Well...Calf dead..any ideas?

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machslammer

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Was a big Char cross calf. He was born first of July so he was 5 months old. Weighed 600#. Healthy, big boned, nice calf. Out of town or 2 days after seeing them all the day before and all was fine. No coughing, everything running around having fun in the sun. Showed up yesterday and noticed 1 calf wasn't there. It was him. He was healthy as an ox. He was laying in the valley stretched out with legs behind him, and fronts tucked under him. Looked like he was still having drainage coming out from swelling. Couldn't find a gun shot wound (My first thought). He was bleeding out his left nostril and left ear, which was the side lying against the ground the way his head was turned. I understand losing a newborn, sickly calf, ect, but this dude was healthy and ready to be sold in a month. He was available to hay, calf feed (co-op 14%) with some mice loving it, water, and momma milk. I just can't think off the top of my head why. There are 7 other calves in the same area and they all act fine running around too. Any ideas at all? Thanks in advance.
 

branguscowgirl

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The bleeding out of the ear and nostril sound like head trauma to me. (Unless Blackleg causes bleeding.) But the fact that it is from just one side, still makes me think he got kicked in the head.
 

Rafter S

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branguscowgirl":yyvctipv said:
The bleeding out of the ear and nostril sound like head trauma to me. (Unless Blackleg causes bleeding.) But the fact that it is from just one side, still makes me think he got kicked in the head.

No, I don't think blackleg causes that kind of bleeding, but the age of the calf was about right for it. That's what made me think of it.
 

TB521

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Black leg is easy to check for if you cut the backside of the front leg above the knee if the meat is maroon colored it's black leg
 
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machslammer

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He was born after we vacc in spring so he had not been vacc for blackleg. We do give that shot annually he had just not had his. Where they get from? Ground? Contagious? Can't remember.
 

TB521

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Normal meat is red blackleg is dark maroon in some almost black thats why is called blackleg
 

milkmaid

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I'd think blackleg, anthrax, pneumonia, gunshot/trauma in no particular order. The bleeding from the ear is not typical and makes me think anthrax or gunshot/trauma. Was there blood from the rectum too? Calf stiff (rigor mortis?) or floppy? If bleeding from multiple orifices +/- rigormortis, anthrax would be at the top of my differential list. Otherwise I'd probably learn towards pneumonia or gunshot. Don't necropsy anything that might be anthrax.

Read this:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=92835

Two days even in this weather might be a bit much to get any useful information from a necropsy. But if you lose another and it doesn't fit the description of anthrax, certainly cut it open and post pictures.
 

Lucky_P

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Blackleg/malignant edema are tops on my list in a good-looking unvaccinated calf that dies rapidly.
Most of the time you can feel crepitance(gas bubbles) in the subcutis or deep within large muscle masses of the legs, loin, neck - but not always; I've seen plenty of cases in which only the heart or diaphragm, or even the tongue were affected, and large muscle masses were normal.

Another common occurrence in that age calf is an intestinal torsion - they get to running, jumping, cavorting around, and sometimes the intestinal tract will torse 180, 360 or more degrees around its mesenteric attachments, effectively cutting off blood supply to all or much of the gut. If you're watching - or just happen to be seeing them shortly afterward, they may exhibit signs of colic - uncomfortable, up-and-down, kicking at belly, etc. Most of the time, we just find 'em dead with no one having noticed anything amiss.

'Blood' coming out of body orifices doesn't mean a thing to me... other than... it's a dead calf.
 

milkmaid

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Blood from the nose doesn't surprise me as that's normal... but the only time I've seen (or at least noticed) blood from ears was after shooting an animal. Your thoughts Lucky?

I'd forgotten about intestinal torsions. That would certainly do it too.
 
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machslammer

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Have coon hounds that "twist their gut and die" but didn't know that was possible in calves.
His tongue was stuck out 1 to 2 inches between his teeth, his legs were not stiff but neck was. No blood from rectum just yellowish liquidity discharge with belly bloated. Left nostril blood which was the side facing the ground. Correction, no blood from ear i think the nostril blood just ran up the head to the ear and made it appear coming from ear. Blackleg would make sense with 2 days to go from great to dead. Anthrax didn't know anything about. Didn't know they could twist a gut. Could they eat grass string and it kill them? Didn't see any gunshot wounds anywhere on him.
 

denvermartinfarms

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I've probably lost more to blackleg than anyone else here, and it sounds like it's very possible that's what this was. since the one calf you have lost was the one that wasn't vaccinated, kinda makes sense.
 

TN Cattle Man

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milkmaid":16qajujg said:
Blood from the nose doesn't surprise me as that's normal... but the only time I've seen (or at least noticed) blood from ears was after shooting an animal. Your thoughts Lucky?

I'd forgotten about intestinal torsions. That would certainly do it too.
That is pretty rare and makes me think of some sort of head trauma... the only other time that I've seen blood from the ears was a lightening strike.
 

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