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Dr Chris
Dr Chris, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 49
Experience:  Registered General Practioner
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We have a Jersey cow that's due to calve in mid-July and she

Customer Question

Hello Pearl, we have a Jersey cow that's due to calve in mid-July and she got into her grain bin today at some point, likely at least 4 to 8 hour ago. It was mostly pelleted Timothy on top because we are trying to dry her off. She at almost all of that and probably 10 lbs of cow and calf feed. We tried to get her up to the barn tonight to milk her one last time, but we couldn't get her to go. She i walking around like she is drunk and she may have injured her front legs climbing the short concrete wall that leads to where we milk her. We didn't think she'd climb it and we have only had her for a few months now. Is there anything we can do from her over eating the grain?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: I didn't notice any foot issues. They are pretty muddy. We had a lot of rain yesterday.
JA: What is the cow's name and age?
Customer: Wendy, 5 yrs old.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Wendy?
Customer: That's all we know.
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: 1 year ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. My name is***** to hear that Wendy is unwell. I will do my best to help with your question. First I have a few questions to help me better understand your situation.

Does Wendy's abdomen appear enlarged or bloated?

Is she currently wanting to eat or drink?

Does she appear to be in pain (hunched, vocalising or kicking)?

Does she appear to be salivating excessively?

Is she wanting to stay on her feet, or is she trying to lie down more than normal?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Dr. Chris,She doesn't seem to have any unusual swelling in her abdomen. She didn't seem to want to eat much, but he did drink half of her 60 gallon trough today. She didn't seem to be in any pain or showing any of those signs, but she seemed a little wobbly on her front legs. Her mouth appeared normal, without any excess salivation. She was laying down when we found her, but she stood right up when we approached her and walked around the pasture. She did urinate and defecate once wile we were out there and her stool was more watery than normal.
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Okay. The first two things that come to mind with this situation of grain over-eating is bloat and ruminal acidosis. It sounds from your description of her activity levels and the length of time that it has been, that her condition is not too serious.

Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Just to clarify, you said it was mostly timothy hay pellets...but with grain underneath? Is that right?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it was mostly timothy hay pellets on top. Under that, she probably had about 10 lbs of cow and calf crushed grain 14%.
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Okay, and you mentioned before that you thought she might have injured her legs. Is this because of the way she was walking? Or did you see obvious signs of an injury, like a cut or bleeding?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She didn't show any visible signs of injury in her legs. I just suspected she could have because she climbed up a 2.5 ft ledge and back down to get into the milking room where her feed is.
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Okay. Based on what Wendy has eaten, what she most likely has is ruminal acidosis. This is associated with loose, light coloured diarrhoea, reduced gut motility, regurgitation, and a sweaty coat appearance. In severe cases, there will be severe or complete loss of gut motility, weakness, dull mentality, inability to rise, or delayed laminitis (which presents as delayed lameness).

Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

The underlying problems is that the pH in the rumen become abnormally low (acidic) due to the highly digestible nature of the grain. If the pH is acidic enough, it can cause direct damage to the rumen lining and bleeding, or result in the blood becoming acidic.​

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a recommended treatment or will this resolve on its own?
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

In mild cases, which I think Wendy has (but difficult to be sure without being physically there to examine her), the problem can resolve on its own. But I would keep her entirely on roughage or pasture for the next week, to avoid adding further acids to the rumen from more grain.

You should monitor her faecal output and make sure she is passing faeces normally (usually at least once an hour). This will give you an indication that the guts are continue to move and churn, which is a positive sign. If you notice that she is not producing faeces, or is refusing to eat or drink, or unable to get up, she will require more urgent assistance from your local farm animal vet.

Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Also good to check the line at the top of each of her hooves for redness, soreness or swelling, as these are indications of laminitis.

Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

If her condition worsens, the visiting vet will likely start her on some antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, check her blood pH, administer antacid medications, and perhaps give vitamin injections to facilitate gut function.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thanks. We'll monitor her and see how she does.
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

No worries. Good luck.

If you don't mind, could you please give my answer a rating at the top of this page? Otherwise the website will not reimburse me for my time. Thanks.

Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

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