Calf can't stand up

Barbara Guth

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Hello everyone. I'm hoping someone can tell me something as this situation makes no sense to me. I have an approx ten day old calf, I got him from a family member who doesnt have the time I do to tend to him. Here's what's happening. When they found him (shortly after birth, possibly next day) he wasn't doing well. They attempted to let the momma feed him but she kept knocking him over (he can't balance himself) so they brought him up and began bottle feeding. He was doing fine, eating well, walking around etc. (I didn't believe them until they sent me video of it :/) He began to poop on the porch so they moved him to the barn right next to the house and bam two days later he can't get up at all on his own. On Saturday the 17th I brought him home and began the process of trying to get him back on his feet. He lays on his side because he can't stand up. When I go out and help him sit up I have to use a hay bales for support or he'll fall right over. Once he's sitting up he will attempt to scratch his ear, once he does that his feet pop out from underneath him and back on his side he goes with all four legs stiffened. At first he was barely eating and he couldn't keep his eyes open, and a friend of mine suggested noromycin 300 (all I had on hand, vet was closed) so we gave him a shot. The next day his eyes were wide open and clear and his ears perked up and now he's eating like he's starving. He responds when I walk in the shed to check on him, he's attempting to stand on his own he just can't do it. When I sit him up, he immediately tries to stand but will fall back down. I've had him for a week and I've given him a dose of nursemate (don't know 100 percent he got colostrum), probios, jumpstart pro, and this evening we gave him a shot of multimin90 that I got from the vet (vet couldn't see him today because of several surgeries). Now, at this point I'm afraid to give him anything else for fear of accidentally killing him trying to get him up. So any advice at all that can help get me through the weekend would be most appreciated as I'm taking him to the vet Monday morning to try and figure out what happened and how he went down so fast. My apologies if I rambled or forgot something but I'm very tired, worried and frustrated. PS I can't upload the video but I wish I could so you could see how he was prior to whatever happened to him.
 

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jhm47

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"now he's eating like he's starving." Whatever you do-------DON'T overfeed him. Feed him the recommended amount of whatever milk replacer you're using, and NO MORE! As to not being able to stand, it may be a neurological problem. He could possibly be having seizures when he stiffens his legs out. Could also be some kind of infection. Hope the vet can figure it out. Good luck!
 

babsbag

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I know zero about cattle, but with a goat I would never give only one shot of an antibiotic. Even the long acting ones I give at least three doses 36 hours apart. Isn't giving one shot equivalent of not finishing the entire course of the drug which they suggest that we never do?

I hope he gets better, but I have no help to offer other than maybe whatever the antibiotic treated isn't entirely gone. Just guessing.
 

Barbara Guth

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I know zero about cattle, but with a goat I would never give only one shot of an antibiotic. Even the long acting ones I give at least three doses 36 hours apart. Isn't giving one shot equivalent of not finishing the entire course of the drug which they suggest that we never do?

I hope he gets better, but I have no help to offer other than maybe whatever the antibiotic treated isn't entirely gone. Just guessing.
 

Barbara Guth

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I was actually going to give him another one today but I wanted to call my vet and ask about giving it so close to the multimin and ask if there was something better. All I have on hand is the noromycin and some pen G I bought for my goat a few years back. I've always heard that penG gets old quick and it's not the best antibiotic for animals.
 

babsbag

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Good for calling the vet. I hope that this is all "fixable" I seldom use Pen for anything on my goats other than rumen related problems and delivery complications. Good thing it is cheap as I throw it out long before I use it all.
 

greybeard

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Would you describe this calf's problem as 'staggering'?
When you say it is trying to scratch it's ear, is it doing it with a hoof, rubbing against something or just throwing it's head up and back?

I would suspect tetany if the calf were a little older, but it does happen to calves whose mothers were on pasture with high levels of Potassium in the days/weeks prior to calving as well.
Give your vet all the info you can so he/she can bring whatever may be needed including injectable calcium and magnesium, or what may be needed to do it IV..

Might also be just an inner ear problem, affecting balance or causing dizziness.
 
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Barbara Guth

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Would you describe this calf's problem as 'staggering'?
When you say it is trying to scratch it's ear, is it doing it with a hoof, rubbing against something or just throwing it's head up and back?

I would suspect tetany if the calf were a little older, but it does happen to calves whose mothers were on pasture with high levels of Potassium in the days/weeks prior to calving as well.
Give your vet all the info you can so he/she can bring whatever may be needed including injectable calcium and magnesium, or what may be needed to do it IV..

Might also be just an inner ear problem, affecting balance or causing dizziness.
He tries to reach his foot back and he'll turn his head but he can't balance himself to actually scratch. When we stand him up he will either lean too far forward or too far back, so we stand next to him to help him maintain balance. He will stretch is neck forward as if he's trying to go but he doesn't seem to know how to move his front feet. We will move them for him and he'll bring his back feet forward to catch up but that's it. Something else I didn't think to mention. Whether he's sitting ( I sit him up to get him off his side) or laying he will stretch his head back as far as he possibly can. I'm just baffled. And my vet went awol today. Not sure what that was about but I'll try again. Another thing is. He will let me work his legs while he's laying down and when I sit him up, after I bend his front legs he will immediately try to stand but he can't get up he just falls back down.
 

greybeard

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Get him in a trailer or however you brought him home and be at the vet when they open tomorrow morning.
 
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