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May 17, 2009

A Down Cow

Seven AM on a beautiful Saturday morning--Ring! Ring! Down cow.

Coffee and toast to go, please ma'am.

Thirty minutes later--here's the three day old calf--a beautiful Shorthorn.

And here's the poor mama. She is not in very good shape. Being that she is pastured on new grass and just calved, odds are that she has an electrolyte imbalance called "grass tetanus".

But no, instead she has a very bad case of mastitis--or infection of her mammary glands.When she weaned her last calf, some bacteria probably got into the mammary gland and sat there until she started producing milk again. Then the bacteria started growing crazy on all the fresh milk. Sometimes it hits so fast you just find a dead cow. But in this case the left hind quarter was a dead sack of pus and the cow was so toxic she couldn't get up.

The only choice is to cut our losses (excuse the pun) and cut off the dead quarter so that the pus could drain out in the hopes that the toxins produced by the bacteria and dead tissue would drain out of the body instead of being forced deeper into the cow. She would never have been able to make milk in that quarter again anyway.

She didn't actually feel a thing because the tissue was dead, and as you can see-- there was very little bleeding. The drainage on the ground is the pus that was trapped inside. You can just imagine the odors that went along with it.

I treated her with some antibiotics, pain medications, and electrolytes and left some meds for the owner to continue treatment. It took a little assistance from the tractor, pulling, pushing, rolling, and a little grunting to help her sit up. She looks better, but has a long way to go...only time will tell. The calf will get introduced to milk replacer in a bottle. It won't be as good, but it's best option.