Acid reflux – hard lesson learned

In my last post I talked about our Holstein calf who has been sick on and off. We’ve fought upper respiratory infections and what we suspected to be wooden tongue. By the time we got the vet out- the wooden tongue seemed to have gone away (could be totally wrong about that diagnosis but he had all the signs)- but he was still sick. He was throwing up all his cud and it smelled bad. The vet listened to him with his stethoscope and said he couldn’t hear any rumen working in there. He diagnosed him with rumen acidosis. Basically his rumen’s PH was too low. It’s like acid reflux for us but for cattle it can be fatal.

We suspect we have fed him feed that’s too high in carbohydrates. (The vet tried to be nice about it but we know it’s our fault). All the sugar throws off the PH. Now we are feeding him a baking soda solution three times a day, an anti acid paste, a B-vitamin shot and an anti-inflammatory shot once a day. And- we are feeding him only timothy and alfalfa pellets (mostly timothy).

So far, so good. His eyes are brighter and he’s holding his head a little higher. He’s grazing out in the pasture more actively too. Before he would just lie or stand there doing very little. Last Friday he had a very high fever and now we have it back to normal. We’re crossing our fingers and saying prayers he is on the road to health. Others might have given up on him but we feel we have to give him a fighting chance. He’s not a pet but we can’t let him suffer. In the back of our minds we know this might not be the last of it- his getting sick. But we’re hopeful all the same.

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