We had a cow break into the barn and eat a ton of grain overnight. That’s really, really bad. It normally leads to a condition called “acidosis” which screws up the cow’s digestive system and can cause all kinds of problems–even death. Worst of all, this cow was a pre-bred Jersey 1 week from calving! Fortunately, the trouble gave us the opportunity to learn what to do and now we might be able to help you save some time and money if it ever happens to you.
1. Isolate the cow. Shut her into a field or pen where no other animals are because if she gets diarrhea, things might get messy. You don’t want them in the barn, around other animals, or lost in the woods in the middle of the night.
2. Get an injection of Probiocin ($8 for 60 oz. = 2 doses) into your cow. It comes in a plastic syringe with directions on the side. Set the dosage level and stick it in the side of the cow’s mouth, squirting it onto the back of the cow’s tongue. The cow will eat it pretty easily. If any doesn’t make it in, just wipe it on the cow’s front upper lip and she’ll lick it off. This counters the dangers of acidosis in the cow’s digestive system.
3. Keep an eye on the cow’s manure. If she starts to have diarrhea, you’ll have to take normal measures for such. That means, making sure she’s getting fluids, adding an electrolyte mix to her water tank, and feeding her plain hay.
4. Make a gallon of an alkaline energy drink for your cow to sip. Make it in 2-quart quantities so none gets wasted. To 2 quarts of warm water, add 4 tablespoons of molasses, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt. Shake it up and pour it in a sturdy bowl. The cow may not be interested at first, but if she’s up and around, she’ll eventually slurp it up. If she does, make another batch.
5. If after 24 hours, the cow has a bad case of diarrhea, is laying around a lot just looking miserable and will not drink anything after a while, call the vet. He can get fluids into her and cut of any bigger problems before they develop.
If you’re worried…call the vet.