A life's lesson, as taught by a cow

Submitted by Ron on 11/13/04 at 12:13 AM. ( )

This may be a little long but worth the read if you are an animal lover.
About three weeks ago our brown swiss cow Petituna (pronounced petty tuna...don't ask) a family pet, had a calf, but failed to clean out properly, and came down with a terrible infection. It took four days for the vet to get back with me but by then she had gone down. For the past seven days I have done everything humanely possible to keep that cow alive.
We would cover her with hay and blankets day and night to keep her warm because her body temperature had dropped terribly. I shot her up with vitamins, and anti-biotics that a non-veternarian is not even supposed to posses...(I have connection on the inside.) I filled her full of pears and mollasses to keep her blood sugar up. She never did stop eating which is what gave me hope.
Often she would roll over on her side at which point she seamed to lose conciousness and would have very labored breathing. Sometimes three or four times an hour I would have to go and pull her back over on her stomach to get her to come too. At least three times I actually thought she was dead only to see a faint sign of life at which point we would push and slapp her around till she revived.
Even through all of this though she never stoped trying to get up. Every few minutes she would try but she was just too weak. it was terrible to watch. I have lost cows and horses before, but I have never seen an animal struggle this hard to survive.

Finally about three night ago I couldn't take it any more and decided to shoot her and just end it. She must have known, for when I walked out there she made one valiant effort and made it to her feet. I couldn't believe it, I thought she was getting better, but the next day she was down again and even worse.
Last night was the worst night. She kept getting tangled in the fence in all her thrashing about. It had been coming a cold rain for two days now, and she was laying in a spot that holds run off and slowly sliding her way towards a ditch that I knew we could never get her out of if she rolled into it. She was also giving off that deep gurgling sound cows do when they get pneumonia, which is a death sentence to livestock that cant get up. I used a come-a-long and tried wenching her into a safe dry position to no avail till I was physicaly exhausted. Finally I gave up. I'd done everything I could do up to that point...except pray. It was worth a shot. And so I did, with little faith.

I called a friend with a back hoe to come and bury her an hoped she would die on her own before morning so I wouldn't have to shoot her. I just didn't have the emotional strength to do it that night.
Well when I got up this morning there she was, in that ditch dead. She was bloated with her legs extended like she had been dead for three days. Her body had acted like a dam in that small ditch and caused the water to build up and was now running over her. Only part of her head was not under water. Then I saw her twitch. She was still alive but barely. She had bloated because she was laying in such a bad position that her insides could not work properly. I tried to pull her head out of the water but couldn't. One of her nostrils was sucking in and blowing out water. She was literally one inch from drowning, but still trying to keep her head up out of the water. I have never seen a sadder sight. I went to house for the gun.

My wife and kids all understood what needed to be done, but my wife wanted to try to pull her out, but I said there is just no way to get a rope under her, besides she'll never survive now. She agreed.
I walked back to her and noticed somethin in the mud I hadn't seen. The rope I used the night before was still tangle under her.

Damn it! I thought, For seven damn days I've watched you struggle for life and you have never given up, and By God I'm not either. You may die but you are going to die with more dignity than this. I got one of the boys to hold her head up out of the water while I tied the rope as best I could around her arm pits. She was now in a place where we could get the suburban close enough to tie to her. We hooked her up and I thought we would either pull her in half or pull her out. This was it.

Well, we got her out and pulled her right into the yard. The only semi dry place around. For A while I could not tell if she was dead or alive. We rolled her unto her stomach and she started belching off the gas, so I didn't have to knife her rumen, and in a few moments was able to hold her head up. A little while after that she actually ate some of her pears, and then some feed. We left her there covered with blankets not really expecting much as her whole body was cold to the touch and shaking. About three hours latter my wife comes running in my shop saying "She's up" She's up". And as of right now she is still up, and doing fine and loving on her calf, which she also never stopped doing through out the whole ordeal. She has some terrible cuts and gashes that in and of themselves are going to be a serious problem but she is alive and just as pushy as ever.

I have never seen anything like this. If you have dealt much with livestock you know they usaully can't take this much stess when they are sick. Most come to that point where they quit struggling, they just give up. Petituna never stoped trying. Being stuck nearly upside down in a ditch with cold water pouring over them all night would kill most healthy cows.

Anyway, just thought I'd share this little story with you guys and gals as I know some of you love animals as I do. It's been a great lesson for my kids as well as for me....
When you have down everything you can possibly do, do just a little more; and NEVER EVER GIVE UP! And don't wait till the last minute to pray either. Thats what our father is there for.

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Antibiotics are legal

This response submitted by John C on 11/13/04 at 12:52 AM. ( )

crap I buy them in a 100Ml bottle for $6.95. Almost anything to do with animals, except narcotics is legal.

You should have your butt kicked for not calling the vet. when she did not birth the placenta!

I have foun dout the long lasting Penicillin does not work as good as regular!

The first thing

This response submitted by M.T. on 11/13/04 at 4:51 AM. ( )

that you should do is pray, not the last!

Very good story

This response submitted by Mr. T on 11/13/04 at 9:11 AM. ( )

A rare pet indeed! Thanks for story Ron, I loved it.

Glad it worked out for you.

This response submitted by Todd B on 11/13/04 at 9:12 AM. ( )

I know all about loving a pet. It is a hard thing to lose one. Hope she stays healthy.

Hey John C you dumb ass

This response submitted by Ron on 11/13/04 at 7:05 PM. ( )

She did birth the placenta and when I examined it, it looked normal.
And all I can tell you is I was given strick orders not to tell the vet where I got this particular anti-biotic, and it was a hell of a lot more that 6 bucks. Also said on the bottle to only be used by a vet and to where gloves when using it but I am no Doctor.

MT, isn't that what I said in my last sentence.

fudge you people are hard to please.


This response submitted by Paul I on 11/13/04 at 7:18 PM. ( paulblastoatyahoo.com )

Thanks Ron I never gave cows that much credit.Thats what makes this site so great.I have learned alot on here from storys like that.

Sorry Ron

This response submitted by M.T. on 11/13/04 at 8:41 PM. ( )

It was very early this morning, my BAD.

just a thought or two

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 11/13/04 at 11:06 PM. ( )

One of the guys said to pray FIRST next time, he wasnt hard to please, just very accurate. Im glad she pulled thru for you. Have you ever gone in after the "left-overs" after a birth? Heck Ive already done this with deer. Its a wonder you can get in there, but you can. Another thing is to always keep her restricted so she stays sterno recumbent...on her belly squared up, so she doesnt bloat, or off the one side where her heart pumps harder, her rumen blocks, and she can get those lungs filled with fluid. One last thing, a needle and syringe without the plunger is an easier way to release the air in the rumen if you gotta do it. Its a bit less evasive and the hole is smaller and closes right away.

Again, glad to hear all is well. Hey hows the calf?

Good For you

This response submitted by Kim Collins on 11/13/04 at 11:18 PM. ( ynedkcollins5@netzero.com )

you said

"It took four days for the vet to get back with me but by then she had gone down."

I would find a NEW vet. I work at the University of Georgia Vet. school large animal department under 8 vets. and a class full of up and coming vets. and if we worked like that we would lose our jobs! Livestock have great hearts and are always amazing to me I have seen alot either at work or on our farm.

I am happy for you and your family she is doing better but do keep an eye on her and always use meds by the directions (as I am sure you are).

Good Luck,
Bubba's Taxidermy

Yes bill

This response submitted by Ron on 11/13/04 at 11:59 PM. ( )

WE hand cleaned her as best we could. We also tried to put those huge pills up there but she was so (whats the opposit of dialated) that we just couldn't do it.
The calf is fine . It never stopped nursing even when she was down. Cow is fine too. Just as pushy as ever. She milked like crazy today too. I was afraid she had ruined her utter with those huge gashes. We have to dump it for a few weeks though. This cow can give up to eight gallons a day.

Kim, you are right I am looking for a new vet. This really peed me off as I was not asking him to come out. Just tell me what medications I needed. I can do the work myself.

Anyway, don't get hung up on the technical stuff here people. My point in telling the story was not about cows, technic, medicines or my knowledge, or lack there of, of animal husbandry, but too say that no matter what you are doing in life, never ever give up as long as there is hope, and yes sometimes we may need help from above.

Good story Ron

This response submitted by Becky P on 11/14/04 at 8:31 AM. ( )

although I would have been finding a new vet in a matter of hours. That one should have his license revoked. But I do understand WHY you told the story. Thanks, BP.

Speaking of vets

This response submitted by Evelyn on 11/14/04 at 10:29 AM. ( )

A friend of ours had a colt that all the sudden went down and wouldn't get up. We didn't know what was wrong. He ran no fever, gurgling in the stomach, no watery eyes or discharge anywhere. We figured maybe a back injury from slipping in the mud.

Vet comes over and says horse needs to go to the special horse clinic in Elgin. So our freind takes the colt there (mind you this is a high dollar colt worth around $10,000). The vets at the clinic won't even let my friend unload the horse. They say it needs to be put down since it can't stand up by itself.

So our friend drives back home and low and behold the horse stands up in the trailer and then goes back down again. So he calls his other regular vet and brings him over to her place. She thinks it is West Nile and they start him on the medication even though he had gotten his shots.

Well to make a long story short. It turns out the colt has a back injury afterall and will need surgery. The very same surgery that the Elgin Horse Clinic is so reowned for (and they wouldn't even look at the colt). Now how ironic is that? Needless to say my friend is so pissed off at them he can't see straight. I think he ought get some reeinbursement from them (at least for the value of the horse or get a free surgery).

Ron I am so glad your cow made it and that you didn't give up on her.

Thanks Evelyn

This response submitted by Ron on 11/14/04 at 6:55 PM. ( )

I think many vets get burned out and just don't care. Or they have made so much money allready they really don't need the work. They could at least call you back and tell you to go to hell, so you wont be waiting on them though.


This response submitted by Bill Yox on 11/15/04 at 12:08 AM. ( )

Let me tell YOU a story...
When we hear of a good story like that, that someone like you would take the time to share, we are grateful. So much so, we sometimes feel the need to be a little part of it, so to speak. Thus the helpful (in OUR minds) words of wisdom. I for one, wasnt thinking you didnt know any better, just offering what little I knew, to be...a small part of your story...

hey Bill

This response submitted by Ron on 11/15/04 at 11:17 PM. ( )

No problem at all from you. But some people just rub me the wrong way if you know what I mean. But that is because I too can be an arse at times so I pick up on it real qwuick. LOL

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