Bloat

Cricket

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We're looking for your info/cures on bloat for the Emergencies, Injuries and Cures Index. Thanks!
 

rd200

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Cricket said:
We're looking for your info/cures on bloat for the Emergencies, Injuries and Cures Index. Thanks!
I work with Calves from birth to freshening and MOST of the bloat cases I see in my area are from Clostridium. I believe types C & D are most previlent. When we have a calf that is bloated I give 10CC pennicillin orally IMMEDIATELY when I see they are bloated, or even if their stomach just looks extended slightly. It usuallly takes the bloat off very quickly because it kills the Clostridium bacteria in the gut. It also kills the good bacteria in the gut too, but this is minor given the alternative (death). If clostridium bloat isnt caught right away a calf can be completely healthy running around drinking milk and 3 hours later be deader than dead. We had one like this the other day. She drank milk at Noon, by 3pm she was dead.
Or, sometimes if the pennicillin doesnt work, we put a small milk hose down their throat and sometimes you can finagle it into place where you can get the gas out. But i wouldnt recommend doing this if you dont know what your doing, you could easily scratch or damage their throat.
My Vet clinic has started concocting bags of Lactated Ringers/ and Concentrated Sodium BiCarb together and when given IV it can literally bring a calf back from near death to standing with in minutes. Its the most amazing thing i have ever seen. We had one where the calf was so acidotic and dehydrated that she couldnt even pick her head up, and was flat out and bellering (usually when they are bellering, they are minutes from death) and we got the bag of sodium bicarb/lactated ringers and IV'd it and the calf was picking its head up and trying to stand up before the Bag was even all ran in.
On the other hand, if their body shut down because they were toxic, then you can easily kill them with Sodium Bicarb, But, if they are toxic, they are going to die anyways, so you might as well try. (also works Wonders for bloat. It will go down before you are even done running the bag in. Sorry, got a little off track here.

ETA: Pennicillin is the safest route out of all i explained. It isnt going to hurt them giving it orally if Clostidium isnt the cause of the bloat either.
 

WildRoseBeef

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My experience with bloat is with our stocker steers. In the past we'd have problems with bloat when we had alfalfa in the pasture. The best remedy for this is to tube them with soap detergent like Palmolive or something similar. I'm not sure on the exact solution, but I think we may have mixed one cup of detergent to a gallon of water. Tube with a 1" or 2" diameter thick tube down the esophagus, and down it would go.

Mineral oil works just as good, but for emergencies where there's not enough time to drive to town, the local feed store or the vet's for a gallon jug of mineral oil, dish detergent works great. Other variations could be laundry soap (like Tide in powder form), I've heard those work good too.
 

WildRoseBeef

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Information on Bloat:

There are two types of bloat: free gas and foamy bloat.

Free-gas bloat is caused by either a blockage of the esophagus, irregular diet, or nerve damage or vagal indigestion (where the vagus nerves connect the rumen to the central nervous system can be inhibited) of the reticulo-rumen, often caused either by injury (i.e., hardware disease), or severe respiratory disease.

Foamy-bloat occurs both on pasture and in the feedlot. Pasture bloat is often caused by alfalfa and clover, and also, but less commonly, high-protein or high-quality grasses (particularly those that are in the vegetative stage). Pasture bloat quite often comes up without warning and symptoms come on very quickly. Feedlot bloat is quite often caused by high-concentrate diet like grain, and especially a concern if an animal has over-done it on the grain, or has been suddenly switched to a high-concentrate diet from a roughage diet, or is on a roughage diet but ate too much high-concentrate feed. Grain silage is not attributed to causing bloat. This type of bloat is caused by tiny grain particles or alfalfa/clover chloroplasts that form a slime that trap these tiny particles and form small gas bubbles. Both grain and bloat-inducing legumes are often digested very quickly, providing for bacterial blooms which produce large quantities of gas and slime.


Symptoms that an animal is bloating are:

1. Distended upper left side (moderate to severe is when the skin over the upper left flank cannot be grasped and lifted)
2. Kicking at the belly
3. Little interest in eating
4. Restlessness
5. Mouth-breathing (panting)
6. Tongue distention
7. Staggering

(Note: the last three symptoms are for severe cases, first four are average ones to look for from mild to moderate or worse case)



Treatment varies depending on the severity of the bloat. If an animal has a mild case of bloat, often just getting it up and moving around will help move the contents in the rumen and free the gas that has built up. However, this may not help either. Mild to moderate cases require tubing with mineral oil or some other anti-foaming agent. Such solutions may not be necessary if the animal has free-gas bloat. Simply putting the tube down into the rumen would be enough to help release the gas that has built up. However, with frothy bloat, the froth will quickly build up in the tube and need to be blown out at the other end by the person handling the tubing operation (sounds gross I know). Thus, an anti-foaming agent is a good method of this.

If bloat is severe or such that tubing is not an option, rumenotomy is necessary to quickly release the contents. A trocar with a canula attached is the best instrument to have for this sort of emergency, since it's much less traumatic for the animal. Make an incision into the skin through the abdominal muscles with a sharp knife about 1 cm (~1/2 inch), then place the trocar into the incision so that it punctures the rumen wall. Remove the trocal and leave the canula in place to allow the gas and froth to escape. A piece of wire may be needed to stir the the froth and allow further release

If no trocar and cannula can be had, then a sharp knife will be needed to release the gas in the rumen. A quick incision into the skin 6 to 12 cm (4 to 6 inches) over the midpoint of the left flank needs to be made, continuing through the abdominal wall to the rumen. Expect an explosive release of gas when this happens. The vet will have to be brought out right away to clean up the wound and sew it up properly to prevent peritonitis.



Prevention:

Most common bloat is on pasture. To prevent pasture bloat, you can do several things:

1. Do not put the animals out on it when they're hungry.
2. Do not allow access to the pasture when alfalfa is in an immature stage
3. Do not allow access to the pasture during early mornings or right after a rain
4. Allow full access to hay when they're out on pasture. Moderate to poor quality hay or straw is great for this.
5. Have them have access to a bloat-prevention block
6. Implement a grass mix in with the alfalfa and clover

With grain, it's best to introduce the ration slowly.



For more information, please see this website:

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex6769
 
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