Can My Cow Colic???

Good evening all… forgive any typo’s this evening… my day started at 4:30 a.m. and it’s now after 8:00 p.m. and I’m just getting to sit down. Normally I’d be in two hours earlier but my sweet Cookie cow had the bovine version of colic. Notice in the photo how the left side of the cow is very rounded and arching, while the right is short ribs and sunken in as normal. The left is full of foam and is trapped on top of rumen that is too dry to move as it should. You see, our daytime temperatures recently went from the mid to high eighties down to forties in a matter of twenty four hours. Sometimes, when the temps swing so fast like that Cookie cow forgets to drink enough water and her rumen becomes like biscuit dough. It should slosh when pushed into and Cookie’s left side was definitely not sloshing! Normally, as the rumen works the gas forms a bubble and the cows belch, with a dry rumen, the gas becomes foam and gets trapped. If left uncared for it can compress the lungs and actually suffocate the animal. I called Dr. Lane, my favorite livestock vet. He was on another emergency call and explained that it would likely be a few hours before he could get here. So, I had two choices. I could go get mineral oil and make a drench or I could wait for him and hope Cookie could make it… Well, you guessed right… I went to the store! I bought a gallon worth of mineral oil, some molasses and once home, pulled the Epsom salt from the livestock cupboard. From this I made a drench of sorts. I used warm water, about a quart, added a quart and a half of mineral oil and a half quart of molasses. Once all of the liquids are blended, I add two tablespoons of Epsom salt for the Magnesium which helps her rumen balance again. I make it this way, because if Cookie has any interest at all in food, I can at times get her to gobble up the mixture on her own, but this evening wasn’t one of those times. She had NO interest in food.

I don’t have pictures of the next part because I can’t hold a cow’s head, grab her tongue and pull it out of the side of her mouth, AND pour the mixture into her mouth all the while taking photos.. HA! I pour a cup or so at a time and release her head / tongue so she can swallow, breath, cough… you have to be VERY careful not to get the mixture in her lungs and without the tube it’s a best effort situation. I pour small amounts and allow her to swallow it on her own. She HATES the process but by the time I had half of the mixture into her belly, she began belching! MUSIC TO MY EARS!!!! I massaged the left side (the rumen side) and got the oil to mix with the foam, creating a bubble that she could burp out. After a half an hour she was sunken in again like a Jersey / Guernsey cow should be and was ready for dinner! Seeing her head in the red bucket made me a very happy cow momma! I hope this helps those of you with bovine, goat, sheep… any rumen bellied animal. Some are prone to this issue, others go a lifetime and never have any problems at all. I hope your critter is the latter.

Happy Homesteading!

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