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water bag not breaking

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braunvieh

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Do you see this as a sign of a calving issue? We had a cow showing what looked like afterbirth after a while trying to calve. Head was back, calf dead, cow saved. Heard that afterbirth showing is a sign of head back.

Last night had cow with waterbag out, never broke, never saw feet. After about 90 minutes and no calf (5 year old cow), we got her in, broke water bag and determined a foot was back. Assisted her to get the calf out, with water bag/tissue still above and around calf, we actually pulled it off calf's head and could see it take in air right away. I wonder if it would have suffocated if we hadn't have been there. Both are fine now.

When you don't see the calf sac break, do you get worried?
 

dun

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The sack not breaking is a real concern. A year before last in this area there was a rash of that same problem. When it's so tough that you have to use a knife to make a cut to get it to break there is every chance the calf will sufficate. I wonder how many calves are found all cleaned off and are dead that this was the cause.
The vet and I discussed it at length and finally came to the decision that it could be blamed on the fescue because of stressed growing season that we had had and the hay being fed was from that time frame. I happened to be standing near a cow that kicked the calf out and started cleaning it from the back towards the front. I could see the calf sucking the sack into it's mouth as it tried to breath.
One breeder near Rogersville had a number of calves that he found dead and fiured they were stillborn.
The vet pulled one calf that he had to cut the entire opening to get the sack to open becuase it wouldn;t tear even after he had made a cut in it.
 

randiliana

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I agree with dun, the sack not breaking is a BIG problem. If you miss it your calf will suffocate. We rarely run into one where we have to use a knife to cut it, but really, it doesn't take a tough sack or a lot of it to suffocate a calf. All it takes is a piece big enough to cover the nose and mouth. Had one this afternoon, heifer just had it, she was still laying down and the sack was over its face. Had I not been there promptly, we very well could have lost the calf. It had broken, but was still covering the calf.

Afterbirth showing before the calf is a very bad sign. The afterbirth is what keeps the calf alive inside the cow, if it is detatched and starting to come out it is a sign that you have serious problems. Pretty good chance that the calf is dead, or if not dead will be very weak if you do get it out in time. Most of these cases will be a bad enough malpresentation that no part of the calf enters the birth canal, which is what triggers the cow to actively push. Leg back, head back, breech, upside down would all be possibilites. We had this happen to us with a set of twins, first was breech, and she never did much more than wander around. First sign that she really was in labour was the afterbirth. First calf was dead and second was very weak and died shortly after birth.

If I see a cow that the water bag has not broken, or where the sack is covering the calf's feet and nose just when they are appearing, I don't really worry, but I do make a point to check on the situation often enough that I can save the calf.
 

bigbull338

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your in a spot of bad luck.water bag not breaking isnt good.that means you have tobe there for every calving to get the water bag of the calfs head.
 

hillsdown

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I just read an article about this also and they are finding that too easy calving bulls are being blamed as the calves pop out so quickly that there is not enough "tension/friction" on the sac to break it as the calf is being expelled from the cow...So the calf will suffocate to death, and as Dun said you will go out and find a perfectly cleaned off dead calf ...

If I was in your situation I would be watching your cows very very closely when they appear to be calving..
 

TB-Herefords

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Sounds though that you had some calvin issues other than the bag too. Interestin to know about the bag bein an issue. I haven't had that problem yet. Makes me wonder about those who say I only check once at night or we check at ten then again the next morning. I've managed to muster up 65 cows this spring and I wonder. I still need every calf. my cost per cow is gonna be around 450 yea kinda high. If I can hustle some winter grazing for this fall than it will be about 330. None the less if something as simple as bein there to check; when I can; to make sure a calf is okay; I can swallow my pride and say yeah I check every two hours through the night till the last calf drops. Dun sounds like you think its a forage issue. What was your calving season and what trimester do you think it affected the bag? I don't know about calvin ease bein the issue sounds a little fetchy but maybe. :tiphat:
 

Angus Cowman

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with fescue that is just one of the things we have to watch
I have been told by feeding a higher amount of selenium that it will help the sac not be as tough
I have noticed all the major brands of minerals designed for fescue have a higher selenium content
 
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braunvieh

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Just to clarify....we don't live in a fescue area at all. We have had about 10 calves only one has had a water bag that did not break, due to the leg back. However, my thoughts were that anytime we don't see the calf sac breaking we should probably intervene and it sounds like that is the consensus of you guys as well. We run a purebred seedstock operation and have AI and ET calves so every birth has a lot invested in it so we do watch them closely. Thanks for the replies so far!
 

dun

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TB-Herefords":14qywiaq said:
Dun sounds like you think its a forage issue. What was your calving season and what trimester do you think it affected the bag? I don't know about calvin ease bein the issue sounds a little fetchy but maybe. :tiphat:

The fescue is the only thing we could figure out that is common among all of the herds. Multiple herds, different breeds, in the case we had it was the same breeding we had used the previous year with no problems. The vet and I just sort of decided that if we had to come up with a reson that the fescue was as good a culprit as any. Last year he didn;t see the problem. He's only been back in this area for 25 years and it's the only year he had seen the problem often enough that he knew the bags weren;t breaking.
 

grannysoo

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I had this problem with a calf a couple of weeks ago. If I had not been around and watching, this one would have died. The sack was broke around the rear of the calf, but other than that, the calf was completely covered in the sack. No way that one would have survived without a little assistance.
 

S&S Farms

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We had this happen last week, I happened to be out checking the cows at the time with wife two were in labor and had one to weigh and tag. As we are leaving pasture we swing by the two in labor one had calf on ground and other is half way out but the bag looked really thick. Wife(vet) tells me to stop she pulls calf with hands while I break the bag and then help with calf all was ok. If we had not been there I think we would have found a clean dead calf. It was a 62 lb calf too.


Jeff
 

msscamp

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braunvieh":ouvh0sfd said:
Do you see this as a sign of a calving issue?

Not necessarily. For instance, calving in a pen where the ground is smooth can cause the sac to not break. I've seen this happen a time or two.

We had a cow showing what looked like afterbirth after a while trying to calve. Head was back, calf dead, cow saved. Heard that afterbirth showing is a sign of head back.

Did you see cotlydons(sp?) on the material that looked like afterbirth? If not, is was not afterbirth. Afterbirth first simply means that the placenta has detached, and it can be caused by many things.

Last night had cow with waterbag out, never broke, never saw feet. After about 90 minutes and no calf (5 year old cow), we got her in, broke water bag and determined a foot was back. Assisted her to get the calf out, with water bag/tissue still above and around calf, we actually pulled it off calf's head and could see it take in air right away. I wonder if it would have suffocated if we hadn't have been there. Both are fine now.

Had you not corrected the malpresentation, the pressure of the cow trying to deliver would have killed the calf assuming the umbilical cord did not break. If the umbilical cord broke, the calf would have drowned. Anytime feet are not seen within an hour of the mother going into active labor, intervention is needed. We always intervened if feet were not seen within 30 minutes of the mother going into active labor.

When you don't see the calf sac break, do you get worried?

I couldn't care less whether the water sac breaks or not - I am interested in seeing feet, and a nose! If I don't see feet within 30 minutes of going into active labor, and a nose about 5-10 minutes minutes after that, I am going to find out why.
 

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