish"-the calf was 80 lbs from a 7 yr old cow, the calf was even up and nursing before we found her down about 8hrs later.) We were surprised that there was a limited amount that could be done-he wished us luck and gave us some meds to inject. We thought that they may have a procedure to insert a small tube into the lungs and suck out the fluid- I guess it's only for people babies-they did something like this to our daughter just after she was born.}
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
Ok.....yes, you can suction fluids off a calf, but can rupture the lungs. This is why you hang calves from their butt over a gate so that the fluid can drain. There are also drugs which can help pull fluids out of the lungs, which your vet should know about!! IMHO tubing a very weak calf is preferable to bottle feeding it, but if the calf can suck willingly, it is much prefered to do that because of something called the abomasal groove which closes off the rumen. If milk goes into the rumen, as with tubing, it sits there and rots, and often causes diarrhea. So, I guess I'm not giving you a clear answer, but for me there isn't a hard and fast rule. Did anyone check the calf after it died to see if it had an internal defect--it could indicate other problems which you can avoid in the future!<br>Good Luck<br>V
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":2fkg9ce3 said:
: Ok.....yes, you can suction fluids off a calf, but can rupture the lungs. This is why you hang calves from their butt over a gate so that the fluid can drain. There are also drugs which can help pull fluids out of the lungs, which your vet should know about!! IMHO tubing a very weak calf is preferable to bottle feeding it, but if the calf can suck willingly, it is much prefered to do that because of something called the abomasal groove which closes off the rumen. If milk goes into the rumen, as with tubing, it sits there and rots, and often causes diarrhea. So, I guess I'm not giving you a clear answer, but for me there isn't a hard and fast rule. Did anyone check the calf after it died to see if it had an internal defect--it could indicate other problems which you can avoid in the future!<br>: Good Luck<br>: V<p>We did not post mort the calf. I believe our vet (I do not have the drugs in front of me) gave us something like an (both injectable) antihistime and something to aid the calf in getting rid of the fluid (? for edema??). I have not heard of hanging a calf to expel fluids-this was the first raspy breather we had ever had. I figured their was a possible procedure of fluid suction, but apparently is has little success vs the larger risk.<p>A little more background. The calf was born about 11pm, got up and appeared to be nursing (and OK). We left them be and checked on them about 8am the next morning to find a calf that stood, took one step and fell over as if pushed. She took a bad chill (calf was dry)(I think it was in the 10's that night) and had a rectal temp of 92 about 2pm (we had been warming it since 8ish). At the vet's it had managed a temp of 94 (4pm). Seemed better after the shots at the vets. Her raspy breathing became only occassional. We tube fed electrolytes around 6pm, her breathing seems better, but still very labored- and she died around 8:50pm. She bleated and thrashed, blood came from her nose and then she quit breathing. Her heart continued to beat for a couple of minutes after her breathing stopped. Our vet did mention that if a calf gets chilled below a body temp of 90 (I think) that internal organs can begin to shut down. We did not take a temp when we found the calf that morning.<p>What kind of internal defect might we be looking for that could possibly avoid future problems? We are always looking for ways to avoid problems! I had wondered if maybe (not sure if it is possible) it could have punctured a lung or something being born? <p>One last question, how long to you "hang" a calf to help get rid of the fluids? <p>V: Thanks for the other insight. I figured there was no standard rule. My husband may have misinterpeted our vet. To me, I think, on just a chilled or weak calf that will suck, a bottle would seem the first step, as you could always tube them if needed.
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
<br>: A little more background. The calf was born about 11pm, got up and appeared to be nursing (and OK). We left them be and checked on them about 8am the next morning to find a calf that stood, took one step and fell over as if pushed. She took a bad chill (calf was dry)(I think it was in the 10's that night) and had a rectal temp of 92 about 2pm (we had been warming it since 8ish). At the vet's it had managed a temp of 94 (4pm). Seemed better after the shots at the vets. Her raspy breathing became only occassional. We tube fed electrolytes around 6pm, her breathing seems better, but still very labored- and she died around 8:50pm. She bleated and thrashed, blood came from her nose and then she quit breathing. Her heart continued to beat for a couple of minutes after her breathing stopped. Our vet did mention that if a calf gets chilled below a body temp of 90 (I think) that internal organs can begin to shut down. We did not take a temp when we found the calf that morning.<br>Ok, sounds like the calf was toxic. Around here, and I've had calves born at 20 below, calves which have nursed and are free from direct wind will not chill down in that time frame without being ill. My first thought would be enterotoxic e-coli. If the calf was breathing fine soon after birth, a ruptured lung is not likely. Do you vaccinate your cows against scours--you may need to start if you haven't! And I agree, once a calf's body temp drops to below 85, you do start getting organ damage, but it wouldn't show up for a day or two, not mere hours. The calf sounds like it needed furosemide and IV hypertonic saline, but that's just presumption, not diagnosis.<p>: One last question, how long to you "hang" a calf to help get rid of the fluids? <br>Immediately after birth, about 2-5 minutes, with the pelvis on one side of the gate, legs hanging, belly over the gate, head hanging down. Any fluids which need to be expelled will come out and can be brushed away!<br>Anything else?<br>V
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":3q61zy5y said:
: Ok, sounds like the calf was toxic. Around here, and I've had calves born at 20 below, calves which have nursed and are free from direct wind will not chill down in that time frame without being ill. My first thought would be enterotoxic e-coli. If the calf was breathing fine soon after birth, a ruptured lung is not likely. Do you vaccinate your cows against scours--you may need to start if you haven't! And I agree, once a calf's body temp drops to below 85, you do start getting organ damage, but it wouldn't show up for a day or two, not mere hours. The calf sounds like it needed furosemide and IV hypertonic saline, but that's just presumption, not diagnosis.<p>: Anything else?<br>: V<p>V: Thanks for your answers and patience. Is enterotoxic e coli preventable/treatable? <p>We are now dealing with muddy conditions and a couple cases of calf scours (have treated and are monitoring).<p>No, we do not currently vaccinate our cows for scours. If I understand correctly, the scour vaccine requires 2 doses before calving. We may consider this in the future. Right now we are expecting about 18 more calves-with the majority of them over the next 3 weeks.<p>Thanks again.
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
(User Above)":1prez9d8 said:
: V: Thanks for your answers and patience. Is enterotoxic e coli preventable/treatable? <br>Preventable with vaccine or oral antibodies. Treatable with hypertonic saline, perhaps antitoxin, perhaps oral activated charcoal. I seldom lose one (can't think of one offhand)<br>: We are now dealing with muddy conditions and a couple cases of calf scours (have treated and are monitoring).<br>Yup, sure sound like perfect conditions for an outbreak of scours.....Keep all newborns in a clean area where no scours have occurred. Ensure udders are clean-bed them deep! Disinfect calving area if necessary....typical scour prevention stuff....if still having problems, there are products which can be given orally to newborns which can decrease or eliminate your problems. Ask your vet.<p>: No, we do not currently vaccinate our cows for scours. If I understand correctly, the scour vaccine requires 2 doses before calving. <br>That is true for most but not all.<br>Good Luck<br>V
<br>
<br><hr size=4 width=75%><p>


[email protected]
 

Latest posts

Top