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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15620
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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Calf is three months old. Been doing great as bottle fed.

Customer Question

Calf is three months old. Been doing great as bottle fed. Started two days ago when he tried to drink the bottle, spitting it up and foaming at the mouth. He is hungry and trying to eat,. Will chew up grain or hay act like swallowing it then it just comes back up and out with lots of liquid. The foaming got really bad drooling all the time. The foaming has slowed down to only when he tries to eat. Any ideas? He has lost to much weight already.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian & I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Can he keep anything down at all?

Any changes to his breathing or fever?

Any changes or swellings in the mouth or involving the tongue?

If you palpate his throat, any swellings or does pressure make him cough?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
From the way he us losing weight not keeping much down.
have listened to him no raspy sounds from chest. No fever. Felt inside his mouth everything feels the same. He loves to suckle on my fingers.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you,

Now when we see signs of this nature, it does raise a few concerns for our calves. Though to see all these signs and a lack of ability to keep anything down or even swallow his saliva, these signs raise major red flags of a throat obstruction. This could be due to anything he has eaten or severe inflammation from throat based damage (ie lacerations, abscesses, masses, etc). We could also have nerve damage in the throat leading to dilation of the esophagus and this causing his inability to keep food down.

Just to note, we can also see them with calves that have esophageal diverticula or vascular ring anomalies (where the great vessels to the heart constrict the esophagus) but these usually have signs from the start. As well, we could also see this due to some bacterial agents (ie lumpy jaw, listeria, etc), tick borne disease, and in cases of meningitis.

In this case and considering our signs, we need to tread with care. He cannot be left like this since not being able to eat will cause weight loss but also the lost saliva will cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Therefore, we do need to consider having his vet out so that they sedate him to check his throat. If there is a blockage, it needs removal and that is often curative provided the throat isn't damaged. Any throat based abscesses would need to be lanced and antibiotics started. Or if there is just inflammation, then injectable anti-inflammatories may be indicated. to remove swelling so that he can eat.

Overall, there are a few considerations for his signs but with all of them combined we would be most suspicious of throat obstruction from one of the above. Therefore, we'd want to be proactive here to pinpoint which is present and remove it so he can get back to eating for us.

Please take care,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is the only way I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.

**I hope all is well with your wee one. If possible, I would be grateful if you can rate my recent answer to your question, as this is the only way I am credited for helping you (this is at no extra cost to what you have paid already). If you have any lingering questions, please reply to me. I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Thank you. :)

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