Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves?

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Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves?

Postby WalnutCrest » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:38 pm

My situation is that we had a heifer calf born into a blizzard about five weeks ago. While otherwise healthy (she's nursing, alert, can hobble around reasonably well), her right rear hoof has never been right.

This morning when I was out with them, I was watching her real close -- and saw the first stages of what appears to be her shedding her hoof (it's always been swollen; today I saw two sores and some blood).

This heifer was well over half the reason we bought her mama ... and, so we'd like to do what we can to salvage the reproduction value of this little heifer. We're considering any and all options to get eggs out of her, fertilized and into recips.

My questions relate to things to look for, treatment protocols, etc. to get her old enough to either harvest her ovaries (to either freeze or to harvest immediately) ... or ... to get her past weaning to sexual maturity and try to flush her then.

I'm pretty sure that five weeks old isn't old enough to harvest the ovaries or to try an IVF procedure of some sort (but, I'd be happy to find out that I'm wrong), and so, I wouldn't mind help from anyone who's lived with a calf prior to, during and after the sloughing of the hoof. Treatment, management, etc.?

There just aren't that many people south of Kansas City with much in the way of practical expertise on managing a calf who lost a hoof from frostbite. Anyone from the frozen tundra care to help out?

Thanks for any help. Feel free to PM me if you'd rather take this offline.

PS -- I'm not looking for "shoot her" type comments. While that may be what we do, I'd like to look into other options first. :)
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby Till-Hill » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:54 pm

I'd call Trans Ova and see what they say about getting eggs or what not out of her. I'd guess they would know the most.
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby WalnutCrest » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:27 pm

Till-Hill wrote:I'd call Trans Ova and see what they say about getting eggs or what not out of her. I'd guess they would know the most.


Already did.

Called Cross Country Genetics, too.

Similar answer both places ... unless you're willing to do something that is VERY 'bleeding edge', then she'd need to be 6-8mo before harvesting.

I'm waiting on a contact at Colorado State, too ... to see if they have anything. I was told there was some real talent on staff out there ... we'll see.

My main questions relate to management of the heifer and for how long. If we have to do all sorts of jumping-through-hoops for another year or more, then we may seek a different plan, than if we have to only get her to the first part of August.

I think my next step is going to be to determine whether or not she's sloughing one claw or two, and what the vet thinks about the rest of the tissue down there on her hoof.

Thanks for any additional insight / opinions ... especially, if they're borne from actual experience.
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby snake67 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:40 pm

WalnutCrest wrote:My situation is that we had a heifer calf born into a blizzard about five weeks ago. While otherwise healthy (she's nursing, alert, can hobble around reasonably well), her right rear hoof has never been right.

This morning when I was out with them, I was watching her real close -- and saw the first stages of what appears to be her shedding her hoof (it's always been swollen; today I saw two sores and some blood).

This heifer was well over half the reason we bought her mama ... and, so we'd like to do what we can to salvage the reproduction value of this little heifer. We're considering any and all options to get eggs out of her, fertilized and into recips.

My questions relate to things to look for, treatment protocols, etc. to get her old enough to either harvest her ovaries (to either freeze or to harvest immediately) ... or ... to get her past weaning to sexual maturity and try to flush her then.

I'm pretty sure that five weeks old isn't old enough to harvest the ovaries or to try an IVF procedure of some sort (but, I'd be happy to find out that I'm wrong), and so, I wouldn't mind help from anyone who's lived with a calf prior to, during and after the sloughing of the hoof. Treatment, management, etc.?

There just aren't that many people south of Kansas City with much in the way of practical expertise on managing a calf who lost a hoof from frostbite. Anyone from the frozen tundra care to help out?

Thanks for any help. Feel free to PM me if you'd rather take this offline.

PS -- I'm not looking for "shoot her" type comments. While that may be what we do, I'd like to look into other options first. :)


Forget the talk and hearsay my friend. And do not cheap out on the recovery protocol

Contact the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Ask to speak with someone in the veterinary college.

You can follow the train from there.

No disrespect intended but I suspect there are not too many frozen feet that are dealt with in your part of the world - I have seen what they can do with them - pretty neat what they can do with them - but very expensive.

If you get no satisfaction from them - and they are considered to be the leaders in the Canadian veterinary world you might call the University of Saskatoon in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and ask for their veterinary college - and then follow the train - and ask those guys the same questions - this is a very northern veterinary college, a darned good one that has helped a few of my family in the past and probably has a fair bit of experience with this type of thing.

Now, if that was my animal and it was as valuable as you state - those would be the first lines I would attack.

Other than that - wish you all the best and good luck to the animal

Bez
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby milkmaid » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:54 pm

In addition to Bez's suggestions.... you're not far from KSU. If she's that valuable to you, see what they say about prosthetic options. Normally I wouldn't recommend it in a large animal... but if it's only one leg, and you're planning on euthanasia after flushing, and you're aware that they do have a limited lifespan... then it may work out for you and the calf.

Keep us updated.
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby Fire Sweep Ranch » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:25 pm

Our pastor has a yearling angus heifer that has three legs, the fourth froze off last fall after she was born. She was given to him as a gift, and he has no clue about cattle. She has been roaming pasture for the year he has owned her, and I went and looked at her when he got her (last year) and just a few days ago. He wanted to try breeding her (we talked about AI), but after looking at her yesterday I suggested eating her instead. Now, she had no care, and is wild as a bat, but she never grew. She gets around fine, and bears weight on her stub when she is walking slow, but when she runs (when you get within 500 feet of her!) she runs faster than no other!!! She does not use the stump then, just runs three legged.
Her leg was lost just below the pastern, so she lost her hoof and fetlock. But she survived WITHOUT any intervention, so depending on how bad your heifer is I bet you can keep her alive as long as you wish. I agree with Bez and Milkmaid, get medical advice since you are concerned about the future of this heifer and her ability to pass on those genetics. You might find out things are not as bad as you think!
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby WalnutCrest » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:58 pm

Thanks everyone. My wife tells me when I get a "glass half empty" mindset that all I need is more sleep. So, I think I need more sleep.

I just got off the phone w/ the vet at Guelph ... and our local vet. I think we have a plan of attack. After it gets finalized and safely implemented, I'll report back. Due to a variety of off-the-farm time constraints, I hope to have answers not later than the end of the day next Monday.

In the interim, any additional constructive ideas are welcome. Thanks!
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby snake67 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:52 pm

WalnutCrest wrote:Thanks everyone. My wife tells me when I get a "glass half empty" mindset that all I need is more sleep. So, I think I need more sleep.

I just got off the phone w/ the vet at Guelph ... and our local vet. I think we have a plan of attack. After it gets finalized and safely implemented, I'll report back. Due to a variety of off-the-farm time constraints, I hope to have answers not later than the end of the day next Monday.

In the interim, any additional constructive ideas are welcome. Thanks!


Good luck - I look forward to hearing how it goes

Bez
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby shadyhollownj » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:13 pm

I would worry about the blood and developing an infection also. I do have a question Walnut if you have the mom why dont you flush the mom to the heifers sire? At least then you would have a group of heifers to chose from.
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby WalnutCrest » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:11 am

shadyhollownj wrote:I would worry about the blood and developing an infection also.


Me, too.

Addressing this is part of the plan...

shadyhollownj wrote:I do have a question Walnut if you have the mom why dont you flush the mom to the heifers sire? At least then you would have a group of heifers to chose from.


We will be doing that flush down the road. There are, I believe, only 15 units of semen on the sire that are outside the EU, and we have them all.

That said, there are no guaranties we get a heifer from the flush(es)...
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby shadyhollownj » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:25 pm

I forgot about the whole Aubrac cattle thing. What about Ivf with sex sorted. I know it takes two straws out of your 15 but I think you can do like 8 cows with those two.
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby WalnutCrest » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:12 pm

A reasonable question. I talked with Transova yesterday. They're pretty proud of their work, and cloning ain't free.

Here's to hoping I don't have to chalk this up to this being a sad turn of events that happens from time to time in life.

... we'll see ...
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby Ozhorse » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:10 pm

I have experience with burnt hooves, rather than frozen ones but the same principles would apply, and it is with sheep rather than cattle, but hooves are hooves.

We had a wildfire through 90% of 2700 acres and lost about 700 sheep and very fortunately only one calf out of 260 head of cattle (cows are obviously less flamable than sheep). About 40 odd head of expensive rams also got burnt badly, about 10 dead and others with 3rd degree burns. At an average replacement value of $1500 a head they were worth trying to save.

The good thing is that the calf is still small and light. It is harder with heavier animals. Also if she is only affected in one foot and is currently totally sound on the other three she should cope. If she is only loosing one claw and the other is OK she should be even better.

The bad news - it can be a lot of work if you are otherwise busy.

I have a long series of photographs of the burnt sheeps feet we treated over the last 14 months. I mean to write up and put online the case study and our thoughts on treatment one of these days - when life gets back to normal after the fire - which it has not yet (have a drought on top of a burnt out farm at the moment) There was not much online on how to save the animals, and plenty of advice and pressure from the govt vets to shoot them.

So - treatment:

I HIGHLY RECCOMEND A CHEAP CONSULT WITH THIS GUY WHO SPECIALISES IN HORSES BUT WORKED WITH ME WITH SHEEP. READ HIS WEBSITE AND CASE STUDIES ON DAMAGED FEET IN HORSES, HIS ATTITUDE IS AMAZING. He has excellent approaches and principles and is excellent with bandaging.

http://stepaheadfarm.com

Keep the quality of the nutrition up and keep her in as calm and comfortable and socially happy condition as you can as soon as you can after injury. Her mother is feeding her but make sure she is getting all she needs and a little more. Keep both mum and baby calm and happy. Give them a mineral lick. We found that in the first few days after severe burns a low stress environment with company and good nutrition and shelter made the difference between life and death and healing and not (and hooves falling off and not). She is with her mum so this means keep mum happy.

Even if a hoof falls off it WILL regrow. The problem is keeping the hoof structures alive and reducing damage to them while the hoof does regrow, which with the sheep took about 9 months before the hoof was grown back enough to do some of its job.

If the hooves are going to come off then what your task really is is keeping the tender healing tissues clean. BIg Hint : If the hoof is coming off use the hoof itself as a dressing and cover for as long as you possibly can. Work out some sort of binding and dressing that is quick and cost effective. You can use the sloughing hoof over the end of the bone until granulating tissue grows to big to fit any more. If the hoof comes off you will need to put a soft pad under the bone. In sheep we used neoprene sheets and cut of squares and taped them to the foot with stretchy adhesive bandage. A calf is heavier and thick neoprene, or double thickness should do it.

If the hoof comes off and the bone is exposed and dries out the bone will die. If it dies it might hang around for ages but eventually fall out. If you can keep the blood supply going to the pedal bones while the hoof re-grows you can have a normal foot structure after. There will be a balancing act between the foot getting wet and stinky and wrapped up too long and well padded, and not enough padding, more airflow, drier and less stinky but too much pressure on the bone with no hoof. Ideal is frequent dressing changes and cleans - you will have to work out what frequency that is for you. If you can get a hoof boot, like a horse hoof boot but the size for the calf, that might save you a fortune in bandages and mean fast and cheap dressing changes which would be ideal.

If the pedal bone comes out it does not mean the animal has to die, it just will not be as sound or good an outcome. As another poster said they know of a footless young cow that runs just fine. If her hoof structures are not very good then as she got big and older and heavier there might be a problem and you might want to restrict her nutrition to restrict her weight but that is a long time from now.

Here is a case study of a lost hoof on a horse
http://stepaheadfarm.com/Case151.html

The animal will let you know if it needs to die. You dont have to kill it now because it might be in pain later - you can worry about that later. The question is do you have the time, which you can also find out later.

I am happy to answer more questions - I have to get back to work now.

Again I highly recommend Dr Jolly at Stepahead farms

http://stepaheadfarm.com

What you are really dealing with (trying to prevent) is necrotic avascular bone of the final bone in the leg
http://www.stepaheadfarm.com/AvascularNecroticBone.html

Again I will say you are trying to prevent this bone from dying of damage or drying while the hoof grows back.

Here is our blog I havent put anything on in a year because I have been too busy and stressed

baroonga.wordpress.com
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby Ozhorse » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:21 pm

I just re-read your post. She has had the injury 5 weeks +. That means that if she still has a hoof now she is not that bad. You need to handle her and catch her and halter break her. She might just have a foot abscess on top of the injury. The main reason we put down various sheep in the treatment and healing process was that they got bad foot abscesses consequent. Foot abscesses are very very painful and can cause severe arthritis in the joint. It wont do her any harm to treat her now like she has a foot abscess. If she has a foot abscess get penicillin and or tetracycline into her.

Catch her and carefully examine the foot closely. Clean it well. The swelling makes it seem more like abscess to me. If there is separation at the coronet get the foot strapped up so if the hoof comes off she does not walk it into the dirt.

To me it would seems to be cheaper to look after the foot carefully than fuss with egg harvesting on such a young animal.

Take some photos and post them somewhere and link to them if you cant put them on this site.
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Re: Anyone w/ experience w/ frozen hooves on valuable calves

Postby branguscowgirl » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:57 pm

Ozhorse wrote:I just re-read your post. She has had the injury 5 weeks +. That means that if she still has a hoof now she is not that bad. You need to handle her and catch her and halter break her. She might just have a foot abscess on top of the injury. The main reason we put down various sheep in the treatment and healing process was that they got bad foot abscesses consequent. Foot abscesses are very very painful and can cause severe arthritis in the joint. It wont do her any harm to treat her now like she has a foot abscess. If she has a foot abscess get penicillin and or tetracycline into her.

Catch her and carefully examine the foot closely. Clean it well. The swelling makes it seem more like abscess to me. If there is separation at the coronet get the foot strapped up so if the hoof comes off she does not walk it into the dirt.

To me it would seems to be cheaper to look after the foot carefully than fuss with egg harvesting on such a young animal.

Take some photos and post them somewhere and link to them if you cant put them on this site.

Ozhorse you are very informative! Sounds like you went through a lot with your livestock. It is very sad to hear about the fire and your losses. Thank you for taking the time to post such valuable information. I am sure many people will benefit from your experiences :clap:
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