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Cows/Cattle/sick bottle calves. Lost one this morning.


Ginger and Tiny
Ginger and Tiny  

Ok, I am not a stranger to raising bottle calves. I recently got four more. One is 5 weeks old. The others are 4 weeks old. I have two that were sick. All have a cough, contributing that to the changing weather of hot to cold and being salebarn calves. The one I lost this morning, I knew I would probably lose. But she ate at every feeding and drank water and was already eating feed. She had a snotty nose and almost acted constipated. I would rub her back and it helped her sometimes go to the bathroom. Last night she was grunting a lot. I gave her electrolytes and water. She drank both. This morning she was dead. What could I have done to help her? The second calf is the oldest one. Ginger has a cough, pants, eats every feeding. But she get wore out just standing to eat. She stands with her tongue out panting. I'm treating her with Baytril and Banamine. What else could you suggest? No diarrhea. I have grown kind of fond of Ginger and don't want to lose her.

Hi Jen,

I'm really sorry for your loss!

It sounds like they have some form of respiratory disease, since with the coughing, panting, snotty nose and lethargic-ness (if there's such a word), also sounds like they may be feverish, it's typical of a calf like yours to get that, coupled with what you mentioned.  

As right now, I don't think you did anything wrong, sometimes some form of respiratory (if I remember right) can hit a calf so hard and fast that there's nothing you can do to save it.  Keep going with what you're doing, but maybe, if possible, have a vet look at them to see what can be done and whether or not your treatments are working.

Other than that, I wish you good luck and hope for the best for these calves of yours!



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Karin L


Forage-Beef Extension Specialist. Knowledge in almost everything to do with beef and dairy cattle. Strong points include forage production, pasture and rangeland management, grazing management, breeding/calving/weaning, cattle genetics, breeds, feeding and nutrition, starting-up, and most physiological questions. I AM NOT A BOVINE VETERINARIAN; so please any questions that concern serious health of your cattle must be taken to your local large animal veterinarian.


Part of a farm family that bought, raised, and sold stocker/backgrounder steers; assisted with health management, handling, feeding, pasture management, and forage production. Also worked at local mixed-practice veterinary clinic. Experience with cattle included breeding soundness exams on bulls, castration, fixing prolapses, preg-checking, C-sections, calf pulling, vaccinations, etc. Worked at a local farm and ranch supply store selling medications and feed for livestock. Research assistant for the University of Alberta with range health assessments, and helping with various rangeland research projects. Always learning and gaining more experience as time goes on.

Alberta Farm Express Agri-News and Call of the Land (Alberta Agriculture)

BSc in Agriculture (Animal Science Major) @ University of Alberta, June 2015 graduate, but started studies in 2005. An Sci degree allowed me to specialize and gain significant knowledge in beef & dairy cattle production,animal behaviour and reproduction, ruminant nutrition, forage production/management, rangeland and pasture management & ecology, and plant identification.

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Various eef and forage producers in Alberta, CAN

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