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Dr. Todd
Dr. Todd, Large Animal Vet
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 754
Experience:  35 years of experience
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sick calf

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I have a 2 month old calf that presented yesterday with tachypnea of aprox. 70 and a temp of 106. HR was 100. Dosed with 1.5cc PCN IM. This morning seemed improved but now presenting with the same symptoms again. Panting with mouth open and head lowered. Lifting hind legs alternately as if in gastric distress. Was thinking of dosing with mineral oil for ? partial bowel obstruction? What are your thoughts?  My husband feels this may be due to ingestion of nettles which are present in the pen.  He would not eat last evening.  This morning he drank half his ration of milk, about 2 quarts then appeared to be in discomfort and did not finish.  He also will occasionally cough and ?attempt to regurgitate without success.  We did put a mineralized salt block in the pen aprox. 10 days ago.  Listened to his lungs, they appeared clear with no decreased breath sounds nor any rails or rhonchi.  He also has a small amount of clear drool coming out of his mouth.  His mucous membranes appear slightly pale.

The symptoms you describe indicate a respiratory problem more than a gastric problem.

The 106 temperature is the major problem and needs to be addressed. Flunixin (Banamine, Prevail ) at 1 mL per 100 lbs. should be given.

I suggest you change from penicillin to ceftiofur (Excenel, Naxcel).

Dosing with mineral oil is probably not necessary.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have aspirin boluses so I gave him one tonight. HIs temp was 105 prior to the bolus. I have PCN on hand and due to my work schedule cannot obtain anything else for a few days so am continuing with the 1.5cc per day IM. When I gave him a bolus of water with a 60cc catheter tip syringe following the ASA he swallowed it eagerly. When I put the milk out for him he would try to drink but seemed unable. I pulled 60cc up in the syringe and gave it that way with his head up and throat extended and he did not seem to have any trouble swallowing. Each time I drew up another syringe full he would attempt to drink out of the bucket but was unable to, he took the whole gallon of milk from the syringe eagerly with a strong suck reflex.

How much does your calf weigh?


What is the concentration of the penicillin that you have? Is it 300,000 units per mL?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We estimate he weighs 150 lb. The concentration is 300.000 units per ml and the dosage is 3000 units per lb. That's where we came up with the 1.5cc
I recommend you dose the penicillin at 10,000 units per pound or 5.0 cc.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I will do so starting this evening. I've already given him two doses of 1.5, should I give him only 5 doses of 5cc or give the whole 7 day course? Do you have an answer for the drinking difficulty. He has an enlarged softball size nodule centrally located at the back of his jaw over his esophagus and trachea. I was thinking this might be an enlarged lymph node due to his illness. Could that be interfering with his ability to drink? The other two drugs I have available right now are Sulmet (sulfamethazine) 2.5g oblets and Uniprim powder each gram containing 67 mg trimethoprim and 333mg sulfadiazine. Would either of these be better to give than the PCN? The uniprim says for horses on the label. Also I'm giving the ASA boluse twice a day. How long would you recommend I continue to do so?

5 cc of penicillin twice daily for 5 days. If his temperature goes up to 105, switch to ceftiofur.


The swelling is probably causing the difficulty in drinking.


The downside to the Uniprim powder is that it's difficult to give the proper dosage.


If his temperature is 102.5 or lower, you can discontinue the ASA. If it is higher, flunixin is indicated.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He died
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He was in a quarter acre paddock with a shed. Would you recommend that I do anything to the area before putting other calves in there?

It would be a good idea to remove any bedding from the shed.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have stripped the shed. I'm going to wash the rubber mat down with a diluted clorox solution and lime the dirt in the shed. I'm also going to empty the water trough and wash it with diluted clorox solution. The other calves won't be going out there for about a week. Should that take care of it?



Disinfection of the water trough and mat is excellent husbandry.


Well done!