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Won't nurse a bottle is very very weak. Wondering about a…

Customer Question
Won't nurse a bottle...

Won't nurse a bottle is very very weak. Wondering about a shot of dexemethosone

Veterinarian's Assistant: What sort of animal are we talking about?

Week old calf

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the calf?

Cow had mastitis couldn't nurse at all

Veterinarian's Assistant: Where does the calf seem to hurt?

Doesn't hurt just no nutrition

Veterinarian's Assistant: OK. No obvious pain. What is the calf's name and age?

One week no name

Veterinarian's Assistant: What is the calf's name?

No name

Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Large Animal Veterinary
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Answered in 1 hour by:
5/28/2018
Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago
Dan C., DVM
Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,308
Experience: Equine Practitioner. Owner of Mobile Equine/Large Animal Practice for 16 years.
Verified

Greetings, and thanks for the question.

So sorry to read about your calf. Regarding the Dexamethasone injection; this will at times help a calf that was premature, and the lung function is not quite developed, however in this case, the Dex would be contra-indicated and perhaps even make the situation worse. You mentioned that the calf was unable to nurse from the cow. With a normal birth, the calf consumes the cow's initial milk, which is called colostrum. The colostrum is extremely essential, as it contains many of the antibodies that give the calf a strong immune system. These antibodies protect the calf from multiple illnesses as it starts to mature. Without getting the colostrum (which is only absorbable through the "stomach" for 24 hours), the calf is basically immune deficient, meaning it has no natural immunity to disease. Dexamethasone, a powerful steroid, while it may help the calf to feel better in the short run, actually inhibits the immune system (which is why Dex is often used for allergic reactions, etc., to inhibit the immune systems response), and would make it even more susceptible to disease.

Ideally, what your calf needs is a transfusion of antibody-rich serum, collected from another healthy cow. I strongly recommend that you consider contacting a Large Animal Veterinarian to see if they have any serum available. Many large animal Vets, especially those that work with cattle, will keep frozen serum on hand, just for this type of situation. I'm hoping you can get in touch with a Vet that can help, otherwise, this calf has very little chance of surviving.

I hope I've been clear, and that all has made sense to you. Please feel free to contact me again if you have further questions.

-Dan C., DVM

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I gave her colostrum paste but she will have nothing to do with a bottle or milk. Drinking water and electrolytes from a bucket any suggestions on what I could try to feed her ? She perks up after electrolytes and is responsive but shaky when she does get up on her own. Should I give her b12 or la200? Should I offer starter pellets and some hay? The farmer that gave her to me found her drinking from a trough and grazing grass. Seems to respond better when not totally isolated from other cattle also.
Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

That's good that she got the colostrum paste. Do you know how old she was when you gave it to her?

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Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

She is too young to start on any type of solid food, as the rumen is not yet developed. The best way to feed her is by tube-feeding. Do you, or anyone you know, know how to do this?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
She takes 2 quarts of electrolytes on her own when it is offered I know that forcing milk replacer only makes her sick because it doesn't enter the right stomach which is more harmful not sure what I should do if she doesn't suckle a bottle nipple
Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

When you force the milk replacer, how are you giving it to her? Was she more than 24 hours old when she received the colostrum paste?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I gave it yesterday and this morning and she was 8 days old yesterday. I didn't get possession of her till Friday evening I feel like a couple of days sooner would have been better but the farmer didn't contact me for several days after he asked if I wanted to deal with a new calf. Said wanted to see if she in fact couldn't nurse the cow
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
she was 8 days old when got paste. I have used different flow nipples on bottles and with faster flow she never sucked just swallowed when mouth seemed full. Then an hour later she couldn't hold her head up or even open her eyes. Still sitting up on her chest though not laying flat on her side
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I don't know anything about tubing or have any help that does. I've heard horror stories about drowning animals doing it so I've been avoiding it completely at all cost
Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

Unfortunately, the antibodies in the colostrum are only absorbable by the body for the first 24 hours. So in essence, she has no natural immunity. She is also too young for LA 200. The B 12 wouldn't hurt, but without the antibodies, she is in a dangerous place. When she drinks the water and electrolytes, I'm sure it makes her feel better for a short time, as she is probably dehydrated as well.

What she ideally needs is an IV infusion of antibody-rich serum. Do you know of any Vets in your area that may have some?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Do you use a certain type of tubing ? Can I do it on my own and not risk drowning her ?
Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

Yes, tubing can indeed be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, and the horror stories of drowning are true. She really needs Veterinary attention to make it, I hate to day.

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Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

You should be able to purchase the proper tubing, and a tube-feeding setup at your local feed/supply store.

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Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

Tube-feeding is fairly easy, once you learn how, but I am not comfortable trying to explain it in this type of forum. You need someone that knows how to do it, and that can teach you hands-on.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Ok being a holiday I guess I'm out of options and she's out of luck. Gonna keep trying till she gives up I suppose. I can't just do nothing for the poor little thing. Free calf and $200 spent on trying to pull her thru I'm not giving up just yet
Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

No, don't give up! Is there anyone at your feed store that would know how to tube, or perhaps get you in touch with someone that does? I recommend calling around, hopefully you can find someone!

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Large Animal Vet: Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian replied 2 months ago

Also, if you can get some goat's milk, that would be much better for her than the milk formula. It's available in most grocery stores now.

-Dan.

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