Sick Cow

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Intrigue's picture
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 21/02/2018 - 6:33pm
Sick Cow

Hello all,


I am not sure if you can help me but Im running out of places to turn.


I am a small hobby farmer with two fresian steers, now approx 8 months of aged (raised as bobby's) not as yet vaccinated.


The day prior to yesteday my partner noticed one of my boys 'drooling' but didnt mention it until he saw it again yesterday (It has been ridiculously hot here in the Whitsunday region). Naturally i went to inspect. I noted his lower lip was rather swollen and firm, thus the drooling, I checked his mounth and found mouth ulceration on his palet and what looked to me to be some infected gum areas at the front of mouth (there was a white area which I thought could be deadskin from an ulcer or some form of discharge), His toungue was not wooden, his capillery refill and membraine colour was good. There were no signs of diarrhea but he did have a temp of 40.5 and seemed a little out of sorts. I called the vet but as he was unable to come till the afternoon I googled and found little. During this time his lips swelled more and became covered in small sores (to me looked like a the massive outbreaks of coldsores i used to get as a kid) they excreted a clear bright yellow liquid.


*the second steer is showing no symptoms, nor is my horse that is paddocked with them.


The vet visited in the afternoon and after some poking about and head scratching it was determined the sores could definatley be considered 'vesicles' and thus a call to the DPI was in order. We took a range of sample, followed their proceedures and are now awaiting the results of some exclusion tests.


Sorry for the long read. I personally find it very challenging to think of how such a virus (if thats what it is) could reach my cows, being that they are completely isolated on the property with no contact with anything other than my horse. I dont have any friends with cows nor do I visit any cow properties.


Therefore my question to you, is can you think of anything else that may cause such symptoms? The most common would be BVDV but no diarrohea, Bracken fern irritation? I dont believe we have any in this region, Herpies? symptoms dont seem to match what I read for bovine just looks like the human type, Can an irritant such as a rubbing on a fuel drum or poison drum  cause some form of chemical burn (they did sneak in that shed recently). Any weeds or grasses? (in that same shed was some grass seed ready for distribution that they appear to have had a few mouthfuls of? Yes I clutching at straws but I cant treat him if I cant diagnose him.


Naturally Im hoping that when the DPI come back they may shed some light but I fear they will just confirm the exclusion tests and I'll be none the wiser.


Thoughts? Any one seen anything like this?

rolly @ fi's picture
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 09/09/2011 - 11:03am

Hi intrigue
The vet should be able to get to the bottom of things pretty quickly. However it must have presented as unusual for the vet to refer it to the district vet. I deal with district vets often and there is usually not much that they haven't seen or can't figure out.
One disease I have seen an increase in of late is sporadic bovine encipherlites. Here are the main signs and symptoms
Presenting clinical signs, often seen in yearlings, occur 6 - 30 days post-infection. Signs, which worsen over a 10 - 14 day period, include anorexia, diarrhoea, fever, lethargy, ptyalism, neurologic signs, polyserositis, abortion, conjunctivitis, non-suppurative meningoencephalomyelitis[3], enteritis, pneumonia, and polyarthritis[4]. In calves, stiffness may be evident, with knuckling at the fetlocks. Incoordinated and staggering may also occur.
Your sitter seems a little old to become to succeptable but stranger things have happened.
I'm not saying that it is this illness but there is a slight chance it's possible.
Let us know what the results come back with.

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