Journeying in Hell

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10 years 5 months ago #475457 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Journeying in Hell
Well said, Swaggie - so sorry to hear the news, Short Plank. You tried so hard with her, and she was lucky to have been loved and cared for so much.
Mich.

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

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10 years 5 months ago #475479 by Aria
Replied by Aria on topic Journeying in Hell
So sorry - you did good by her - hope everything feels better for you tomorrow.

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10 years 5 months ago #475500 by Short Plank
Replied by Short Plank on topic Journeying in Hell
Thank you all for your sympathies.

Just passing through the self-flaggelation stage now: Should we have made her have that last calf? Should we have persisted with the mineralised salt-blocks in her manger that she ignored until they dissolved? Should we still have been offering her a few nuts with her (best lucern) daily hay while the grass was up to her knees, again for the vitamins and minerals? Should we have been more suspicious and pro-active when she appeared to be recovering from the birth, instead of thinking we had turned the corner? Was it the Te Pari cow sling we kept her in for four days, baking her gut when she lay in the sun and pressing into her intestines perhaps bursting an ulcer causing the internal bleeding?

Questions we will never know the answers to, yet will niggle at us until our own dying day.

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10 years 5 months ago #475515 by Short Plank
Replied by Short Plank on topic Journeying in Hell
And next will come the depression - what kind of fools were we to think we were some kind of a Tom and Barbara Good, able to chuck in our 9-to-5s and catered-for suburbia for a money-poor experience-rich lifestyle in the wop-wops relying on Google, luck and good-intentions to provide lives for our big animals like Chloe as well as the feisty bantams. Sure I know Chloe wouldn't have lived half as long in a herd on a real farm, wouldn't have enjoyed anything like as much contact with her calves as she did with us nor lived anything like as well for even the half-life she would have had, but all I can think of now is that low mooing she gave as she lay helpless on her side not knowing as I did that the end had been reached.

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10 years 5 months ago #475516 by kindajojo
Replied by kindajojo on topic Journeying in Hell
When we stop caring about the animals in our care, then is when we make poor decisions. You cow had the best life with someone who cared and they know, you can double think all your actions from now to eternity, but you can only do the best with the information you had at the time and they we're make from the best of intentions. You have nothing to get depressed about look at all the good things she had.

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10 years 5 months ago #475522 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Journeying in Hell
Short Plank, pretty well all of us on LSB have been where you are at the moment - I know I certainly have - but Kindajojo is absolutely right. You make the best decision based on the information you have, and the situation you're in at the time, and from what you've written you did as much for her as you possibly could. I know you're sad and double-guessing yourself at the moment, but that will pass and the good memories will remain.

As for the Tom and Barbara Good thing - if there was a directory for people like us, there'd be a lot of rellies around the country called "Good". Would you really change this wonderful life you've chosen? Things are often a lot harder for us LSB'ers but what a rich and fulfilling life we lead, yes? And think of all the people who would change places with us in a flash. Vets, Google and LSB are our friends, and just as valid a way of learning as any, I reckon.

Cheers, Mich.

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

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10 years 5 months ago #475528 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Journeying in Hell

Short Plank;478629 wrote: And next will come the depression - what kind of fools were we...

You're really getting out the big guns, aren't you! Shit happens, sometimes it's our fault even if our intentions were good. Some of us never forget that stuff, nor forgive ourselves for it when an animal suffered; but then you try never to make the same mistake again, so that suffering wasn't completely in vain.

Short Plank;478613 wrote: ...Questions we will never know the answers to, yet will niggle at us until our own dying day.

If you're that sort of person, get your head around the possibility of post mortem examinations, so you do get to find out. With a gut bleed, you may have been able to go in and find the source and answer some of those questions for yourself, which might have made you feel better about the eventual outcome, even if not the timing.

I cut open my new-year cow and discovered what ailed her, learnt a great deal, and then we buried her. Once she was under the ground, did it matter that I'd cut her up? I was glad I had, or I'd have been wondering too, whether or not I'd made the right decisions, what had gone wrong, etc. etc.

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10 years 5 months ago #475529 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Journeying in Hell
Please don't beat yourself up about it....it's always a judgement call and it's always hard. You can never know in advance exactly when is the 'right' time if there even is such a thing.

Web Goddess

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10 years 5 months ago #475532 by cowvet
Replied by cowvet on topic Journeying in Hell

Ruth;478642 wrote:
If you're that sort of person, get your head around the possibility of post mortem examinations, so you do get to find out. With a gut bleed, you may have been able to go in and find the source and answer some of those questions for yourself, which might have made you feel better about the eventual outcome, even if not the timing.


I think a case like this the reason for the significant bleeding gut in an adult cow is pretty straight forward....stress with the added increase in risk of using non-steroidal anti-inflams.

Only other time we see usually them is with mycotoxin poisoning but this is also associated with multisystem failure.

In the case of a general gut ulcer/bleed you need to get them off the non-steroidals, minimise stress, coat the gut with a kaolin type product and increase the pH or buffer the gut with some magnesium oxide - then you let nature have a go. In saying this if the cow is depressed, lethargic and pale then the prognosis is poor and euth is the better option.


I love animals...they're delicious

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10 years 5 months ago #475535 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Journeying in Hell
You did your best and you sought help.

Can't do any better than that in my book.

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10 years 5 months ago #475536 by Short Plank
Replied by Short Plank on topic Journeying in Hell
Thanks all. I appreciate the wisdom of your comments. And hey, we've still the calf to look after, and rear by hand now. Fortunately out other housecow Rata is still producing more than enough for all of us, even in the second year of her lactation - tho' this means she's not going to get dried off as early as we'd all intended.

Cowvet - are you saying NSAIDs can cause this bleeding? It was on the recommendation of our vet that we gave her the injection and I saw nothing about the risk of this happening when I Googled it.

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10 years 5 months ago #475546 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Journeying in Hell

Short Plank;478651 wrote: ...Cowvet - are you saying NSAIDs can cause this bleeding? It was on the recommendation of our vet that we gave her the injection and I saw nothing about the risk of this happening when I Googled it.

That's one of the problems with them. When my cow was in awful agony, the vet would give her no more than one shot of pain meds because they'd decided she had a bleeding ulcer or perforation. She didn't. Pain relief just would have made her last days slightly less hellish.

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10 years 5 months ago #475554 by cowvet
Replied by cowvet on topic Journeying in Hell

Short Plank;478651 wrote: Thanks all. I appreciate the wisdom of your comments. And hey, we've still the calf to look after, and rear by hand now. Fortunately out other housecow Rata is still producing more than enough for all of us, even in the second year of her lactation - tho' this means she's not going to get dried off as early as we'd all intended.

Cowvet - are you saying NSAIDs can cause this bleeding? It was on the recommendation of our vet that we gave her the injection and I saw nothing about the risk of this happening when I Googled it.


Non-steroidal anti-inflams are very commonly used in cattle and one of the side effect is the possibility of gastric ulceration and bleeding.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-steroidal_anti-inflammatory_drug

The risk of using these drugs is far outweighed by the benefits of pain relief and anti-inflammatory. I have seen a number of gut bleeds as a result of extended use but I cant recall any of them being terminal.
I would be suspicious of the underlying problems she had given the duration post calving and her inability to get to her feet but able to walk for many hours when you help her up. I would expect a cow like that to respond well.

Are you absolutely sure she did not have a dislocated hip or complicated nerve paralysis? Did a vet examine her at any stage? I have lost count of the cows I have seen that have been nursed and lifted post calving by what I would consider good farmers that have had a dislocated hip on exam. They can be very subtle. Some cows are able to get to their feet and walk, others can't - it depends on the damage internally and in which direction the hip has dislocated.


I love animals...they're delicious

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10 years 5 months ago #475573 by Short Plank
Replied by Short Plank on topic Journeying in Hell
Getting a vet out here is a five-hour round-trip for them - so you can imagine what it would cost even if one would do it which they won't. However we had an extensive email correspondence with pictures and even a video of Chloe.

Five days after calving she could still couldn't rise by herself and for the first three days I had to use a hip-clamp as it was all I had. On her feet she was fine and she would stay up for several hours eating and drinking, but once down she couldn't or wopuldn't get up again. Then I was able to get her into the Te Pari sling, tho' had to keep it on her as I was lifting her two or three times a day - tho' it was clearly much easier on her than the clamp.

Because of her difficulties in rising we suspected a trapped nerve and our vet sent out 10ml Metacam which I administered - and it was perhaps a day later that she began scouring black gunk and went downhill to the point I had to call it a day.

So who knows. Perhaps it was an after-effect the birth, perhaps the initial use of the clamp, perhaps it was the sling which did dig deeply into her midrif when I lifted her, perhaps it was the Metacam, perhaps it was something else entirely different. We'll never know, but the real possibility it was something I did innocently and with the best of intentions that cost Chloe her life and Junior his mother will haunt me for the rest of my life.

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10 years 5 months ago #475579 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Journeying in Hell
I cannot recall how old your cow was. I used to keep ours going for as long as they could produce a calf, and then retire them. Then I homekilled one of the retired pets because she was having a bit of difficulty getting up. When I saw the hip joints, she must have been in absolute agony for a long time, because the joints were so worn. I now homekilll the pets at 12 years old or younger, and even that young some of them have too much wear.
Then there was the pet cow that fell and broke both her hips. Neither we nor the vet could see the breaks, so we kept her going for too long before we got the butcher in to have a look. He showed us where the breaks were.
Fortunately, in both cases, we were able to euthanase without the animals having to go through more pain.
The problem with farming is that pain and death happen. Your responsibility is to provide as much comfort as possible. You have fulfilled that responsibilty.
But, if you cannot handle the emotion of death, then it would be better to consider a different life style sooner rather than later. Lots, as in many, people have not got the psychological requirements, and that is not a weakness of you.

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