Country Living Series

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Injuries on the homestead

Life is never dull around here. Suddenly we have a blooming crop of injured animals.

Ruby (one of our herd matrons and Victoria's mama) slipped on a wet board and sprained her right front leg or ankle. She's been limping for a week.

(Notice how her weight is on her left front leg.)

JJ, one of our barn cats, was attacked either by a coyote or another feral cat. (JJ is a formerly feral cat.) He got his leg ripped open something terrible.

This cat -- cripped in one paw and blind in one eye when he adopted us -- is a tough old guy and is recovering nicely despite the dire appearance of the wound.

Worst of all, Pearly (Matilda's oldest calf with us) sliced open her ankle on a piece of sheet metal. The wound is serious. She's been on three legs for several days now. Most of the time cows can recover from awful-looking injuries quite well, and at first the wound didn't look terribly bad. Bloody, yes, but not serious.

(Slice is on bottom of right leg.)

A bleeding wound is actually a good thing in a way (as long as it's not bleeding too heavily), as it helps keep the wound clean.

We've been keeping her in the barn so she doesn't get mud in the wound.

But after several days of little change in Pearly's leg (except it stopped bleeding, of course), we're starting to get concerned. There's no swelling or apparent infection, but she's not putting much of any weight on the leg. We're wondering if the cut went deeper than we thought.

Thoughts of putting her in the freezer have crossed our minds...

At any rate we'll be calling the vet tomorrow.


  1. here in n.e. mississippi, we have quite a population of coyotes..but rarely are our animals hurt by them. possums are bad for attacking small animals like cats. and raccoons are bad too especially when protecting their young. the worse enemy going around here is the wannabe hunter...they shoot their guns with little regard about what may be unseen but so close..we have had many cows killed by stray bullets. during hunting seasons we actually wear something orange when outside with the hope that we will be seen. when my dogs want inside the house is usually when they hear gunshots. it is heartbreaking when our farm animals get hurt...and terribly expensive too.

  2. Thank you for an entertaining blog. I found it a couple weeks ago and check it most every day, the only site I do excepting news sites. I am a father of 4 in SCarolina. Ive been prepping for a few years. Ive started adding animals this last year. Hope your animals injuries heal well, or at least turn out for the best (if a freezer is in the works :0)
    I envy your families working together in all things. I enjoy all your posts, keep up the good work. Thanks again for the good read.

  3. We've had our share of wounded critters to contend with over the years too. I don't know about cows, but horses are downright talented on finding ways to injure themselves. We always did our best to make sure fences were tight and hazardous objects were stored well out of reach ...but they're just talented. We're very proactive on treating wounds immediately and aggressively though. Antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, but flushing with cold water ten or fifteen minutes, once or twice a day really helps in healing a deep laceration from the inside out. Love a product called Wonder Dust too. I think it has sulfur in it, but it comes in a condiment size squeeze bottle with a nozzle tip ...just point and squeeze to coat an open wound. Protects against infection and proud flesh. A thick paste of sugar and betadine is an old cavalry wound treatment that works incredibly well and really minimizes scarring. DMSO (wear gloves!) is wonderful for swelling and tenderness, especially on a joint. It will feel warm to your hands, even through thick gloves so I bet it is soothing to the critter. The chemical draws fluid which reduces the swelling and stiffness. It comes in liquid and a gel form. I like the liquid for something like a swollen knee ...the gel if I'm going to make a compress and bandage a wound.

    Your cat's wound looks like it's healing. I hope they all heal well and the vet expense is minimal for you.

  4. JJ's injury looks like a cat bite abcess that ruptured out. If he will let you, make sure it stays open and draining using warm water and peroxide.
    On Pearly, if we had a cut like that, we would be lame for days, too. If she will let you, look at it for depth, if it is not too deep, and she will cooperate, try soaking it in warm water with peroxide and epsom salts. If her hoof is really dirty, you may have to change the water a couple of times. For topical treatments after soaking, I like Tea-Pro spray. It is for horses but it is all natural stuff like myrh, calendula, tea tree oil, and other herbals. No alcohol and no sting, but it is not cheap. We have even used it on ourselves. This is what I would try first. The soaking and spray would be twice a day for a couple of days, then once a day. There is also another thing called Equaid that is a bentonite mixture that prevents proud flesh and infection. I have used it on several nasty horse wounds and they healed beautifully. One with no suturing (which is what a vet would insist was needed) and the other, after the sutures dehisced and the wound opened up again. Equaid is only available online from the company that makes it as far as I know.
    Just my 2 cents. I was an RVT for 14 years before becoming a full time, stay-at-home mom in 2000 so I do a lot myself. I also have moved away from mainstream medicine since then (both human and animal). Don't get me wrong, if I need to call the vet or physician, I will, but there is a lot you can do on your own. Although, cattle can be a bit tough because they do not cooperate as well as other animals. My milk cow did like her foot being soaked though when she had an abcess when I bought her. Yeah, I know, I bought a lame cow, who has horrible feet but she is a good milker and is happy. I should know better.
    Anyway, good luck with all the injuries whatever you do.

  5. Save the Canning JarsApril 21, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    God bless your animals! Praying for complete healing!

  6. I kind of wonder, also, if JJ might have burst open an abcess. Abcesses are almost undetectable until they pop. Fighting cats tend to bite each other in that area or on a shoulder and their mouths are always full of bacteria.

    A raccoon, on the other hand....they go for the throat.

    One of my beloved barn/house kitties had his throat ripped open by a raccoon. It was hideous and I shrieked when I found it. I had just called him in and picked him up for a snuggle. My hand felt the bloody, knotted mess before I saw it. I couldn't get to the vet fast enough.

    He survived, and he's fine now, because of good vet care.

    I feel bad for the other great creatures in your kingdom. Poor babies. I take it to heart when animals are hurt.

    I don't eat red meat, so I'll likely skip the post about the full freezer if it comes to that....

    Just Me

  7. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)April 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    I know how it is when something happens to one of our animals. My very favorite chicken (Snowball) is pulling all her feathers out one by one. Her entire back and rear is bald and I mean bald! She has no mites, ticks, fleas, lice or any other "bug" on her. She eats and drinks well and still loves to be petted. So I am just putting ointment and bag balm on her.She is only a year old - I raised her from a chick. She layed her first egg at four months, but hasn't layed any since the fall. She is more like a pet, so I don't count on her eggs. The rest of my hens are just fine and have layed every day even through this horribly cold, bitter winter.
    I realize Snowball is nothing compaired to the investment you have in Pearly, but the concern is the same - we love and care about our animals.