Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stuff Happens...

It's interesting...

On most of the blogs that I read...not all, but most (mine included)...we tend to talk about the interesting, good, or fun things that happen, and shy away from the not so good.  I think that's normal...we don't want to talk about what goes wrong. 

I went back and forth on this one, and I must admit...I'm writing about this now that things are looking a bit better for this cow!

On Wednesday morning, as we milked down through the first two rows of cows, Jim suddenly noticed that "Mary" had tramped her one front teat.  Mary was fresh only a few days, and her udder was still swollen and cumbersome.  Apparently as she stood up, her sharp hoof caught on her teat and cut it badly.  This can be a death sentence for a fact it usually is!

We debated on what to do.  Jim milked her out as best he could, and called the vet.  Depending on the cut, the vet can stitch her teat. 

The vet came and took a look at her injury.  The sphincter muscle was intact, but barely. Had it been cut, she would have constantly leaked milk, and would have likely gotten mastitis, which would have given her a very grim prognosis.  (mastitis in a cow with an otherwise healthy udder is a totally different scenario than mastitis in a cow with this type of injury)

They decided that the best route to go was to trim away the damaged tissue and allow the wound to heal, rather than trying to stitch it back together.  The vet numbed her up, Jim held her tail, and I held the light.  (I don't do up close and personal bloody stuff very well, so I was hoping it would go ok, and it did!)  It was actually quite interesting to watch.  He cleaned her damaged teat thoroughly with iodine and alcohol, and got out his sterile tools.  He was pretty slick with that scalpel, and the cow didn't flinch!  

That was the easy part...

Now, we have to be diligent to see that her wound doesn't get infected, and that she doesn't get mastitis.  Jim milks her three good quarters with the milker...

Then he carefully cleans her teat with an alcohol pad...

 And inserts an individually wrapped teat infusion cannula into her teat...

The milk drains into a bucket.  She puts about 2 1/2 quarts of milk into the bucket each time, which we use for feeding calves.  The wound is healing nicely!  That's a scab you can see there.  If it continues to heal, her teat will be shaped a little funny, but that's a small price to pay!

Afterwards, Jim sprays her teat with this barrier spray to keep any dirt out of the wound...

As you can imagine, this can be time consuming and  challengingWhere there are cows, there is dirt and's just a fact of life.  No matter how hard we try, her udder will get dirty, so therein lies the biggest keep that wound clean and free of infection.

So far, we have been very pleased with her progress.  She is a very cooperative animal, and we've seen no signs of infection.  Jim will soon try putting the milker on all four quarters, but not too soon, or it could pull the scab off and we'd be starting over from square one.

We're really hoping that this will be a success story!


  1. How painful. I know how time consuming that stuff can be. One year I had a 4-H steer cut his foot. I soaked it every day. I think he enjoyed it. He healed. I got a red on him, but I remember him better than any other steer.

  2. wow! how interesting!!
    I've not seen this before,here's hoping for a successful heal!

  3. I totally agree with you about that we mostly talk about only the good things on our blog. Anything can happen on a farm and like my son said, "Every day is the same but it's never the same". There is always something that we have to deal with that is not part of the routine.

    You did a great job documenting treating the cow. I'm glad that she is healing well. JB

  4. Makes me kinda glad my boobies are a long way from my feet. least they WERE when I had hungry babies.

  5. I'm so glad everything is turning for the good but this story makes me want to wear one of my *good* bras today! ;)

    Healing Energy your way!

  6. Interesting post, I'm glad she is getting better. Poor Mary, I'll bet that hurt when she stepped on it!! Yikes!!

  7. Oh the poor thing I can see she will be fine because she has people that know what to do. Yes I agree we don't always write about the harder things in farming. Take care B

  8. You know what? It's really good to see others write about EVERYTHING on the farm. I do it too. The last gross thing was showing people how to post a cow with the vet.

  9. Keeping fingers crossed that there won't be an infection. xoxox

  10. So glad to hear she's doing better. It's a lot of work, but I'm sure it will pay off. I think that's how Lily got her mastitis~her udder was in the way while she was pushing to deliver the kids.

  11. Oh, poor girl!

    On another note, I had mastitis as a nursing mother. I know exactly how painful THAT one is!


  12. Great informative post!!! Loved it! We (because of our size) don't use the cannula's. I'm to afraid that they (the boys) will forget to take it out or something else bad would happen.

    Thank and hope you are doing well!!!
    Big hugs


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