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calf can't walk

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:27 am
by Bguth71
[list=]h[/list]Hello everyone. I have a ten day old bull calf. He can't walk and I'm not sure what it is. The folks we got him from said the vet told them he had a lack of oxygen at birth and one side of his brain will never work but with some tlc the other side will take over but he will forever be a "special needs" bull. He eats fine (we feed him two pints twice a day for fear of giving him scours) and he's alert. He tries to walk but he just can't seem to get his front legs to do what he wants. When we walk him we'll move his front legs and he'll bring his back legs forward to catch up but he's very unbalanced. I'll watch him during the day and he tries to get up but it's as if he just can't bend his front legs. I work his legs several times a day so he doesn't get to stiff and I'll sit him up and bend his legs for him but it doesn't take long and he manages to get them out from underneath him and he's back on his side. He doesn't make any noises (crying). He potties normal. There's no raspy breathing and when we walk in the shed he looks up at us and acknowledges we're there. I got a harness we're going to use and see if we can build some strength up but I'm wondering if it's something else and if he'll ever be able to walk on his own. We've given him probios and jumpstart plus a shot of neuromycin 300 (he was going downhill quickly and that helped a lot), and some electrolytes. He doesn't seem to be in pain but there's no way for me to know if he is or not. And he grinds his teeth. Has anyone ever seen this? Should he be given any type of medicine? Is there even such a thing as a special needs cow? I apologize for the long post just trying to put out as much info as possible. I plan on taking him to my vet next week after my grandkids go home. Any advice in the mean time would be much appreciated.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:43 pm
by farmerjan
Don't know quite what to tell you about the calf. How do you bottle feed him? I will say that 2 pints ( 1 quart) twice a day is barely subsistence rations. He needs at least 2 quarts twice a day to ever begin to grow and many dairy farmers are now feeding 3 qts a feeding. I realize you don't want him to scour but you need to up his milk. Any problem with the muscles not responding to the brain not sending out signals will also be due to the lack of strength. I would try putting him over a square bale of hay to get him "up" at least to a normal position to feed. We have used a sling to get cows up when there has been some paralysis and have had mixed results.
Since you are willing to try, then I would try the "harness" to help him get/stay upright, when you are working with him. It sure won't hurt. Some calves do seem to grind their teeth more, and I am thinking it is sometimes considered a deficiency of some vitamin/or mineral but can't remember offhand which one.
I am assuming that you got him as a freebie and are planning to make him a steer to be future beef in the freezer? Usually lack of O2 causes them to have trouble eating, drinking a bottle, or just plain act "stupid" and they don't "get it"; because the brain is not functioning. Leg problems are often from difficult births, or a bad position inside the cow, or a genetic problem causing a deformity. But, I guess it could cause what you are seeing. Worst case is he doesn't respond and you have to put him down. You are doing more than most would probably do so best of luck. Maybe your vet will have some other idea.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:49 pm
by Bright Raven
Congenital defects are a possibility. Those do not resolve. Medications are not likely to treat his condition.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:41 pm
by Bguth71
Farmerjan: Im going to do that. I've been thinking of that myself but I'm just so afraid of killing him by trying to make him better. He can't possibly weigh more than 75 lbs right now. I did call my vet today and he gave me a dose of multimin90 and said he thinks it's a vitamin deficiency. If I can just get through the weekend I'm taking him to the vet Monday to be looked over and maybe he can help me figure out what happened. As it turns out, prior to me getting this calf, he was walking around, (I didn't believe them until they sent me a video today). It was when my family had to put him in the barn that after two days he went down and hasn't gotten back up. So now that leaves me with even more questions as to what could be wrong. And yes he's mine to do what I want if I can get him up again. Something else I noticed while looking him over this evening. He doesn't have balls? When do they get them? And I checked his naval, it seems fine to me but I wouldn't swear on that.
Raven, surely my vet will be able to tell me that?
I added (I think I did it right) some pics. Maybe someone can see something I am missing.
Thank you.
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Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:56 am
by MRRherefords
We had a calf that our vet believes had a lack of oxygen at birth. She is very much a special needs calf. When she was born she could walk, but would do abnormal things like walk into walls and gates, and walk in a strange way. She never straightened out, and she never learned how to eat feed. It all attributed back to lack of oxygen at birth. We were concerned that it might be genetic, but did not know for sure, so we gave her mom another chance and she threw one of the best steer calves that we have had in several years. And he is 100% normal.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:50 am
by TCRanch
We once had a 3 month old heifer that was suddenly grinding her teeth and couldn't walk. Temp was normal, no signs of sickness and our vet suspected she had an aneurysm.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:56 am
by Jeanne - Simme Valley
Sounds like it could be Selenium deficiency and the Multimin will solve that problem. Definitely increase his feed, but you might want to slowly increase over a few days?? I'm not a "bottle" baby person, so I'm just using common sense.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:47 pm
by dieselbeef
why take on a problem like this knowing goin in it was gonna be a special needs animal...it shouldn't have made it this far...whats yer goal? why..i don't understand the idea here someone help me out

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:57 pm
by Jeanne - Simme Valley
If the calf is just SE deficient, it should be normal soon. I think they may have gotten wrong info from vet - I never heard of one oxygen deprived that sucks good, WAS walking, now down. I think he is hungry & has white muscle disease. Possibly!

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:58 pm
by Workinonit Farm
Grinding teeth, in calves, generally indicates pain/discomfort.

As FarmerJan said, 1 qt milk 2X a day, is definitely not enough. I'd be giving 2 @ 2X a day and work him up, possibly to a bit more. When I was doing bottle-babies, I generally fed them three times a day.

I would also be inclined to try Jeanne's suggestion of Selenium, especially since he could walk, but not now.

Good luck with the little buggar.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:06 pm
by Bguth71
dieselbeef wrote:why take on a problem like this knowing goin in it was gonna be a special needs animal...it shouldn't have made it this far...whats yer goal? why..i don't understand the idea here someone help me out


Honestly, I ask myself that same question. My goal is to try and give him the best life I can. The day I took him they were going to put him down. Now I'm just trying to figure out what happened in those two days in the barn. He was walking before, no one (my family) seems to know why he couldn't after.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:37 am
by greybeard
Been following this on another board and just now saw the thread here.
Sometimes, neurological maladies appear to correct themselves, and a few days of normal behavior takes place...animals and humans. Oxygen deprivation can do some strange things to the brain, but brain can sometimes compensate for the damage at least temporarily, and then it all comes back..sometimes worse than the initial onset was.Think of it in human stroke terms. Make sure your vet knows about your concerns that it was o2 deprived during birth.

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:52 am
by Craig Miller
How much was it eating before when it was walking? Could be as simple as being weak from not getting enough to eat

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:09 am
by dieselbeef
any other time on this board yall would've said shoot it. whay waste the time and money with an animal that has little return value...place is getting soft

oh..you must be raising a pet for the kids.


trying ot to be a ddiicckk here but I just don't get it..its gonna be retarded no matter what....

Re: calf can't walk

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:26 am
by Bguth71
Craig Miller wrote:How much was it eating before when it was walking? Could be as simple as being weak from not getting enough to eat


From what they told me he was getting one pint every four hours. That's why we bumped it to two when we brought him home but now we're up to a full bottle and he's still alert, eats well, potties normal. I'm hoping we can find the problem soon. My vet was swamped on Thursday and out of the office on Friday. I'd go to another but the town I live in my options are limited and this guy is good at what he does.