Salmonella wipes the smiles from our faces

All four of us were enjoying sending the cows to the crop this afternoon sun when we realised something was wrong with one of our young cows. 1201 is not normally at the back of the herd but this afternoon she just wanted to bumble along slowly. This little cow is extra special to me because she was the first calf to be born after I took over the reins of the family farm and I always smile when I see her. Not today.

As I drew up beside her, I saw she was breathing heavily and to my horror, I found orange mucus trickling from her nostrils. We called the vet and nudged her gently along the track to the crush for an examination.

Pete arrived and checked for sugars in her urine, smelled her manure and found mucus in it, listened to her gut, heart and lungs, then reached into her gullet. The diagnosis: salmonella. Pete took a blood sample to confirm the diagnosis and ascertain the strain so we can respond appropriately if more cows fall ill, prescribed a course of antibiotics to fight the infection and delivered fluids straight to her gut to keep her hydrated.

We suspect the source of the contamination may have been the wildlife attracted by the crop and the dam (ducks love eating rape). Because salmonella infections in cattle can be passed on to humans, we will be washing our hands with the zeal of Lady Macbeth from now on.

The little cow is now in quarantine close to the house where we can keep an extra close eye on her and offer plenty of TLC.

7 Comments

Filed under Animal Health and Welfare, Cows

7 responses to “Salmonella wipes the smiles from our faces

  1. I am so sorry. I know how awful it feels when one of the animals you care for is ill. Hope she comes around all right.

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  2. milkmaidmarian

    Thanks. I am really worried for her. She’s still walking and looking quite bright but orange nasal discharge is pretty scary.

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  3. Are there any others in the herd that show symptoms? Are you going to have to blood sample them all?
    And last question, how is this going to impact your milk pick up/delivery?

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    • milkmaidmarian

      No, thank goodness but we are on alert. The cow having treatment is being milked once per day to keep her comfortable and prevent mastitis but her milk is not collected.

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  4. Keep up the “the zeal of Lady Macbeth”, caring for a herd of cows with Salmonella whilst you have it is not fun! Unfortunately speaking from experience.
    Goodluck and best wishes to 1201.

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    • milkmaidmarian

      Thanks Graeme. Sadly, despite everything we tried, she died yesterday. I feel so bad about it, especially given she was such a young, healthy girl in the prime of her life. We should get the results of the test early next week. Until then, I have decided not to let the cows into the rape crop and am bracing myself for the decision to plough it in.

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  5. Pingback: Salmonella wipes the smiles from our faces | The #Agvocate | Scoop.it

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