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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21198
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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My Jersey cows are bleeding from the nose. the first two we

Customer Question

My Jersey cows are bleeding from the nose. the first two we noticed were given 20ml of Tetramycin and 20ml of Berenil and they survived. However a new one started bleeding and today it died before we could help it. What could be the cause of this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Have they been vaccinated for any of the clostridial agents? Which ones?
Any access to heavy metals, pesticides, or chemicals?
What plants or trees do you have on the pasture (or its edges)?
What are they being fed? Any issues with fungal contamination?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No they were not vaccinated for that.There is no access to metals, pesticides or chemicals.
There are some wattle plants on the edges.
They graze on rye-grass and clover pastures and we supplement with freshly cut mealie plants.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
Now to see multiple animals affected, we can appreciate that the cause will be an agent that they have had a shared exposure to. Therefore, instead of diseases of the individual, we have to consider those which are more communal. This means that we are either facing a virulent infectious agent, nutrient imbalance, or toxic exposure.
With those in mind, we would want to start by reviewing their environment and access to risk factors. In regards ***** ***** that could cause clotting issues and these signs, we’d need to ensure that these cattle have no access to rat bait (which can cause all these signs and even have delayed onset of weeks post exposure), heavy metals (ie arsenic, mercury, etc), or chemicals (ie organophosphate, antifreeze, chlorate). Furthermore, since there are a number of plants that also could cause bleeding dyscrasias and death. The most common that we see affect cattle are moldy sweet clover, acorn/oak, water dropwort, ferula communis, bracken, and ragwort.
Those differentials aside, I have to say that the infectious agents would be high on my list of concerns here. This is because the clue to this situation is that you treated 2 and they recovered. This gives us a hint that what is triggering these signs is sensitive to one or both of these medications. That means we have to consider agents like Babesia but also our bacterial agents. In regards ***** ***** latter, this would include a number of the clostridial agents (ie C. haemolyticum, C. novyi, etc) as well as Pasteurella multocida (Types B & E). A bit lower on our list of concerns would also be the viruses (ie bluetongue, BVD, MCF, etc) and possible severe liver fluke outbreak. So, these would be high on our list of concerns to what has triggered these signs in your herd.
Now in regards ***** ***** which of the above is to blame, I do have to first note that you need to proceed with care. The reason is because you have had stock with bleeding issues and death. This is important because these signs mean that there is a concern of Anthrax. It wouldn’t be on the top of our list of worries per say, but many countries have laws requiring that suspect cases be reported. Therefore, you do need to get in touch with your local vet as there may be notification laws and procedures that need to be followed. Furthermore, if we did have Anthrax, there is a risk to in contact people, live stock, and even long term land contamination. So, with these signs, we do need to have your local vet on board to guide you on how to approach this side of the situation while diagnosing what is present.
In regards ***** ***** the cause here, I would note that a number of these can be tested for via blood sample. As well or alternatively, since you have had a cow die, it would be ideal to consider have her submitted for autopsy (it is not advisable to do this at home by yourself since again we do have an anthrax risk). If you speak to the vet, they may be able to perform the autopsy for you. If they cannot find an obvious cause of death, they can collect samples to submit to the lab for the pathologists to evaluate. Alternatively, (and even better) if you have a local pathology lab, then it would be ideal to have this cow evaluated by a pathology specialist. The pathologists will be able to examine the tissues (grossly if they do the PM ) and under the microscope to determine the causative agent that lead to these signs and her death. They will be able to evaluate the GI for worm burdens and the liver for acute fluke infestation. They will be able to analyse tissue samples to determine if there is any issue with toxins or mineral imbalance. As well, if bacterial or viral causes are suspected, these can be cultured to determine what is to blame so that you can take the necessary steps to defend the herd from this appropriately.
Overall, in regards ***** ***** question, the above would be our concerns for these signs. Again, as the other 2 cattle responded to treatment, it does suggest an infectious agent is most likely here. Therefore, we'd want to get your vet involved to address this anthrax concern and if that is clear with their testing, then you can consider having a blood sample of the affected cattle and/or an autopsy of the deceased one to allow you to pinpoint which of the above is triggering these signs and thus be able to effectively protect the rest of the herd (either by vaccination or prophylactic antibiotic treatments).
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
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