Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Weekend with Marlow

So... I slept in a little Friday morning because I had a long week at work, and just needed a break.

When I did get up, I was told that Marlow was in the front yard, and he was sick, and didn't want to eat. That's no good. Marlow likes to eat!

So I went outside to check him out. He was standing still in the yard, no interest in food, and he was drooling. So I broke out the Merck's vet manual online and did some poking around. I found ephemeral fever, glossitis, indigestion... Ephemeral fever doesn't really happen on this continent... The others didn't seem such a big deal. Until Larry mentioned bloat. Seriously? Do we have to have bloat on every type of animal we have here?

I then called CSU vet hotline, and walked them through what I was seeing. They agreed with bloat. Larry then ran off to buy some vet items - namely, a big plastic tube and some mineral oil. I had a chat with the CSU vets, I had another chat with our ovine vet, who gave me the name of a cow vet. I called him too.

By the time Larry got home, Marlow was laying down. He had his head turned to the side, and I was watching him to make sure he was breathing. I thought he might be dying. We got the tube down his throat a few minutes before the vet showed up. He let out a few big burps. I made Larry take the tube out, because I was afraid he may have chewed it in half, in which case, we had a bigger problem.

By the time the vet saw him, he said he wasn't bloated. So Larry, on his way to a rugby tournament in Dallas, got on his bike, gave a big WAHOO and he was gone. Marlow got himself up, and we thought he was fine. We got him into the barn, and thought everything was going to be fine.

I went inside, to take care of my nugget, thinking maybe Marlow needed some food and a rest and he would be better.

I came back out, and he was not better. He was stumbling, and he laid down again and curled his head over like he was giving up. I called the vet again. When he came back out, he was just as concerned as I. We ended up giving him antibiotics, penicillin, a big bottle of magnesium, and I think a few other things I can't recall. The good news was that he fought us over it. That was a good sign.

I gave him a bucket of water with milk replacer, the neighbor brought over some beautiful horse hay. He wasn't interested. I shoved some hay in his mouth, and he just stared at me. He didn't seem to want his eyes open, and he was really groggy. He kept running into things.

I didn't sleep that night. There was a possibility that I was going to wake up to find a dead Marlow. I've had moments when I didn't want to open the barn door in the morning, but this was the worst.

But when I opened the door, there he was. Bright eyed, and looking rested. He got up, came right outside and did some business. Which was a good sign that things were coming out of the places they were supposed to come out of. I ran to the store and got him some calf manna, some sweet oats, and some more penicillin and some VERY big needles.

He was DEFINITELY interested in eating, but he couldn't seem to get his head in the bucket. He was still stumbling some, and he really wanted to eat. I put the grains in a dog bowl and held it up to his mouth. HE WENT NUTS! I let him eat it all and I got some more, while he was eating, I slowly walked to the barn, and eventually poured the grains into the manger, stuck his head in there, and he started eating on his own. He still is, and I keep mixing more grains with the hay so he can eat it himself. By the end of the day, he was only limping on one leg. It happens to be the leg on the side where he got most of his injections, so I thought he might just be sore.

This morning, he came straight out and drained the waterer about 5 times. He then stuck his head in the milk bucket, and drank a bunch of that too. These things make me happy. He is hungry, he is thirsty, he is determined. However, he can not lift one of his front legs. It makes him very slow. The leg bends appropriately, I can pick it up and bend it. He can put weight on it, too, he just won't lift it.

Because of that, he is still quarantined by the barn. I do NOT need our coyote family to get wind of a yearling steer who can't move. I also don't need him to slowly manuever out west in the field, and then have to take a hour helping him get back to the barn. So he quarantined in the corral next to his stall. The sheep can't steal his grains, he has all the water he needs, he has sunshine and shade, and he can rest.

In the meantime, I am trying to find this year's baby calf. Marlow was supposed to stick around till maybe the fall - until we thought he was "big enough". Who knows how long that would take.

Right now, if his leg doesn't heal, and he has to stay in the barn, it may be time for Marlow burgers. OK, the time was eventually going to come. I am really really happy Marlow didn't die this weekend. There is potential if he was bloated long enough, he could have suffered respiratory and cardiac distress, possibly causing some permanent damage. He may have some neurological issues from lack of oxygen. I still think there is a possibility that all the injections he had made him sore in his one leg. I am watching him, and really hoping that he can go out to the pasture soon. I also can't wait until Wednesday, when I no longer have to give him shots anymore!! The only reason I CAN give him shots is because of his lame leg!

I really hoped that some sleep last night, that he'd feel better this morning. But he's still dragging that leg. Here's to hoping that more food today, more energy and strength, and a few naps, maybe he will get better as the day progresses...