Post by ladyliberty on Sept 7, 2013 18:19:09 GMT -5
Got a problem with one, possibly two of our girls. For the last three days, Della is not grazing and I haven't seen her drink much at all. She just stands there and pants in the sun. When she's in the shade, she just lays down and won't eat. I thought it was the heat and humidity at first--we were cooling her down by pouring water down her back--but it's only a temporary measure. It seems to stop her from panting (the big, stomach-moving pants) but only for a little while. She was also just drooling and her tongue came out when I urged her under a tree for shade. Her coat is dry and rough.
She takes alfalfa when we offer it, but will not graze.
She's in milk with a calf, but we haven't been milking her a few days because her production went down over the last week. We found out part of the reason was our other milk cow Anna (Della's first calf, now a mother herself)was nursing from her!
So is this heat? Or is she getting the life sucked out of her? Or does she have some kind of mineral deficiency?
The other cow, Anna is also having trouble in the heat, drooling, tongue out, standing a lot, not grazing as much (but more than Della). She's OK when she's in the shade, it's just mainly when she's out in the sun. Her coat is also uncharacteristically dry.
We have four other cows and they are doing fine and they all graze together.
I'm going to take their temps and will be right back.
Post by ladyliberty on Sept 7, 2013 19:30:53 GMT -5
I'm thinking this is ketosis and am going to the store to get some propylene glycol and a drencher. We have a drencher we bought for our calf but I don't think it's going to be big enough. I'll check though.
Post by farmeratheart on Sept 7, 2013 19:36:53 GMT -5
Do you have any molasses on hand? You can drench her with that to get some energy into her quickly. Do you have a shady spot where you can create a puddle for her to stand in and cool off? Those temps are too high.
I asked the waiter, 'Is this milk fresh?' He said, 'Lady, three hours ago it was grass.'
My first thought is, could they have pneumonia? The temps and panting make me think of that. Seems like several people on KFC have had cows with pneumonia due to the weather. If your cows decrease their intake for too long or are heavy producers then yes, you'll have to worry about ketosis but right now their temps need to be brought down. Do you have a vet from whom you can get banamine? Bringing down the fevers will also make them feel better and they'll probably start eating again. I've never treated for pneumonia before so I'm no help on antibiotics but The easiest antibiotic to obtain, doesn't need a prescription, is LA200. I've also seen it called Duramyacin (it's an oxytetracycline).
Last Edit: Sept 7, 2013 19:46:27 GMT -5 by jenna403
Post by missevelyn on Sept 7, 2013 19:52:01 GMT -5
As much as I hate paying the bills, those kind of symptoms would send me to the phone to call the vet.
Penny, the Guernsey,
Dumdum, Moose and Peewee,the little steers.
Christopher, the little milk absorber.
Peaches, Jersey/Guernsey cross, out on the side hill.
Champ the faithful and brainless hound.
Luke the Doberman pup.
Six bee hives.
The last member who reported a cow with those symptoms found out her cow had pneumonia. I second Regina's opinion, call the vet.
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Stephanie - Dexter herd queen; Howard - Angus bull calf; Lady Vivienne, Arthur, Eloise, Fuzzy, Holly , and Punkin- our fold of Scottish Highland cattle; 17 potbelly pigs; ?? chickens; 5 dairy goats (1 doe, her two boys and 2 wethers); 2 mini donkeys; 2 dogs; 2 cats; and 2 bunnies
Post by ladyliberty on Sept 7, 2013 22:18:01 GMT -5
There's no way a vet's going to come out here, and we don't have a trailer.
I do have molasses, but the drencher I have was for my calf. Do you think it would be be big enough for cows. I'm just wondering if the tube is long enough. Do cows typically stand there while you put it down their throats?
So what, about a 1 cup of molasses and a quart of water? Should I put some epsom salt in too, maybe 1 tablespoon?
The feed store I just got back home from had nothing on my list except molasses...UGH!
Going up and I'll see if they'll just drink it first. They typically love molasses.
Post by farmeratheart on Sept 7, 2013 22:44:29 GMT -5
They may be happy to drink it or smear it on their noses and they will lick it off. Pneumonia is also a real possibility, there has been a lot of it going around this year. Do you have a vet you could call and they would let you come by to get some Banamine and antibiotic?
I asked the waiter, 'Is this milk fresh?' He said, 'Lady, three hours ago it was grass.'
Hmmmm. more information needed. what is the outside temp and what breed of cow are these girls- and same as the others that are doing fine? cows are highly individual. I have one hardy bred cow that stands out in minus 10 degrees and wants to know what's for dinner when the other of the same breed shivers and hangs her head low. Heat is more of a stress than cold, usually. and milk production often declines precipitously. before jumping to conclusions about pneumonia, I'd make every effort possible to cool them off. Im in the same dilemma of being distant from vets, but Ive found they are very willing to help by phone- which is of course a lot cheaper. There are other possibilities of course- though I would tend to think that eating poisonous weeds would also have affected the others in the same pasture. The optimal temp for cows is in the 40-50 degree range, so anything way above that is going to be uncomfortable.
At what time of day did you take their temps and what was the outside air temp? Were they standing in shade?
Since we're into the night I would advise you to take their temps again early in the morning while it's still cool. Those are pretty high temps and I would definitely work very hard to get those down. Prolonged high fever can wreak havoc on your cows' systems and can cause abortion. Banamine is my go to drug for bringing down fever but in desperation I would try aspirin. I've never used it so had to google...Here's one link I found www.cattletoday.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=73883. But do some more of your own research and use at your own discretion because again, I haven't used aspirin before.
Cows will object to drenching. Using soft plastic tubing will not work very well because they will chew it to bits in no time. I usually mix 1C molasses to 1gal water.
Last Edit: Sept 7, 2013 23:12:45 GMT -5 by jenna403
Post by ladyliberty on Sept 8, 2013 7:23:59 GMT -5
Update: Last night I took their temps around 10:30 pm and they were both down to 102.2. They were also both diving into the new grass I put them on. Good sign that they have an appetite, I guess. Anna, the one with the higher temp drank the molasses water eagerly. Della didn't drink it, but she was interested, sniffing to see if I had anything else.
To answer brigitte and jenna(and I'll try to be brief):
It was in the low to mid 90s when I took their temps yesterday, and they were unfortunately in the sun most of the day (our bad). They're in a lane that doesn't have much shade right now. We should have moved them to another area. They are moving to shady pasture area this morning before it gets too hot.
It was 10:30 last night when I took the second set of temps and it was in the high 70s outside.
Della is dark brown with some dark golden hair near her upper mid-section. But overall, dark. Jersey/Swiss maybe. Usually an easy keeper--keeps condition and does not milk off her back. Usually has an early slick coat in the Spring. Low producer, plus we only milk OAD, no grain, but supplement at feeding with beet pulp and alfalfa cubes. She's got a 3 and 1/2 mo. bull calf on her, and apparently her 3 year old daughter, Anna, on her now too! She usually does fairly well in the heat, but definitely not as good as our lighter colored Jerseys (an almost dry 6 yr old tan Jersey cow and two reddish gold Jersey steers). The other steer is black (Angus/Jersey/Swiss ish ). Surprisingly, he's doing OK in this heat.
Anna is Della's girl, so she's half Jersey/Swiss and half Angus. She's black and does not do well in heat. She's got a one year old steer on her and we milk her rarely, but more often in the last two weeks.
As I type all this I see it coming together (kind of like therapy!). Both dark cows, both in milk, both having demands on them (calves/steers/etc.), lots of heat, not enough shade, and possibly not enough quality food. We had a wet spring ans early summer and the grass was beautiful and rich. Now that it's getting dryer (hardly any rain in 4-6 weeks), the grasses have less quality, but we're still treating it the same and giving them the same amount of pasture each day.
Well, better get up there to help...I'll keep you posted.
Post by Hubert Karreman on Sept 8, 2013 8:22:25 GMT -5
Heat Stroke - hose them down for 20 minutes each, nose to tail and concentrate on the back of the head and trunk. Don't just run some pails of water on them, use a hose. They will like it. I realize this is already the next day, but if you're having heat there like I experienced in Kansas City last week, man, that is just horrible for dark colored cows. Banamine is a weak band-aid for heat stroke - it would be like us taking an aspirin or advil on a hot day to cool off....going swimming (hosing them down) does massively better and is really effective (and cheap). If still breathing quickly and shallowly and "belly breathing" (not the chest moving much but rather the abdomen), then I would think of pneumonia. There probably would be at least some coughing involved, however. It is interesting to see ketosis come up again. Seems like it is a default diagnosis, but I can't figure out why. Unless you check their urine for ketones or can smell it on their breath (genetically able to smell it or not) as a glue smell, then it likely is not ketosis. HJK
Only occasionally on this listserv at this time....
For free information on common ailments and natural treatments see my website:
Unfortunately we have seen way too many cows spiral down and succumb to secondary ketosis while the owner tried to figure out what the primary problem was. It's a forgone conclusion that if a cow quits eating she will become ketotic, however I do agree that it tends to be the first thing most forum members think of, and then they get stuck there.
I'm one of those people that can smell a ketotic cow, I can smell the ketotic cow in the backlot when I walk through the salebarn door. I can catch the faint smell on their breath days before the "classic" symptoms show up, so I don't have issues with "advanced" ketosis. But I do really feel for those that can't smell it and so live in such fear of it.
Last Edit: Sept 8, 2013 10:34:25 GMT -5 by AnnB (NE)
Yup, thankful it was only the heat and lack of shade. Sometimes it seems like they can be a bit dopey about seeking out shade as well. Hopefully you can find ways to keep them cooler; I know it can be tricky sometimes.
Post by ladyliberty on Sept 8, 2013 16:03:54 GMT -5
Latest update: Went out this morning and both girls temps were 101.2 and they were grazing and drinking. It was cool and overcast. We fed them some beet pulp and alfalfa and molassses/espsom salts/water, then let them into the next pasture.
My DH thinks it was a combination of heat and the fact that we started milking them again last week. They may have been starting to feel the effects of the continued heat, slowly degrading pasture due to lack of rain (but it does still look good, but I know looks don't tell you everything about quality--you should always look at the cow's condition and that will tell how good or bad it is) and then we started milking them more often than just occasionally. This must have sent them over the edge and were not able to handle the heat.
Oh, I bought ketone strips at Walgreens last night when I was out and got lucky this morning with both of them-- they peeped while I was there with them and both tested negative for ketosis. When I think of it, they did not have any smell to their breath either.
So...lessons learned. Look at the cow, not the grass! Cow condition is everything. And cool them off, better than we were doing. We'll have to bring them down to the house to get access to a hose, but that's OK.
Thank you so much for all your inputs. Don't know what I would do without you guys, honestly.
Post by Debbie Lincoln on Sept 8, 2013 16:55:38 GMT -5
I have been hosing both cow and calves for 4 weeks now. They resisted it at first and now like it. Abbey is solid black and suffers greatly in this heat. Panting and drooling. Five minutes hosing off with cold water and standing in front of a fan brings her around every time. I don't know what has been worse thus year - heat or flies.
AUNT ABBEY: JerseyXAngus, SOPHIE: Jersey, 2 calves, Houdini and Puddin', 1 Border CollieXCorgie, 1 German Shepherd, 5 coyote-wary cats, Koi pond, variable flock of demanding chickens, a HUGE garden, 1 beehive, 2 grown non-demanding kids, 2 grandchildren and us, 2 retired happy people. Live long and prosper!
I'm assuming that you are feeding a good source of minerals as well - like Kelp and Redmond Natural Trace Mineral Salts to start with. We had a black cow that when we first bought her last year had heat issues and scared me a few times. This year after she has tanked up on minerals, she's had no problem. She does have some shade most of the day as well.
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