Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Torn Cow Teat–What to do?

I should probably warn anyone that has a weak stomach not to look at the pictures that follow. It’s not for the faint of heart. Milly swoons every time she has to deal with anything like this. I’m lucky I can’t really relate to a torn tender bit quite like she can.

Rosebud our family milk cow is due any minute now. I’ve been checking her often over the past few weeks as I’ve expected her to calve two weeks ago. In fact I proclaimed to my less cow knowledgeable brother in law a week and a half ago that I’d be totally surprised if she didn’t calve this weekend…that was a week and a half ago.

What do I know about pregnancy and going into labor?

Here’s a pleasant picture of Rosebud’s rear end. It’s kind of loose and swelling up. The base of her tail is sticking way out as the ligaments have all receded in preparations for the big day.

Cow teat 007

Her udder is pretty big and has swelled to capacity. The teats are extended out like when you blow a rubber glove up and the fingers pop out. Looks pretty painful.

Anyways, I was out Sunday night checking on our expectant mother and found this.

Cow teat 001Cow teat 006Cow teat 005Cow teat 004Cow teat 002Cow teat 011

You can see the underside of the bag has gouges as well.

I almost threw up. Almost cried because I’m a wuss. I did cry when Rosebud kicked me when I tried to get a better look at it. For some reason she doesn’t want me to touch it.

We called the vet to consult about stitching as it looks like it needs something. We called over a friend who is a paramedic and just so happens to have a ton of experience with horses, cows, and pretty much everything else. We hymned and hawed. Said several prayers. Discussed with other knowledgeable cow men about what our best course of action should be.

Here’s what we decided to do. Nothing. Well. Not nothing. We aren’t going to stitch her up. According to a life long dairy man stitching only works about 40% of the time. Another rancher in the area says he’s dealt a lot with cow teat lacerations and he thinks the best is to keep it lathered with salve and let the teat heal on it’s own. The paramedic friend agreed. So I told him if the cow dies it’s his fault. ha.

Oh, we invited over Lucy to look things over as well. Lucy is a natural healer. If anyone gets sick or injured they always turn to Lucy. We figured a cow is an animal just like we are so surely she can work her magic on Rosebud as well.

Lucy recommended about the same as everyone else. Use salve (Lucy makes her own and has shown Milly all the arts of the salve trade) and pray for the best. We make our own salve out of locally found plants. (Yarrow, comfrey, mullein, chickweed, St. John’s wart, etc., etc.) (I say “We” but really Milly does all the work). We apply the salve to everything that ails us and it usually heals amazingly well. We are hoping the famous Lucy Salve works again for Rosebud’s sake.

We were told when Rosebud calves to be gentle on the teat but if we don’t relieve the milk she’ll probably get mastitis. Another cow friend of Milly’s suggested letting the calf try to suck on the teat as sometimes the momma will let a calf drain it when she won’t let anyone grab a hold to milk.

I’d be open to any other suggestions. I’m sure I’ll be reported to the SPCA or the bovine protection agency for the neglect or abuse our cow has been put through. I only posted as I hoped anyone else that has to deal with this type of injury has some guidance.

I’ll try to follow up with the results so you can know if our lack of action worked.

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