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Dr Steve
Dr Steve, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4277
Experience:  20 years of mixed animal practice experience
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We have 3 beef steers that are currently being "finished".

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We have 3 beef steers that are currently being "finished". We have started graining them and have slowly increased the grain. One of the three has become "bloated". Looking at pictures of cattle bloat confirms this. The animal does not appear to be in distress but I am wondering what actions to take at this time. These steers have not been handled in any way. They are also within 30 days of being butchered.

Dr Steve :

Hi, I'm Dr STeve

Dr Steve :

Bloat occurs when the rumen part of the stomach produces excess gas in the form of bubbles ( like the bubbles in a sink when doing dishes). This gas trapped in thebubbles is not able to be burped out like normal "free" gas. The treatment is aimed at relieving the gas build up either by passing a hose in the mouth into the stomach to release the gas or by giving medicine to help break down the bubbles to allow the gas to be released by burping.

Dr Steve :

When I treat bloats I pass a hose into the rumen through the mouth to release the gas then I pump a gallon of mineral oil mixed with a 2 ounce bottle of THerabloat. The therabloat helps to break down the bubbles that weren't released by the tube. THis method is the fastest and most effective way to treat bloat.

Dr Steve :

ANother option is to get the calf in a chute and try to therabloat mixed with water as the label directions say and pump it into the mouth, thie will help breakdown the bubble sand allow them to be released by burping. THis does take longer and may not work in some bloats.

Dr Steve :

ANother option is to put "bloat blocks" into the bunks . THese are like mineral blocks and contain the same ingredient that therabloat has ( polyoxalene). Mot calves will eat this readily and it often helps with the bloat. This is usually the slowest method and I often recommend bloat blocks for prevention rather than treatment.

Dr Steve :

THe danger of bloat is that as the rumen fills with gas it pushes the diaphragm forward and compresses the lungs causing a calf to slowly suffocate. THis risk is why I treat bloat by passing a stomach tube , releasing the gas to treat the urgent part and then using the therabloat to get rid of the rest of the bubbles . My recommendation would be to call a vet to do this . There are possible complications of this like getting the tube into the lungs and drowning the calf. haivng the calf bite inot the tube and swallow a portion of it possibly causing an obstruction. WIth these risks it is better to have a vet with the right equipment and experience help you .

Dr Steve :

If the bloat is mild and not very high and the calf is breathing ok, I have had clients use the bloat blocks ( available from an elevator or feed store) and watch the calf closely to be sure it doesn't develop trouble breathing whilt the bloat blocks are working. I hope this has helped. If it has would you please click the submit button so I may receive credit for my answer. I will check later to see if you have more questions. Thanks for using just answer and good luck.

Dr Steve and other Large Animal Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Kathy,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr Steve