cows in field

Recent ODairy Discussions - July, 2023

By Liz Bawden, NODPA Board Co-President

A first-calf heifer was unable to calve normally due to a twisted uterus. One farmer said she had good success with the following technique: “You have to figure out if the uterine twist is clockwise or counterclockwise and roll her the opposite way, of course. But you need a 12-14-foot-long plank, wide enough to walk on, because the idea is to pin the fetus and have the uterus rotate around it. So, lay her down on the appropriate side, put the plank on the widest part of her flank, and walk it, as your helpers roll her over.” A vet suggested you accomplish the same thing with a helper sitting on the cow as she was rolled. He recommended that time is critical; if you can’t figure it out quickly, get the vet out immediately.

A farmer was fairly certain that a cow had cystic ovaries. Calved back in the spring, she was now exhibiting heat behaviors once a week. A vet offered the following suggestions: “I have had success with low potency Folliculinum, say 6X or 6C. Give 1-2 times daily for 5 days and follow with Nat sur 1-2 times daily for 3 days. Alternatively, give 5ml vitamin B12 with a 20 gauge 1” needle at acupuncture points BL-22,23, 24, 25, 26 one time. Alternatively, use Heat Seek orally once daily for 6-9 days. Could also get a vet in and try to rupture as those kinds of cysts tend to rupture easily on palpation.”

There was a discussion about the merits and consequences of pre-milking after a producer described a close-up cow with a large, leaking udder. The farmer wanted to relieve some of the pressure to make the cow more comfortable. A vet replied that the “big negative in this situation is that the colostrum quality will be compromised! So make sure you have frozen colostrum for when the calf is born.” And another farmer shared that they routinely milk pre-fresh cow that begin to leak without an issue in calf health. Another farmer routinely tests colostrum; Brix readings should be between 20 – 30. Older cows tend to be higher, and heifers can vary widely.

The cows in this small herd were experiencing abortions around the 5–6-month time frame. The farmer asked if she should immediately assume the cause is “Lepto” (Leptospirosis) and vaccinate the whole herd. A vet replied that while Lepto is a real possibility, there are a number of other possible causes, and she should work with her vet to rule out other diseases that can cause abortion. And “if you do choose to vaccinate for Lepto, remember that the serogroups we are seeing in the field may not be the serogroups that are in the vaccine”. Another vet shared that there was an “impressive” study done in Cuba comparing Homeopathic Lepto nosodes with standard vaccines and found them to be as effective if not more than vaccination.