broken leg

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cowgirl8
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broken leg

Postby cowgirl8 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:18 am

We had a calf we pulled off a heifer that wasn't getting enough to eat and was just about starved. He was weak, but healthy. We worked some cows and put the calf in another pen while we worked them. At some point, the bull that was also in that pen, broke the calf's front leg between the ankle and knee.
Set, splinted and brought that calf back to health... He was using it well with the cast on and i waited for about 3 weeks past that to take the cast off. Duration of cast on was a 1 1/2 month...
How long can i feel safe in letting him out of a pen into the pasture with other calves? He's using it well and amazingly we casted it good enough for it to heal straight.
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Re: broken leg

Postby backhoeboogie » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:17 am

If that bone was stable for 1 1/2 months, you should be good to go. There may be some slight atrophy depending on placement of the cast, but he'll be over that in a few days.

I'd just keep a wary eye on him.
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Re: broken leg

Postby cowgirl8 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:26 am

Thank you. We've had broken bones before but it was long ago and first time casting on a calf. I prepared myself for the smell when I took it off but I really freaked out thinking I left it on too long and it got too tight. But all was well and it did fluff back out after a few days. We had a sheep that broke a leg and he kept re breaking it but that was over 20 years ago but I still ptsd over it. Lol.
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Re: broken leg

Postby cowgirl8 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:55 pm

We spoke to our vet on the best way to cast it.. He gave us a section of PVC. The calf was so starved and basically given up on life after his leg was broken, I felt he needed something that was not so constricting. I really didn't care if it looked perfect, just wanted it to heal and the calf to survive. So, we came up with this. First we wrapped it in vet wrap. Then we got a pool noodle and cut it to fit around his bone from his ankle to his knee. The vet wanted us to cast it to his arm pit, but I felt the calf was too weak and would never even attempt to stand with it on. SO, against our vets suggestion, we just casted it to his knee. First the vet wrap, then once the noodle was on, I cut 2 pieces of wood and put on both sides, and wrapped it again with vet wrap. I watched it for a few days making sure it did not give when or if he put weight on it. He actually never put weight on it for the first couple weeks, but was able to stand and lay down easily and moved around with no trouble. ANywho, it worked out ok. With a more vigorous calf though, up to the arm pit may have been what it would need. But a small 2 month old calf that weighed about 60pounds, just to the knee was ok...
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Re: broken leg

Postby ALACOWMAN » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:09 pm

You been feeding it I assume,, not getting enough calcium in its diet could prolonge are deform the bone growth.. But one good thing is,it's still growing. And heals faster than a older animal..
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Re: broken leg

Postby cowgirl8 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:18 pm

I had to put him on a bottle. Now he's getting precon and fertilized hay. He's eating good. Soon as I know he's healed he'll go out to a Bermuda pasture and I'll keep feeding him. We'll probably eat him on down the line.
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Re: broken leg

Postby backhoeboogie » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:10 pm

cowgirl8 wrote:We spoke to our vet on the best way to cast it.. He gave us a section of PVC. The calf was so starved and basically given up on life after his leg was broken, I felt he needed something that was not so constricting. I really didn't care if it looked perfect, just wanted it to heal and the calf to survive. So, we came up with this. First we wrapped it in vet wrap. Then we got a pool noodle and cut it to fit around his bone from his ankle to his knee. The vet wanted us to cast it to his arm pit, but I felt the calf was too weak and would never even attempt to stand with it on. SO, against our vets suggestion, we just casted it to his knee. First the vet wrap, then once the noodle was on, I cut 2 pieces of wood and put on both sides, and wrapped it again with vet wrap. I watched it for a few days making sure it did not give when or if he put weight on it. He actually never put weight on it for the first couple weeks, but was able to stand and lay down easily and moved around with no trouble. ANywho, it worked out ok. With a more vigorous calf though, up to the arm pit may have been what it would need. But a small 2 month old calf that weighed about 60pounds, just to the knee was ok...


I've done about 6 in my life. None the same. All were youngsters. If you can split PVC pipe on a table saw it works great. The last one I did in thirds versus halves and I just used 2 of the thirds. Gauzed the leg (vet wrap) then paint stick (large) splints, then PVC cover, then duct tape.

I have wide duct tape and splints and pvc in the med box. Only because the cows were 20 miles from the house and you never know what you'll find when you get there. I never thought of a pool noodle.

Other times (much of the time) it is simply a hyper-extended knee and not actually a break. 3 weeks of splint seems to do the trick. You can use the pvc over and over Hopefully you'll never need it again.
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Re: broken leg

Postby wbvs58 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:45 pm

The rule of thumb with casting is to immobilise the joint above and below the break.

Ken
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Re: broken leg

Postby cowgirl8 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:06 am

We've used PVC.. I have several used ones laying around, one big one I use to shut my feed bin because one side is wonky.But keep it for future use if needed, used on a cow years ago.....On this calf though, I felt it would have been too heavy, restricting and he would have just given up. Luckily, how we did it worked. And when we told our vet how we did it, he's considering using pool noodles now. One thing it did is gave the calf room to grow. Since he was starved, he was getting food and was catching up, so he was growing fast. It butted up to his knee joint that helped to mobilize it. I don't think it would have worked on a vigorous calf or a calf that was heavier so I would have taken it up over his knee. This calf also got some sort of respiratory bug that hit him hard. We almost lost him and surely would have if he was kept from getting up, I think that if I had taken it up over his knee, he would have never tried walking. FIL came to the house and asked why we had a newborn calf in the corral...lol...the calf was 2 1/2 months old. I gave his mother every chance to raise him, but got tired of seeing him struggle...bless his heart. He's doing really good and once I feel he's good, he'll go out in the special pasture with my herd of misfits...
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