Friday, April 20, 2018

Polly is sick

Polly, our remaining purebred Jersey cow, is sick.

Yesterday morning when I went to feed the critters, I noticed Polly wasn't among them. I found her in an adjacent pen, looking miserable. Though she was facing away from me, something seemed unusual about her head.

I entered the pen and was horrified to find her face entirely puffed up, her eyes like slits and her jaw with a huge soft bulge. I ran into the house and placed calls to every large-animal vet in the region, only to find none available.

Meanwhile a man stopped by to visit some neighbors. Luis has something of a local reputation as a "horse whisperer" -- he's magic with equines -- and as it turns out, he's highly experienced with cattle as well. He looked at Polly and said she had a large infection, and recommended we get an antibiotic called LA 200.

We ran a string around Polly's midsection, a method for estimating weight in cattle. By this determination, we guessed she weighs 927 lbs.

I went into town and purchased the antibiotic. Luis promised to come out this morning to show us the best way to administer it.

This morning Polly's swollen face looked better, but she kept hunching over and passing bloody urine. Not good.

At least she's on her feet. A cow off her feet is very seriously ill indeed. But she's off her food, lethargic, and often just stands slumped.

Luis arrived this morning, and I walked Polly into the squeeze chute. LA-200 supposedly stings going in, and I didn't want anyone (bovine or human) getting hurt in the process.

Based on Polly's weight and the recommended dosage, Luis filled the syringe...

...then he injected her intramuscularly in three different places (apparently the medicine is best administered spread around).

Polly jerked a bit, but she's lethargic and didn't fight. I backed her out of the chute without a problem and returned her to the corral.

We'll give her the next few shots ourselves, repeating the dosage for the next couple of days. According to LA-200 information, she should show "marked improvement" in the next 24 to 48 hours.

I don't want to lose Polly so soon after losing Matilda. We'll be watching her like a hawk.


  1. Losing Polly so soon after Matilda would be a tragedy! Here's hoping that the antibiotic works for her. You have undergone enough trauma with your animals for the year.

  2. I definitely would have a vet out. LA 200 is a decent antibiotic and a good one to have on hand in the cupboard. It's something if I remember correctly that has to be given more than one time, but I can't remember the dosage rate OR HOW OFTEN. I have used it in past years, and always have a bottle on hand, but I've been using Excenal and Nuflor for any type of infections mostly with my Alpaca over the last six years. I would make sure that you give her a probiotic paste orally daily and keep watch of her temperature. You can find the paste in large bovine syringe type tubes at the farm store. That will help keep her gut somewhat right, especially if she's not eating. I am not a cattle owner, but they are a ruminant and it's very important to keep their gut with the good stuff in it while they're ill. I feel bad for her and you. It's awful when you can't get someone out to help. It's great that your friend was there to help out and to give the injection. As I tell others, call your vet and at least talk to them and ask questions to get answers if they can't come out. Every situation is different and every animal has different requirements with these medications. They hopefully will give you good advice on how to proceed with the upcoming days of care for her. I'm keeping her and you in my prayers. God bless

  3. Prayers are with you and Polly, God Bless and Good Luck

  4. LA stands for long acting penicillin. You should have picked us some short acting also. Given them both to her. Normally LA is only repeated after 7 to 10 days. Short acting is a live active and gives the infection a fast kill. Nuflor is normally for respitory infection such a pneumonia.

  5. I assume that you ruled out snake-bite

    1. Thankfully we don't have poisonous snakes around here. In theory we have rattlers, but I haven't seen any in 15 years of living here.

      - Patrice

  6. Ask your vet and your friend Luis if maybe an injection of Thiamine would do her good as well. Just saying. I think it would. It's very reasonable to purchase. Keep us posted on Polly.

  7. Poor Polly!! Poor Patrice, actually. Prayers.

  8. Hoping and praying that Polly pulls through!

  9. Doing a search using bovine bloody urine swollen lymph nodes yields which suggests babsiosis which is a tick borne blood parasite. Merck Manual has discussion under blood parasites. I'd call my vet and ask questions on babesiosis treatment. LA200 is not mentioned in treatment but long acting tetracycline is so something like Tylan 200 might be better. I'm sure there are more recent drugs available.

    Pete in Texas

  10. Oh no! Poor Polly! Please keep us posted. Wishing for the best for her.

  11. I woke up that way myself once. Half my face was swollen, eyelid so puffy it wouldn't open, felt like poo. It was a tooth. Antibiotics, pain killers that make me nauseous , dentist visits, I was in agony for a week.

    I feel for the innocent that can't tell us what's wrong, and we can't communicate to them that we're trying to help.

  12. Been there, done this. I agree with Pete from Texas. Feel around her, in her ears and such. Find the infection that is causing this swelling.
    Prayers sent to Polly.
    It will take a while for her to feel better.