And now I understand what James Herriot was writing about when he spoke of the miracles of IV calcium. 😑
The drama of having a fresh dairy cow continued today…
After acquiring some Dex via a farm friend and administering it, I let Sweetie and Co back into the pasture so the lasix plus Dex plus exercise could work it’s wonders on her swollen udder…and it did! By early afternoon, she looked better and was moving better and seemed overall happier and I looked forward to an evening milking with fewer troubles.
But when I checked on everyone later in the afternoon, all had gone wrong. Sweetie was staggering, trembling and showing every sign of the onset of milk fever, a dangerous drop in blood calcium that often affects high producing cows, especially Jerseys. It can induce a coma and death in a matter of hours.
I had bought injectable calcium for this very possibility but as I watched her crashing fast before my eyes, I placed no faith in my ability to safely give it via IV—I have a lot of farm skills but safely doing an IV on a cow isn’t one of them. And if you give calcium too fast, you stop their heart.
At the same I feared SubQ injections would work too slow…within 15 minutes of me arriving on the scene, Sweetie went down hard and showed every indication she wasn’t able to get up again. Her eyes were sinking in and her heart rate skyrocketing. We didn’t have time for me to screw this up.
Via a true answer to our prayers (Evie and I definitely added some power of prayer to our first aid kit today) I found a local vet already out on a somewhat close by emergency call and he rolled in the yard not many minutes later. In no time, he got the IV in and the drip began…it takes a good 20 minutes to do it safely so we chatted about cows and Wisconsin and cover crops. After the bottle was in, he huzzahed her to get up and Sweetie just walked away and started eating like nothing happened, it was the craziest, fastest turnaround I have ever seen in my life. I’ve read about how fast IV calcium works but I definitely had to see it to believe it.
After her supper, Sweetie got lots of hugs from a very worried Evie. Fingers crossed that we can get through tomorrow without any new dairy cow emergencies—I didn’t intend to learn the whole book of cow first aid in one weekend!