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Dr. Loretta
Dr. Loretta, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28116
Experience:  25 years of experience in treating large animals of all kinds.
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We have a heifer calf that is about 2 1/2 months old. She

Customer Question

We have a heifer calf that is about 2 1/2 months old. She was a very small calf at birth. When we finally turned her out with the herd we noticed her walking funny on her right front leg and it seemed to get worse. Thought it may have gotten broken. We caught her and splinted the leg and brought her and her mother into a small corral. When we made the leg go straight to splint she bellered pretty good because it hurt. My splint the first time fell off in a day but I noticed she was walking fine. Went ahead and splinted the leg again anyhow and kept her isolated for 8 weeks. Took the splint off at 5 weeks and she was back to normal running and playing like normal. Finally once again turned her out and she seemed absolutely normal until we switched pastures and calves started playing on an old manure pile. Now back to square one. I really have a hard time thinking its broken. More thinking she is dislocating it. Wondering our next plan. We cant move the pair for 45 days for fear mother might loose her AI calf
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the AI. What is the AI's name?
Customer: Wondering if we should try and catch her and resplint the leg until we can bring the pair home because I know there is no way we can turn this calf out on the mountain for the summer. Feel like I have to do something though
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the calf?
Customer: I don't think so. Other then her leg being tweaked she seems fine. Only think is that he or she should know is that we did not pull this calf. She was out of a first calf heifer and we had her bred to a low birth weight bull and I think he did his job because the calf was tiny. Only 39 lbs. but vigorous and healthy. Too small for our liking but she popped her out without any problems.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 6 months ago.

Good Morning and welcome! I am Dr. Loretta, a licensed veterinarian and I am happy to answer your question.

There can be many problems with the development of calves that are so small and this can cause ligament dysfunction and/or laxity. You have done everything I would have told you to do but it does appear that splinting needs to be a n=bit longer to allow the ligaments to strengthen even more. Since she would do well and , while playing, go back to where she was, the splinting is helping and must be continued. Calves grow very fast and their bones and ligaments are getting stronger every day....keep up the good work and by the time she is close to maturity, chances are good that she will be normal.

Does that make sense to you?

Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please REPLY so I can clarify for you.

Sincerely, ***** *****

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok we are planning on bringing the pair back home. Problem is not sure if we can catch her to splint the leg while in the pasture and can't move the mother until 30 days or so for fear if loosing her AI calf. Will it never heal if we wait to splint the leg. Also this pasture has ditches and splint will get wet
Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 6 months ago.

That is a problem and there is a good chance that this will heal on its own even without the splint since it has already begun to heal. If it is hard to get them in, make sure they are in a very small area so her movement is restricted giving the ligament and/or bone time to heal permanently...you are doing great so far!!