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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21201
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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My 4 week old calf, Cody, has a swollen knee --back left

Customer Question

My 4 week old calf, Cody, has a swollen knee --back left knee. This came all of a sudden and I don't know what to do. I bottle feed him with calf milk replacement
JA: Is Cody in any pain? Is it behaving differently?
Customer: He seems to be because when I touched it this morning he withdrew and stopped drinking his milk. Wont put it down--I know he's in pain he didn't finish his milk.
JA: Have there been any changes in appearance or diet?
Customer: No . Looks good just noticed he was little weak on the left but he was walking . This was two days ago and suddenly his knee is swollen and he won't put it down.
JA: Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: No..Could this be joint ill or RA?
JA: Is there anything else you think the vet should know?
Customer: That's all info . Would antibiotics help?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Did he receive colostrum in the first 24 hours from his mum?

Any fever?

Any chance of trauma to the leg?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
he got his mom,s colostrum ---but her milk stopped after he was a week old . No fever no trauma .
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you,

First, I am glad to hear that Cody hasn't had any recent traumas and that we can put worries of fractures lower on our list of concerns. Now the signs you have described raise concerns of joint ill in this calf. Often we will see seeing joint swelling, reduced leg use and activity, and they can also show stiffness and reduced extension of the affected leg.

Now without a culture of the joint fluid for the bacterial agent, we cannot really say what bacteria is present and therefore what antibiotic is appropriate. This is because there are a wide variety of bacteria that can migrate into the joints and cause a disease of this nature. That said, we tend to base our treatment from knowledge of what bacteria most often causes this condition and what drugs they will respond to. And in the case of joint ill, the most common culprits are E. coli and mycoplasmas. With these culprits in mind, we do find that Penicillin or Oxytetracycline are good broad spectrum antibiotic choices for this situation and can help against the infection. Most feed stores will carry at least the Penicillin OTC and therefore you can consider initiating treatment with that this point. Treatment tends to be until the signs have resolved (possibly a week for mild cases that are caught early), but do note that we can see long lasting damage to the joints if the infection is not settled quickly.

Overall, with the swelling affecting a single joint in this calf, we'd be most concerned about bacterial infection within the joint. Therefore, we'd want to take the above approach at this stage to address those signs and settle this as quickly as possible for Cody.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

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

Dr. B.