Rescue Stories

Helping the cow back to feet

It is common knowledge that a pregnant cow, after giving birth can often easily fall down with milk fever and that is what happened with the cow you see in the picture. It got us scared that the cow has probably gone down with the fatalistic downer syndrome. As you all know, a downer affected cow has very minimal chances of recovery and Grace here had just given birth. We were worried on how the calf will be affected if she were to give into the disease and it was really distressing to think even further. However, we are happy now that both the cow and the calf is healthy.

Want to know what transpired? Read on to know her story to recovery from the milk fever and general sickness after delivery.

Milk fever

It is common knowledge that milk fever is caused owing to the deficiency of calcium. The cow in question, whom we call as Grace, is 7 years old and had just given birth and was down with the infamous milk fever. Of course, the deficiency can be meted out by getting the required calcium through IV fluids but Grace was unable to recover despite that.

The sore muscles resulting from delivery did not help the situation.  She was too weak from the fever and the delivery had left her helpless. It was obvious that her hind legs were unable to support her back, which is the most important function for any cow to stand up. Their hind legs should be able to support their full weight. Unfortunately for her, she was unable to do that.

We were hopeful that it was a temporary weakness and gave her the necessary nutrients and kept her well fed. We ensured that she had the ultimate comfort and she didn’t have to want anything. And the next day we saw her trying to stand which was greatly appreciated. It was good to know that she is putting the required efforts and she was feeding well too.

What did we do?

It is important for a cow that is unable to stand up to keep trying to do the same. If they are not able to do the same, you have to help them to do it with outside help. But we wanted to try other means which included massaging her back and providing her the necessary calcium through IV. We also had a doctor help with treating her back using acupressure so that there is any knot or tension in her muscles is naturally relieved.

The help from her calf

While she had to be given the necessary treatment to stand up, it was also imperative for her to be milked. And this is where the calf really helped the objective by feeding from its mother. The bull calf was growing up healthy alongside her and yet the cow refused to stand and we were not sure on where this is leading to.

The recovery process

Everything was going so well and we were confident that it was mere weakness combined with the milk fever that caused this concern. And right when we were relaxing about her condition we had to again be faced with sad news. It was all going well with Grace cooperating with us and we taking it slow towards her recovery.

However, one fine day, she stopped trying to cooperate and it looked like she was giving up on the recovery completely. It was really disappointing to know that she is giving up after all the treatment and the efforts from all of us. It was devastating for the caretakers who spent days and nights in her care.  Had it been the case in another country, the person wouldn’t think twice about putting the cow down for a cow that cannot stand is considered as a cull cow. But we cannot give up so, can us?

We then had the veterinarian check out the cow for a possibility of the downer syndrome, which often is not easy to recover from for the cows. Thankfully though, that was not the case. It seemed that she was just merely tired from trying so hard to stand up. We couldn’t have felt happier than we felt that day. We knew she will be back to trying soon. All we needed was to give her some time to recuperate and then help her try getting back on her feet again.

The routine continues

We just continued with our routine which was to take care of her, provide her with the food and water and keep her nourished. We also ensured that she fully recovers from the milk fever by providing her with the calcium which is much required. We also made sure that her bedding is changed to provide her more comfort.

The next step was to make her stand using other means which was to lift her back with a tractor so that she stands on her hind legs. The first time wasn’t a success. But we were not ready to give and neither was she. So we tried it every day diligently and patiently waiting for her to find the courage and strength to stand on her feet by herself. And needless to say, our patience was rewarded and how sweet the reward was.

Still remember the day very clearly. It was a clear and sunny day and we were waiting for using the tractor to help her stand on her feet and she was just fed a few minutes back. When the tractor helped her on her legs, the calf drank from her and she stood without much effort. And that is when we knew that we are finally on the road to recovery.

In just a week’s time, she didn’t need our help to stand and soon she was able to walk without much effort from her end. We are truly happy for playing a part in her recovery.


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