Category Archives: Livestock Medical

Cookie has COOTIES!!!! ok… Lice… or Mites….

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged… time seems to skip a few beats when spring is arriving and so much needs done on the farm. One of those things gave me the idea for this blog… Cookie has COOTIES!!!! Actually, she has small bald dots on her face. I noticed it one day about a week ago and thought she was rubbing her cheek on the fence… she does that when she’s shedding really bad and it itches her. Then I noticed some bare patches behind her ear, though I thought still it could be scratching. Yesterday was when I began to suspect bugs… not because I saw bugs or saw eggs… but because she developed small bald dots where bald dots would be hard to get from scratching on a fence…. between her ribs! So, off to the feed store I went in search of Ivomec Eprinex pour on. Yes… we do carry it on the site, but we were waiting on stock to arrive and my girl had BUGS!!! So, I go to Olsen’s and they are out too!!! I know D.E. is the organic way to go… and I have a fifty pound bag… and I get that if applied every day for ten days that it should take care of the little critters… but COOKIE HAD BUGS!!!! (I’m not a big fan of eight legged critters that suck on blood) Needless to say, the lady at the store offers me Ivomec injection which I quickly point out to her explicitly states NOT TO USE ON DAIRY COWS! So I dug through the shelf until I found a powder that was safe for dairy cows and had zero milk withdrawal… main ingredient is D.E.! LOL (D.E. is diatomaceous earth which is a long way of saying ground up coral which is so fine it injures the bugs when ingested.) So, Cookie has been dusted and will be treated with the Ivomec Eprinex when it comes in next week. I’ll take new pictures once I figure out that the bugs are gone and the hair is growing back. Here’s to a less buggy spring!!! Keep your fingers crossed that the bugs are doomed!!

Happy Homesteading!!!

Vitamins for Mastitis??? Really?

We have a customer who has a Jersey cow with a chronic case of mastitis in one quarter. It almost goes away, comes back, fades… but never completely clears up. I offered him the combination that helped Cookie cow over come a bad case of mastitis a couple of years ago… vitamins!!!!

I gave Cookie some vitamin E, vitamin C and then a few multivitamins. I also used Today teat injectible in the infected quarters. Hit it from all sides!!!! From what I’d read, the Vitamin E was the greatest aid, but none of them hurt and quite honestly, I swear by the cocktail of vitamins. I haven’t had any issues with chronic mastitis this year!!!

The dosage depends on the size of the cow, and Cookie is a BIG girl. She’s half Guernsey / half Jersey, so I did 3 times the people dose and dropped a couple of extra vitamin E in for good measure. I am really hoping that our customer’s cow responds equally as well. I remember the frustration of a year with two cows taking turns battling mastitis. Here’s to healthy cows!!!!

Loose Minerals for Livestock

I have been working with the local feed store trying to get loose minerals for Cookie cow and the calf. They’ve both been licking the ground lately and since I know I haven’t dropped molasses there, I figured it was time to fill the loose mineral feeder. (Licking up dirt is a tell tale sign that their bodies are craving minerals)
The feed stores out her don’t carry dairy cow minerals, just goat minerals. From what I’ve read, goats have much higher selenium needs than dairy cows do and an overdose of selenium can stop the heart… so what to do… READ and READ, well at least that’s what I did.
Apparently it takes a very large overdose to hurt your cows and the greater amount in goat minerals is not so much that it will kill you cow. If dairy minerals are available, they are much better suited for your milking girl, but so far Cookie is doing just fine on the goat minerals and thankfully she’s stopped licking the ground!

What do you do when loose minerals aren’t available for your animals needs?

Comments welcome!

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!

Dealing with Mastitis

In addition to being a full time computer geek for a private college and being the technology side of Homesteader’s Supply, I have a small family farm which supplies me and my family with food for the year. Last year, I got my full dose (and more) of dealing with Mastitis in my two Jersey cows. I still don’t know what strain it was… I have a pretty good idea as to the cause and there are a few contributing factors… All I do know is that once it was there… I pretty much had to dry them up and treat them with both herbal and antibiotic remedies to get rid of it… and I’m thankful that this year has been mastits free!!!

“Mastitis is persistent and potentially fatal mammary gland infection, leading to high somatic cell counts and loss of milk production. Mastitis is recognized by a reddening and swelling of the infected quarter of the udder and the presence of whitish clots or pus in the milk. Treatment is possible with long-acting antibiotics but milk from such cows is not marketable until drug residues have left the cow’s system.”

My girls, Cookie Cow and Mustang Sally both ended up with Mastitis last year. Cookie first and after a battle with a bad case of upper respiratory infection, Sally contracted it. Neither of my girls had the redness or too much pain. The flaking in the milk (whitish clots) is what caught my eye. Apparently this is the increased Somatic cell count – because testing with the California Mastitis Test kit revealed the presence of Mastitis. I used the CMT kit and the cards to check on the progress of healing the mastitis. It was NOT an easy task believe me. I lost most of Sally’s lactation to this nasty infection. The best remedy was a product called ‘Mastoblast’ – it’s herbal and doesn’t require giving your girl an injection. It cleared the mastitis up the best, but the mastitis came right back if you stopped using the product after the recommended 10 days. I also injected 30 cc of Penicillin G with Procaine once daily beneath the skin – not into the muscle. I did this to these poor girls for 5 days the first time – then after it reoccurred, I extended the injections to 7 days the second time… after BOTH series of shots the mastitis returned. I also bought the teat infusion products – Masticlear, Today, etc… I tried just treating the infected quarter for the recommended duration and then treated ALL four quarters for the recommended duration. Again the mastitis returned a few days after treatment. Feeling like a failure in beating this – I let the cows dry up and infused yet another teat product into the udder… this one was called Tomorrow and was a long acting antibiotic – not to be milked out. I treated both cows and allowed them to completely dry up.

This year we did experience some flaking after a particulary muddy monsoon season and what worked best was VITAMINS!!! Specifically, vitamin E (1,000 I.U. daily), vitamin C (6,000 mg daily) and a few capsuls of red raspberry leaves. If they had any flaking, this combo with some good ol’ molasses drizzled over their evening meal did the trick. All flaking was gone by the next day! By no means am I suggesting that antibotics don’t work and that testing isn’t needed. Last year could have been a very different strain than this years tiny flaking. I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Tomorrow dry cow treatment again because it did cure last year’s nasty infection. I also wouldn’t be without the CMT kit. I do encourage all dairy cow owners to be clean, clean clean when milking their cows. A few squirts of antibacterial soap on a clean wet cloth for washing, then a clean damp cloth for ‘rinsing’ and yet another for drying. It’s a bit more work than simply wiping off the teats, but this years lack of infections proves to me that clean is best.

Happy milking!!!!

Update on the contracted tendon calf

Last August we has a young heifer born with contracted tendons. She walked on her ankle joints of both front legs. I shared with you a trick my livestock vet talked to me about and wanted to give you an update.

Here is a picture of that same calf just 8 months old. As you can see the trick worked (it actually worked within two weeks, but I’ve been spread a bit thin)… She’s up and walking with no issues and has very strong hooves. So, if you find yourself with a calf who is born with contracted tendons, read the blog post before this one and rest assured that it works GREAT!