Coughing Calves : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have checked the index and don't know if my new herd is in trouble. I am a complete newbie at this thing. I have five 350lb heifers that we purchased 9 days ago. A couple of them are coughing (a deep unproductive cough sound). They are all upright, alert, and are grazing/drinking ok. I really don't have a way to check their temp. They are a little shy of humans so far. Should I be worried enough to contact the vet or wait and see. Your sage advise is appreciated.

-- Gunner (, April 12, 2002



Do you let them stay outside or do you pen them up in a dusty barn or corrall at night? Penned up calves are so prone to respiratory crud...tell thsat to the SPCA who think they need to be closed in a humid dusty vector riddled barn at night.

Are you sure that they are not just hacking up a cud to chew?

Did you do any receiving medicating/worming when you took posession?

Are their eyes clear or are they runny? Noses snotty?

If the cough is quite intermittant and deep belly born, then it may just be that they are good cud chewers.

-- Oscar Will (, April 12, 2002.

Oscar, Thanks for the reply. They were given a broud spectrum of preventative meds at the place I bought them. It was called STARVAC. I'm not completely sure at this time what all it entailed. I failed to keep the pamplet that covered what was included. When I read over it at the time, it appeared to cover a most of the normal bovine maladies. They are kept outside on pastures. Eyes are clear. One had a slighly greenish colored discharge from the nose. Thanks!

-- Gunner (, April 13, 2002.

Just a thought if you call the vet the first thing he/she will want is to get the calves temp. I'd try to get some gates set up as a corral and see if you can't get them calm enough (with feed?) to come in. At least if you start now and they get worse you've got a better chance to catch them. Do they cough a lot?

-- Ross (, April 13, 2002.

If it were me, and since you noticed some nasal discharge, also due to the recent "move" I would go ahead and treat them. Shipping fever, pneumonia, etc. is not uncommon, also due to the stress of a new environment their immune systems where probably compromised to some extent(understandably). I'd worm them while I was at it, some parasites show resp. symptoms, also it's spring and a good idea. At that weight they aren't bred, so Ivomec inj. and LA200. But they are skiddish, and I'm assuming injections would be tricky. ;-) The wormer you can get orally panacure/fenbendizole, ivermectine would both be ok. or the pour on Ivomec(Eprinex). As to the're stuck with injection(oops sorry pun) I'm afraid and that's most likely what they need. A chute would be good. LOL. Manhandling that size heiffer is possible, but not that fun. On a positive note, they usually come around fairly quickly in my experiance. Getting drug around the pasture is great exercise too! heh heh

I guess if I where you I'd be thinking about some kind of place to do minimal herd work....sooner or later you will probably need it...?

The symptoms don't seem that excessive, so waiting a bit probably wouldn't hurt either. Hope this helps, just my 2 cents.

-- Patty (, April 13, 2002.


Lots of good ideas here...however.....if you call the vet every time some beast farts or coughs, you will go broke and be further away from self sufficiency than ever before.

Animals have an amazing self healing mechanism if you reduce stress and keep good nutrion on them. Looks like they were well backgrounded before yo received them, but yo might think about some antirespiratory shot if you have the notion. if you don't hacve a working facility yet, you need top put something together for the sake of your own sanity and the peace of your cattle. A head gate and some sort of chute might be in order if yo are going to do this regularly. If you are handy and can weld and all this stuff is a breeze to make.

Let me repeat, most domestic animals are not snivelling weaklings like most humans who run to the doctor every timne they wake up with a head ache. Cattle are resiliant as all heck if you let them live outdoors on good feed. Still you will need or want to intervene at times and so you need a facility for that...for the vet too unleess you want to pay 80 plus bucks an hour for someoe to chase aftger your animals.

Green snot ismeaningless unless it is copious and regular. If I called the vet every time I saw green snot...heck if I injected an antibiotic every time I saw green snot, I woud be broker than Enron and well...I am not.


-- Oscar Will (, April 13, 2002.

Thank you all for your wonderful insight, suggestions, and concern. I am taking the wait and see approach, and they seem to be doing better (fingers crossed)! I'll keep a close eye on them. Thanks again!!!


-- Gunner (, April 14, 2002.

Gunner, We recently bought two calves which developed similar cough as yours. Ours were eating fine as well. After a few days we noticed one was acting depressed so we finally checked it's temp. and it was 103. We called a friend and he gave us some antibodics. They continued to have a fever and we switched to Han - Pen G. The fever continued so we recently swiched to a different drug. We puchased these calves from a neighbor we have been getting information from him. Just some of our experiences. We are new at this and only that it was deceiving until we take the temps. Good Luck!!

-- Mike (, April 14, 2002.

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