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Dr Steve
Dr Steve, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4274
Experience:  20 years of mixed animal practice experience
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I have a baby dairy calf, five days old with a bloat. What

Customer Question

I have a baby dairy calf, five days old with a bloat. What procedure should I use. I gave it a syringe of acid detergent bloat medicine and a bit later used some mineral oil down with a tube feeder and attempted to release gas with the tube. It is really pretty bloated and I am not sure what to do.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Steve replied 3 years ago.

Dr Steve :

HI I'm Dr steve. Howlong has she been bloated?

Dr Steve :

I will check in a few minutes to see your reply.

Customer:

I fed her at 6pm, checked her at 12:30am and she was very bloated, treated since then she is stretched out and bloated

Dr Steve :

When you fed her did she drink the bottle or have you been tube feeding her?

Customer:

bottle at six, just medication in tube later

Customer:

a very vigorous healthy calf

Dr Steve :

It is a little unusual that a 5 day calf will bloat, but it is possible. Which side is the bloat on when looking at the calf's head?

Customer:

I think more left, but all around, it could stand one hour and a half ago and kick but now is stretched out. I will look closer as to the side

Customer:

actually that is right from the back, right

Dr Steve :

Typically a true bloat is on the left side when you are behind the calf looking the same way that the calf is looking and the bloat is full on the top of the side near the hips and sometimes even extending above the back on the left side. Does this describe the bloat n your calf?

Dr Steve :

Or is it more of a lower bloat or fullness that is fairly even on both sides?

Customer:

fullness, even on both sides, I checked, it is not stretched out, sits erect, the bloast is nearer the hips

Dr Steve :

True bloat is an accumulation of gas in the rumen that rises upoward and makes the swelling higher up in the rumen, not so much on the lower side. This occurs when the rumen produces gas. The rumen is not yet functional in young calves like this so bloat caused by gas isn't very likely. Claves like this can get a fullness due to a plug in the intestines or a twisted intestine.

Dr Steve :

You have already done what is necessary to cure bloat and if there is some gas buildup, it may bring it down enough to make the calf more comfortable. This is what the acid detergent bloat medicine is supposed to do.

Dr Steve :

The treatment for a plug is mineral oil. how much mineral oil did you give it?

Customer:

two or three tblsp

Dr Steve :

DId you use a tube feeder with a rigid tube and how long is the tube?

Customer:

rigid tube l8 to 24 inches approx

Dr Steve :

Ok, The tube usually only enters the esophagus and not into the rumen and that is why you did n't get much gas out. If you have a flexible tube the same diameter as the tube and if you feel comfortable doing this, you could pass the tube and get it into the rumen to see if any gas comes out.

Dr Steve :

If you don't have a tube like this (it must be 3-4 ft long and only pass it in until you hit gas that comes back out of the tube. If you get no gas, then it is probably fluid that is causing the fullness. You could also pass the feeding tube again and put 1/2 pintof mineral oil into the rumen to help with a plug. Is the calf looking any better yet?

Customer:

their is flexible tube attached to the other end of this one, should I push further down?

Dr Steve :

Don't push the rigid part down, it may cause damage due to the stiffness of the tube.

Customer:

so it must be a flexible tube that size and 3 to 4 feet long to pass gas and then use the feeder as is to put down the pint of mineral oil if I cannot find a flexible hose

Dr Steve :

Yes but only 1/2 pint of mineral oil.

Dr Steve :

Do you have any banamine medicine?

Customer:

so do this instead of the flexible tube, yes, I have banamine

Customer:

I probably cannot find a suitable flexible hose 3 to 4 ft long

Dr Steve :

The banamine is a good gut pain reliever and shoul give her some relief form pain and you can give this in additon to everything else.

Customer:

would a garden hose be too large the calf is about 85 lb

Dr Steve :

The first thing is to give him 1cc banamine in the neck muscle and give it some time to see if it helps. The other suggestions I have made are all options that can be done if oyu feel comfortable doing it. The next step after the banamine is to give the mineral oil. If you don't have the proper size flexible tube, don't attempt relieving any gas. The banamine and mineral oil may be enough. When you described the fullness as being on both sides it is more likely to be fluid than gas.

Dr Steve :

Yes a garden hose is too large and will damage the larynx and cause more harm than good.

Customer:

I will then do the banamine and then the mineral oil later, I will start this immediately

Dr Steve :

If this calf has an intestinal twist , there unfortunately is nothing that can be done. If you do these things and she doesn't get better or doesn't make it, then she likely had a twist. Another option is of course to call your vet and have him examine the calf and treat it.

Dr Steve :

That is what I would do if it were my calf. I hope this has helped. If it has would you please click the accept button so i may receive credit for my answer. Thank you and good luck. If you have more questions, please continue

Customer:

How long should I wait before administering the mineral oil?

Dr Steve :

30 minutes should be enough time to wait.

Customer:

thank you

Dr Steve, Veterinarian
Satisfied Customers: 4274
Experience: 20 years of mixed animal practice experience
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