Just when you think you have everything under control...something always happens to remind you that you really have no control.
This has been one of those weeks that everything has been a battle.
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We have had an exceptionally warm and beautiful fall. The grass is still lush, green and growing. The longer we can keep the cows out on the hay field the better off we are.
Not only is the fresh grass better for the cows, but it means that we don't have to start feeding hay as soon. We are wintering more cows than we had planned and hay may get a little tight if we have a hard winter. We are hoping this warm trend continues and our goal is to keep the cows out on pasture until December.
Everything was going fine until a couple of the cows started to bloat. We have had some minor bloat in the past, but it has always dissipated on its own and we have never had to treat any of the cows.
We pulled the cows off of pasture for a few days and fed them hay. I guess that frost can sometimes cause the cows to bloat. We have never had any problems in past years, so we are not sure what is different this year.
All the cows seemed to be doing better, so we put them back out on limited pasture.
Except for Rose.
Rose was so bloated and miserable. She also developed diarrhea.
A neighbor came over and taught Daniel how to tube Rose. Basically, you stick a garden hose down the cow's throat, into their stomach, to relieve the gas pressure. Sometimes you have to wiggle the hose around to find that "sweet spot". Once you hit the spot you hear an instant gurgle of air and the pleasant aroma of stomach gasses fills the barn.
Make sure that you stand out of the way of the hose. Sometime it's not just air that comes out of that tube. Turns out that Isaac can scale a gate really fast when there is rumen juice flying around.
We took a fecal sample to the vet and they discovered that she had worms. We just wormed her last weekend, so that should be under control shortly. None of the other cows were reacting like this, so I just didn't believe that was the entire issue.
The vet prescribed 30 cc of Tylan for the diarrhea, 20 cc on Penicillin and Probios for 3 days.
To complicate the matter, Daniel had been working 10 hour days and then going to a training class each evening. It was almost 10:00 at night before he was even available to head out to the barn to doctor her.
By day seven, I had about had it. I knew that something else was going on. I know that cows can very easily die of bloat and sometimes it happens very quickly. She had been bloated for too long!
She wasn't eating hay, the diahrea wasn't improving, the bloat wasn't improving and her calf developed diarrhea
We called the vet to come out on Thursday to run some more tests. She came to the basic conclusion that the pH balance in her rumen is off. We were working to get rid of the contaminants (worms, bad bacteria and acidity), but there wasn't enough good bacteria in her system for her gut to function properly.
The vet added 5 cc of Vitamin B to the daily regimen. Vitamin B is usually produced in a healthy rumen, but since her rumen is obviously not healthy, Rose needs the extra help. The vet also recommended that we administer rumen juice from a healthy cow. You can get rumen juice either from a slaughter house or a vet hospital. The vet hospitals have special donor cows with easy access ports to be able to harvest the rumen juice from a live cow.
Daniel picked up a gallon of rumen juice from Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital.
She was bloated again last night, so Daniel tubed her to relieve the pressure. Then it was time to pour the rumen juice down the tube.
Poor Rose has had a rough week...and so have we. Yesterday she ate a lot of hay and now that she has had the rumen juice, hopefully we are on the road to recovery. The good news is that the veterinarians report had her body condition score at 7 out of 9. After what she has been through, I was pleasantly surprised that she didn't have a lower condition score.
Rose has been a trooper and patiently stands while we shove a garden hose down her throat. She is not so fond of all the shots, but I am sure her neck is quite sore by this time. Just a few more days of medications and hopefully we are done.
I never liked science class and didn't think I would be spending my week reading science reports about pH balances and all kinds of good and bad bacteria. At least I won't be tested over it!
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.