Calf Holds Tail Up : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have a 2 month old calf. She was weaned for 2 weeks before I bought her. She was fine when I brought her home. I have kept her in the barn for about 4 days to let her settle down. I have fed her grain and hay. I have kept plenty of water and made sure the barn has stayed clean. When I put her out in the pasture today. She will not eat. Her stomach seems a little too big and she holds her tail up. She also lays down a lot. Yesterday she seemed to be fine eating good and drinking plenty of water. Could this be a case of Bloat?? Thanks for any advice.

-- Jeff (, February 09, 2002


It's possible. The rumen is most visible on the left side. In the triangle area between her last ribs, her hip bone, and her upper thigh where her abdomen is unprotected, this is where you can really see what the rumen is doing. If she is bloated it will be bulging slightly and feel distended and tight like a balloon when you put your hand there. (Unlike if she were full of hay when it would feel more mushy and not rebound so quickly when you remove your hand) Watch her closely and see how she does. If it doesn't resolve itself in a day, it's a case for the vet. Young calves don't normally bloat, so it's possible she may have twisted her stomach (the true stomach, not the rumen) some how. They can do this if they drink a lot of liquid and then do some jumping or rolling by accident. The stomach can roll inside when this happens. It's rare, but I've seen it happen. Good luck with her. I hope it's a case of mild indigestion and goes away on its own.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, February 09, 2002.

What Jennifer said but I wouldn't wait a day. If she's distended as described, I'd get some bloat aid. guard, prep, (fill in the name for what you can get) into it ASAP. Nothing like Bloat aid around? Get some (3 or 4 cups) veggie oil into it. Vit. B shot wouldn't hurt either. Now I've seen calves lambs etc. hold thier tail up for no particular reason too, get them into the yard and walk/run them about. If they'll play I doubt much is wrong. I would never put you off calling a vet, it might be costly but if you ask enough questions it's a cheap education.

-- Ross (, February 09, 2002.

You might look at the 25 July 2001 Calf Bloat posting in Countryside archives (at the bottom of the forum page) and how to treat using Therabloat and Banamine. Also found this general information posting/link: Dr. White Cornell Vet, The other day we saw a 5-month-old female Holstein calf that had bloated the previous day. Calves are usually weaned at 1-2 months of age (their rumen is working by then), so this one had been eating calf-starter grain and hay. The person taking care of the calf had put a needle into the left paralumbar fossa at that time and removed gas from the rumen, which had returned the calf to normal. The calf had done the same thing 1 week previously, and the owner indicated it had also happened before that although the dates were vague. We did a complete physical examination and the calf appeared to be normal when we examined it.

Calves up to about 6 months of age can develop a syndrome of recurring bloat for which no cause can be determined. This problem is fairly common. The recurrences can become frequent, or bloat can happen a couple of times then stop. While there are many causes of bloat, there are two big categories that you should know, 'free gas' and 'frothy'. In free gas bloat you can put a stomach tube or needle into the rumen and the gas will flow off. In frothy bloat the gas is trapped in bubbles in the rumen and gas does not initially come off when the animal is tubed, you need to put an agent such as poloxalene into the rumen to break down the froth, after which the gas can be removed. (A tip- in adults with frothy bloat it takes quite a while for the gas bubbles to break down. When treating an animal with frothy bloat give the bloat treatment then remove as much gas as you can. You will not be able to remove it all and might be tempted to spend hours trying to get the bloat completely removed by stomach tube; don't do that. You need not be afraid to leave the animal a little bloated, the bloat will come down over time after you leave the farm).

-- BC (, February 09, 2002.

We see this problem a lot in recently weaned calves. For some reason their rumen gets a bit muddled up and gas builds up. In most cases they show rapid onset of colic symptoms similar to a twisted gut but most of the gas distension is free gas in the rumen. I usually just stomach tube them - miraculous cure!!!! Only the occassional one reoffends. If you are not sure what you are dealing with then I suggest a vet visit. If surgery is required for a git twist, and is an option for you then the sooner it is done the better.

-- Cowvet (, February 09, 2002.

Many years ago my Dad raised cattle and one batch of calves were having a lot of problems with bloat. 3or 4 every day were getting it and it was quite an expense to get a vet to come out. One day the vet's assistant came and told us how to stop the problem. 2 tablespoons of kerosene in a coke bottle full of milk. Mind you Coke came in 8 ounce bottles then. You have to force it down them but presto the bloat is gone. Its easier on the calf than an incesion. These calves were on shelled corn with hay and pasture. Shelled corn will cause bloat quicker than ground shelled corn and the best (if available) is ground ear corn. The cob in this keeps them from gorging on too much protein. Starting out you must limit protein intake.

-- Dave (, February 09, 2002.

I first noticed it Saturday Morning. That day I made sure she did not lie down for very long. We kept her on her feet as much as possible and walked her around through out the day. We walked her and tried not to get her too excited we did not want her stressed out on top of having other problems. She only ate very little on Saturday and in this case I thought that might be a good thing. I was not going to do anything drastic until the next day if she was still bloated. Sunday morning I checked her and her stomach was much smaller. She ate a little more that day and seemed to be feeling better so I just kept an eye on her and didn't bother her. This morning (Monday) I checked and she is her old self again. I guess the biggest help has keeping her moving. I have a small enough place that I can keep a close eye on the animals. Thank all of you for your quick responses and great advice. I only hope I can return the favor one day and hope what I went through may help someone else with the same problem. Thanks, Jeff

-- Jeff (, February 11, 2002.

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