An interesting couple of days on and off the farm, part 1

Yesterday started about day break which isn’t atypical on a farm. It was the day of the big move when all of our cows go to our neighbors to graze his grass for a few weeks. Last time we had a few uh ohs so this time we were going to do things smoothly. I started early and got everything ready. Actually I started the day before because we had a cow who became bloated and I had to treat him quickly before he died. Of course he didn’t want to go into the barn yard by himself but eventually I was able to get him in. By this time it was about 98 degrees and we were both in the sun. Once in the head gate I was able to administer a catheter I was lucky enough to have on hand (Thanks Erin!) and we started relieving pressure from this cows rumen which would allow him to breath and to stop hurting.

A catheter inserted into the cows rumen
A catheter inserted into the cows rumen

Because we are basically letting air out of a basketball, I inserted the needle into another area to double the amount of air being released.

White cow in a headgate
Our patient, none to happy

As the air was bleeding off, I went around front to document who we were working on. It wasn’t really difficult since this is Vanilla, the one white cow we have. He arrived with the rest of the stockers we bought this winter and was purchased on a whim because he was an all white Charolais/Angus cross and I figured “Eh, he’s cool looking why not?” So much for that. As I’m checking out the cow who is reasonably calm at this point, I note that he seemed to buck and jump only when I’m in front of him in the head gate. Odd. This becomes important later.

Sweat dripping off of me, I decide to call the vet and make sure I’m doing all the right things. Pressure relieved, 60 CCs of DSS surfactant into the rumen, no more food tonight, water if he’ll take it. All those things. The vet says yeah sure, you are probably ok but no promises. Great. I have to leave, in fact SWMBO has already called and there is nobody else on the farm. What if this guy bloats again while I’m gone. It can happen very quickly and he can die in an hour with the heat we are having. I’m deciding whether to put in a trocar and finally to be safe I decide it’s the best thing to do. A trocar means he’s had minor surgery so he’s not sellable in the short term, but it also means he’s not dead, which also makes him very not sellable. More goodies from the doctor bag and viola! One trocar inserted. He was remarkably calm during the procedure, kind of like he knew he’d revisit this topic later. Whatever, it’s all good.

Tracer placed in the rumen of the cow.
Tracer placed in the rumen of the cow.

There is a little bit of bleeding but not much. Some wound spray to help keep the flies off and a ¬†few more minutes of monitoring and he’s ready to let out of the head gate. Unfortunately that doesn’t go as planned. Continued in part two….

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