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Dr. Kathy
Dr. Kathy, Large Animal Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 69
Experience:  Twelve years of experience treating beef and dairy cattle
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possible dislocated back right leg of a 3 day old longhorn

Resolved Question:

possible dislocated back right leg of a 3 day old longhorn calf
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kathy replied 7 years ago.
Is the calf trying to stand at all on the leg?

Have you treated him with anything?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

yes, he's tried I've watched him struggle to get up and then he gives up, but if I help him stand he can slowly wobble a few yards, but he falls when hie encounters a rock or a branch.

I haven't traeted him with any thing because I thought that it was weakness and that's the side he lays on. His mother is very engorged and the rest of the cows and a young bull seem to be issolating her. I was hoping that the other calves would nurse from her and releave the pressure to make it easier for both her and her calf


Expert:  Dr. Kathy replied 7 years ago.
I am concerned about the following for your calf:

A fracture of one of his bones
A torn cruciate ligament (ligaments of the knee joint)
An injured femoral nerve

In the case of the first two listed above, the calf will usually "toe touch" but will be unable to bear much weight. If one of these is the cause of the lameness a veterinarian can splint or cast the leg for 3 to 4 weeks. Because these calves grow very quickly, they need to have their bandages changed quite frequently, but they generally do very well. If you don't have a large animal veterinarian close by, you may see if a small animal vet will see him for bandaging or a cast.

In the case of a nerve injury, the calf will try to walk but will drag the leg instead of trying to pick it up and put weight upon it. These cases may resolve over time (days to weeks) depending on how badly the nerve is damaged.

A dislocated hip may have occurred, but I have never seen it as a problem in young calves. I also find it unlikely that nutrition is a cause since only one leg is affected.

Since it appears the calf is unable to stand and nurse, he needs to be bottle fed. He should eat approximately 8 to 10 percent of his body weight daily, split up over two to three feedings. (A gallon of milk weighs 8.6 pounds. If the calf weighs 85 pounds, he would need a total of one gallon of milk daily.)

As for his mother, you may see if a neighbor has an orphan calf you can try to get to nurse from the mother. I have also had beef clients buy a bull calf from a local dairy farm and get the cow to adopt that bull calf. (Just a warning though, dairy bull calves aren't too bright sometimes. You will have to try for a few days to teach him to nurse from the cow and get the cow to accept him.)

Good luck!
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