baby calf with broken back leg

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Farmerclark
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baby calf with broken back leg

Postby Farmerclark » Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:19 pm

We sure would appreciate some information on the possibility of saving this calf. It was 4 days old, and when we noticed it, laying away from the herd. Found it to have a broken back leg, below the hock, about 3 in. And the skin was cut as well, maybe mama-trauma, but not sure
Our vet put a fiberglass cast .on t, then came back 4 days later, and when she took it off, said we would have to put it down, as it just wouldn't heal, we decieded, to have her re- cast it, with a window, so we could change dressings daily, it's growing like weeds, no infection, and gets around fairly well,we give it 5 cc of penicillin every other day.
We have it in a pen , let the cow in twice a day to nurse, and it's doing really good....so am wondering if this will heal? Or are we wasting our time here? Thanks for any help you may offer.
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wbvs58
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby wbvs58 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:27 am

Generally bones of calves will heal very well. The wound would be of concern to me suggesting the bone may have poked through which opens up another can of worms, infection. I would suggest you keep your vet involved to see if you are winning with the infection. I think it would be worth giving it a chance but keep getting it checked. It sounds like it has a bit of fight in it.

Ken
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Farmerclark
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby Farmerclark » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:55 am

Another question on this calf.....our vet told us to pack the wound with silver sulfdiazine cream, each day, but I would think keeping the cream on the wound and the bone would be making the bone to soft, and not heal , any thoughts? Thanks..
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bird dog
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby bird dog » Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:36 pm

Well I sure wouldn't put it down. Watch the wound and try to keep it clean and free of flys and maggots. They will usually live with a broke leg and learn to get around on it. I bought a heifer last year that came through the ring with a week old calf with a front leg broke at the knee to where it was flopping around. No flesh wounds though. I didn't do anything to the calf. I put them both at a rotational grazing place where the paddocks are about 22 acres so the cow couldn't venture off to far and turned them out. I just had to make sure to move the calf when I switched pastures. . A calf like this will sit a bunch for the first couple months.
The little critters learn to get around very well. At about 6 months the heifer had a knot on the knee about the size of a softball but could run like a scared coyote. I knew she wouldn't do anything at the sale barn so I sold her to a neighbor for $300. She probably weighed about 350.
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby cowgirl8 » Sat Jun 11, 2016 5:39 am

We had one with a broken femur, apparently the heifer stepped on him after we pulled it. Set both in a pen and at some point it was broken.
After a few days we took him to the vet, i thought maybe it was dislocated. But it was broken. Our vet said that the bone is covered in lots of muscle and would eventually heal...It did, but not exactly normal and his gate is a little off, but he's a nice big calf and seems healthy...
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby Katpau » Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:13 pm

We had about a two month old calf break his hind leg at the hock several years ago. the bone poked through the skin and it flopped around like it was only connected by that skin. I wanted to put it down, but my husband said let’s try and save it. We wrapped it in cotton and splinted with some PVC pipe. We also gave a shot of LA 300 for infection. We changed the wrapping once a week. The first time it was all creamy with pus and I figured there was no way this would be successful. My husband was holding it while I worked on it and the only reason I rewrapped it after cleaning off the pus with hydrogen peroxide and putting on some iodine, was because my stomach was turning and I could not look at it any more. A week letter it looked better. At the advice of the vet we no longer used iodine or peroxide. He said that would damage the tissue and slow healing. At around 5 weeks he was getting more active and he had gotten the splint and wraps off on his own. We discontinued wrapping but left him confined with the cow in a small pen for another week then turned them into a small pasture. He healed completely but the leg was crooked, since we did not get it lined up as well as we maybe could have. He survived to be harvested with just a limp.

We had another last year break a front leg. That break was less severe and we used the same technique of cotton under a PVC splint held on with vet wrap. Kept cow and calf confined until calf was using the leg. That one healed in maybe 3 or 4 weeks and recovered 100%.
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Farmerclark
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby Farmerclark » Sun Jun 12, 2016 7:54 am

Thanks, everyone who shared their' experiences, with the broken bones....we continue to change the dressings, daily..there still is a creamy discharge, so still has , infection in it..we give it draxin every 10 days and every other day penicillin, so would hope that would clear up the infection , and it's actually starting to fill in, with new tissue..
I worry that we did not line the bone up perfectly, so wonder if it will knit together..?.
It's been two and half weeks, now and he gets around fairly well, but " we're not there yet..".
Our vet, a " new grad. Of vet school, claims, it just won't heal, and it should be put down...! but after reading your posts, we are hoping this one,will heal too, sure hope so, it's a nice big calf..thanks again for your stories...
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby bird dog » Sun Jun 12, 2016 3:14 pm

They rarely heal back to where you wouldn't notice. They always seem to have a large knot area that looks swelled up. I think its mother natures way of reinforcing the break. One thing for sure, you won't notice the break in the taste. They butcher out just the same as any. I am picking up a Charolais heifer next week at the butcher that spent her whole life on three legs due to a hip injury.
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby Son of Butch » Sun Jun 12, 2016 3:53 pm

bird dog wrote:Well I sure wouldn't put it down.

I would never have the audacity to over ride the judgment of a Vet who has actually seen, examined and treated an animal that I have never even seen. But then again some people are much more confident in their psychic ability than me. With that said, only one experience with a bottle calf and a broken leg.

We splinted it and treated it ourselves. Long time and added expenses with calf that lagged behind the others.
Felt good to save the calf and grow it out for slaughter.
Objective view.... in the long run it was probably a wash with added expenses and below average performance
vs. the value of the calf saved. So, perhaps the Vet's advice is best from an economic point of view.
But, my natural instinct would be to do it again and hope for the best.
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wbvs58
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby wbvs58 » Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:51 pm

Alignment is not that critical bone will attempt to remodel and try to make the shape as close to normal as it can. I have heard it said that as long as the ends of the bone are in the same room together they will heal.

Ken
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TCcattle
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Re: baby calf with broken back leg

Postby TCcattle » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:38 am

[/quote]
Farmerclark wrote:Thanks, everyone who shared their' experiences, with the broken bones....we continue to change the dressings, daily..there still is a creamy discharge, so still has , infection in it..we give it draxin every 10 days and every other day penicillin, so would hope that would clear up the infection , and it's actually starting to fill in, with new tissue..
I worry that we did not line the bone up perfectly, so wonder if it will knit together..?.
It's been two and half weeks, now and he gets around fairly well, but " we're not there yet..".
Our vet, a " new grad. Of vet school, claims, it just won't heal, and it should be put down...! but after reading your posts, we are hoping this one,will heal too, sure hope so, it's a nice big calf..thanks again for your stories...


Sounds like you are doing an excellent job! And as long as the bone is touching it will knit together, might not be perfectly straight, but, new bone is always as strong as original bone.
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