View Full Version : coughing cow

01-26-2009, 03:23 PM
our Blacky, a Dexter cow, had been coughing for a few days, but she ate good, just was not her onery self.. anyway, last night she disappeared. we were really worried. It took us all morning to find her. In a thicket farthest from the barn, with a two month premature, dead calf. she is over there now, we figured to let her grieve by herself a little while and husband will go over and bring the calf home, hoping she will follow behind. I am wondering if the coughing could have induced labor. I have no idea what to do for a coughing cow. you talk to farmers and it seems their bag of tricks is giving shots of antibiotics. My good friend Arthur who knew cows like nobody else died last September.

01-26-2009, 05:59 PM
I am not a real cow man but have had them off and on for years. I have seen them cough if they get some long hay stuck in the throat, sometimes cough for a week. I have heard and read worms can also cause coughing but I would think you would also notice her being thin. I do know coughing can cause abortion from the contractions caused by the actions of coughing but i thought they had to be closer to term?

Home remedies are going the way of the old time farmer. cattle are more valuable now too so they are quicker to med than mess around. too much reliance on meds in my book.

01-28-2009, 10:28 PM
I have been around cattle all my life. I would say the coughing most likely did not cause the abortion.... when a calf is 2 months early, it isn't premature it is considered aborted. You need to call a vet... When a cow aborts this early, there is most likely a problem that needs a vet's attention... My mind draws a blank at the moment, but if you haven't vaccinated on a regular basis, the cow could have a health issue such as Lepto which can cause aborts.... That is just one idea.. so, I would call the vet. If she has an infection of some type, it could also cause her to abort.... Did you change her feeding habits? Two months early is not normal... so call your vet and have her checked out.

01-29-2009, 10:50 PM
I was talking to a buddy of mine today..another cattleman and he agreed that it sounded like lepto. Did you vaccinate for lepto? Cattle should always be vaccinated for "red nose", lepto, and "black leg". Those are the three main ones that can get you in a heap of trouble and cost you money and livestock.... if the animal can be saved. However, there are also geographical differences when it comes to susceptibility to certain diseases. I hope that helps.


01-30-2009, 12:29 AM
this is something that worries me about the whole Organic thing.. what are we going to allow back into the world by NOT providing the proper meds to livestock...just becouse we have some therie that it's possible...maybe bad for us..maybe. mean wile folks are getting into agg who don't know the warnings and (no offence..speaking in a general tone) could be effecting the amount of said illness to other cattle.

01-30-2009, 02:08 PM
I think organic is great. But people need to keep in mind that vaccinating is not the same as providing unnecessary antibiotics and hormones.... THere is a big difference. There are many chemicals in livestock feeds that I disagree with.... but being a cattleman, I would never forego vaccinations. They are not necessarily chemical and are made from the particular live or killed viruses. Vaccinations are a must among livestock and some needed more than others depending on your location. For example, I live in a brucellosis free state....or it used to be.... But I also know that I MUST vaccinate for red nose, black leg, and lepto. If I don't, I could incur trememdous financial loss at the drop of a hat. Some diseases can wipe out a lot of livestock before you can get it stopped. But, I also have other "organic" practices and I do not use antibiotics for preventive measures. I do not use growth hormone. I also do not use a dry lot. My cattle stay pastured year round and I have one of the healthiest herds in the county and spend much less on vet associated costs than anyone else I know.

01-30-2009, 10:10 PM
I don't know anyone who uses any of the stuff they talk about in scare films and I know that some of the stuff they have shown localy on TV was actualy fillmed eather 20+ years ago or in other nations that still do stuff. What you just disscribed, we call poverty. No I can't afford to put cattle up on feed for months. NO I can't afford all that fancy stuff that they would have the common man THINK is an every day thing for every single farmer. Know what Grass is..it's CHEEP. But iF I pay some Geek $200 a month, he'll give me a sticker...tell me who I can and can not buy me equipment from and then after I loose more money than I take in...he'll want a thank you.

It's a rackeet and a crime.

01-30-2009, 10:58 PM
I worked in the feed industry for several years and dealt with local small farms as well as feedlots... the stuff in those films 20 years ago is worse today than it ever was.....

Sorry, bookwormom, I didn't intend to hijack your thread.... My only point is that you need to check with your vet for a vaccination routine. Many vaccinations can also be under the "organic" type. But I think your cow may have lepto and that could have been avoided with a vaccination and she could have carried the calf to full term. Now you are out the worth of the calf and possible vet bills. That was my only point in my postings..... good luck and let us know what happens.


02-04-2009, 08:40 PM
thank you so much guys.
I will do that pronto. Could not get on line for a while due to ice storm and no power til last night.

she is still coughing, eating well, but lost weight and I wondered if she has something lodged in her lungs.
with last years drought it has really been nothing but a loosing enterprise. You can not let them go hungry and we had to feed hay in Sept. and could only sell one little heifer.

02-04-2009, 10:04 PM
She most likely has nothing lodged in her lungs... But, if she is coughing and losing weight, she probalby just needs a good deworming or maybe even two applications.... *Is she looking mangy at all or is her hide looking dull and shaggy? *Do you deworm at least a couple times a year? *That is really important. *It is as important as a good vaccination schedule... *Let us know what happens... I still think there is a possibility she has lepto, but she may have 2 or 3 problems. Have you had her very long? Where did you get her? If you bought her from an individual, did you know this person personally? It is for these reasons that we try to keep a closed herd... and we did keep it closed for almost 15 years.

I also want to add that I do NOT advocate chemical abuse. I don't advocate antibiotics as preventive measures and only when it is a necessity.

We vaccinate every spring and we deworm every spring and every fall. *I have a friend about 5 miles away that used to never vaccinate. *His neighbor buys calves and backgrounds them and then sells them to feedlots so he has a lot of cattle coming in from different places. *Anyway, my friend had his calves just up and start dying one day and he lost nearly 40 calves before they got a hold on it. *His neighbor had received in a shipment of calves with "red nose" and it is airborne and it went across the road to my friend. *So.... *without a vaccination program and a deworming program, you are only biding time. *And you can do it naturally, too...

02-05-2009, 11:43 AM
our cows have been with us for a little over a year. we bought them from an old lady in our community. she did not have them long. Our land has not had any animals on it for over 20 years. All our cows look very healthy, with glossy coats, clean behinds. Blacky started out with coughing and a dirty behind,so we wormed all of them. Her coat looks okay, she is getting skinny, she eats and wants her food but she is coughing. sometimes she is standing there with her head extended and her tongue sticking out and coughing. she likes to stand in the sun. we have not taken her temperature. I think I am a bit too timid. we are not "cattle people". we just want to keep a few little cows, you know, the proverbial family cow. We train the calves for sale to folks who want a little family cow, too. I googled leptospirosis and she has none of the signs, except that she lost her calf. Like I said,she is coughing and coughing. she got in the way a couple of times when I threw hay down into the stall from the hayloft and thought that she might have inhaled a particle since she can't seem to quit coughing.
thanks for taking the time Paul

02-05-2009, 12:14 PM

I forgot to ask one question? Is her brisket swollen quite a bit larger than the other animals? If so, she may have swallowed some metal. If that is the case the vet would give you a magnet to give her... ingesting metal is not uncommon in cattle and will result in death. But, I don't know if it would cause an abortion...

Coughing is a symptom of several problems, but something lodged in the lungs is uncommon. She could have any number of problems/parasites/bacteria. If you have dewormed and the others all look good, that still could be the problem and may not. But, the first thing most cattlemen would do besides the routine vaccinations and deworming is an antibiotic.... if that didn't clear it, then they would call a vet.

You say you looked up lepto and she doesn't have the symptoms...,but it sounds to me as though she does... From Merck Veterinary Manual, it says:

"....dyspnea from pulmonary congestion.....The chronic forms of leptospirosis manifest as abortion and stillbirths... the mild initial signs often pass unnoticed... "

That sounds like your cow.... I'm not saying that is the problem but when you have a sick animal with symptoms, you can't automatically rule out diseases or infections unless you are experienced or trained in it.

With her symptoms, it could be a number of things and that would also include pneumonia. You NEED TO CALL A VET.... lol

With animals.... if you have a health related problem, it should be taken care of immediately. With cattle, sheep, goats, etc, .... even just a few days before seeking treatment can mean the difference between losing or saving an animal. With some illnesses in the three types of animals 24 hours to treatment is sometimes the difference between saving or losing that animal. Also, in animals, some health problems can linger for a very long time before manifesting to a serious nature and with some of those illnesses, once it manifests to a serious nature, it is too late to save the animal. That is why I keep urging you to call a vet.

Your cow has symptoms that could point to any one or more illnesses. But, if you don't know the problem and put off calling a vet, you WILL lose her. If she is losing weight and going downhill... you will lose her if you don't get help and if it lingers to the point she goes down, you will most likely not be able to save her by then. But the healthcare is part of the responsibility of owning large animals...

Cattle are not pets or toys, they are a business or a food source. They are an investment and part of that investment is the cost associated with veterinary expense. If you don't want to call a vet, go to the nearest feed store/coop and either buy some penicillin or LA200 (or the generic) and a 60 cent syringe and treat the poor ol' cow. If you don't know how to give an injection, kindly ask a neighbor to come help you and show you how. It if very simple to do.

Good luck...

02-05-2009, 02:42 PM
With a spontaneous abortion in any mammal you automatically consider brucellosis. But since it is a cow, and there was coughing, you might think IBR. You might do some research on that virus. It would actually be better for it to be IBR than brucellosis if you have other cows. At least that does run its course.

Lepto does cause abortions, but it is not as common as brucellosis. In the canine world Brucellosis can devastate a whole kennel.

02-05-2009, 03:20 PM
I would disagree. *In the US, cattlemen usually suspect lepto first in the event of an abortion. *The reason being is that brucellosis isn't as common as it once was and the United States IS "brucellosis free" or "bangs free". *Dairy animals are tested regularly and if infected are destroyed. * Besides, if you look at the symptoms, the ONLY sign her cow is showing for bangs is the aborted calf... she hasn't mentioned anything about stiffness of joints... and the coughing and outstretched neck is not as likely to be bangs.

Not only that but on Feb 1, the USDA declared the United States to be "Brucellosis Free" with Texas being the last state to irradicate the disease...

From the USDA website:
* * * *
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2008--The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that for the first time in the 74-year history of the brucellosis program, all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have simultaneously achieved Class Free status. Texas is the last and final state to be declared brucellosis free.

"This tremendous achievement could not have been accomplished without the combined efforts of state and federal agencies and industry," said Bruce Knight, under secretary for USDA's marketing and regulatory programs mission area. "But our work is not done. We must now focus our efforts on eradicating brucellosis from the free-ranging elk and bison populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area in order to protect our national cattle herd against future outbreaks of this disease."

Class Free status is based on a state finding no known brucellosis in cattle for the 12 months preceding designation as Class Free. A state's Class Free status, however, can change. If brucellosis is found in more than one herd of cattle in a brucellosis free state within a two-year period, the state is downgraded to Class A status. "

So, it isn't brucellosis.......