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Offline SlickTxMaine

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Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« on: May 24, 2012, 08:54:09 AM »
We vaccinated cows/calves about 3 wks. ago and banded the bull calves.  All should have recieved a tetanus.  Tuesday evening we found a calf stretched out, unable to get up.  Hauled him to the vet, and he was diagnosed with Tetanus.  Vet says only a 20% chance of survival.  We are giving antibiotics and tetanus anti-toxin as well as tubing him to get some fluids and nutrients into him.  The calf is unable to get up - legs stiff. He will occasionally try to get up and calls out to his momma.  Just wondering if we are fighting a losing battle, or if anyone has ever had a calf come out of this.  This is our first time to experience this. 

Offline JCattleCo

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 09:00:29 AM »
The tetanus anti toxin worked well for us it brought him out of it in a matter of hours. He pry wasn't as far along as yours but it worked in my college class

Offline Shady Lane

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 11:20:10 AM »
Are you certain that the vaccine you used contained tetanus protection?

If so, you or your vet should be contacting the vaccine manufacturer.

They should come good for your calf.

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 Saskatchewan

Offline Lucky_P

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 12:10:06 PM »
Tetanus antitoxin provides some measure of 'immediate' protection.
However, if you're using a bacterin/toxoid containing tetanus toxoid(TT) - at the time of band application - you're 'rolling the dice' that the animal will have time to respond to the TT and have had time to begin producing antibodies before any C. tetani spores germinate and the organisms begin producing toxin.
Ideally, animals which are going to have procedures that predispose to the possibility of developing tetanus, should be vaccinated with a TT-containing product at least two weeks prior to banding, etc.

Had a case earlier this year, in which a producer banded a number of 6-7cwt bulls, and administered TT at the time of application, but lost at least 10-15 to tetanus.
It's a risk that sometimes jumps up and bites you in the butt.

Have seen a few baby calves recover following treatment, but never saw a bigger calf make it.

Offline CAB

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 12:17:26 PM »
It's been my experience that for calves 2 weeks old or older, if you'll take a knife and slit the bag a little after the band is on, you'll reduce the risk significantly. It let's the gases if you will out instead of having to go through the calf's system. Best to give both the antitoxin & the toxoid.

Offline vcsf

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 12:38:49 PM »
About 15 years ago I found a calf probably 3-400 pounds laying stretched out and when I took it to the vet he diagnosed tetanus and suggested I take it home and destroy.The vet then asked if I could wait around for a while as the younger vets in the practice were due back shortly and he was fairly sure they would never have seen a tetanus case.  When the younger vets returned they got excited about treating the calf with the same protocol as you are following so that is what we did.  I took the calf him and continued treating for a few days with no improvement until I believe the calf died although I may have put him down.  When I told the original vet that I lost the calf about all he said was now he could collect on the bet he had made with the other vets as to the end result and he reminded me that his recommendation was to destroy the calf.

Besides what you are doing for treatment it was also recommended to keep the calf in a dark place away from as much noise and other stimuli as possible.

Shady Lane and Lucky P both made good points in that a lot of the clostridial vaccines do not include tetanus and the vaccine takes time to take effect so if you vaccinated and banded at the same time you may not have had any protection.

Offline RidinHeifer

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 02:39:18 PM »
It is important to remember vaccines aren't a guarantee that your animal won't get an illness.  They are only 95% or so effective.  Having received vaccines, it can make the illness not as severe or more treatable.  I know this from experience with west Nile in sale horse
Just because I own the ugliest cow in the world doesn't mean I can't be proud as heck of her. It also doesn't change my love of the game when she gets last every time.

Offline Pleasant Grove Farms

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 03:24:44 PM »
have never had one survive but it is hard not to try....

Offline gary89

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 07:00:43 PM »
Many years ago I had a first calf heifer prolapse having her calf. Sewed her up very quickly all was well as far as a prolapse goes, but she did come down with tetanus. I treated aggressively with pennicillin, as she was stiff. Vet didn't know what else to do and did not think it was tetanus, but she really had a hard time getting up and was losing weight, not eating etc. I took her to Iowa State and they said they see this a lot. Treated her aggressively with antibiotics, and tubed her. She recovered nicely, and went on to have several more calves for us. Had to raise her calf on bottle though as he became "orphaned." Hope your calf comes through, good luck!

Offline Rolling Meadows Farm

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2015, 06:36:30 AM »
I know this is a pretty old post, but I figured I'd give it a try anyhow.  I'm currently treating a calf that has been diagnosed with tetanus.  Calf was 1 month old when I caught, banded, and gave the first shot of CD/T on Saturday the 17th.  Later that day, he started walking a little funny, so I thought he was just sore from the band.  Sunday, I noticed his back legs were a little stiff, but after he got up he looked fine.  Monday morning, he was having a hard time getting up.  At that point, I called my vet who gave me 2 bottles of antitoxin and told me to give Combi-Pen for the next week.  I locked him in the shed with his mother, and he was able to get up to suck.  He got a little worse on Tuesday, then Wednesday he couldn't even get up with help.  I was tempted to cull at that point, but I decided to try to tube feeding for another day to see if there were any improvements.  I moved him into the barn and isolated him.  He would usually look better in the mornings than evenings, and it seemed like he started to gradually gain some strength.

On Saturday, he was able to sit up most of the day.  Up to that point, he was basically stretched out stiff unless I tucked his legs underneath him and propped him up.  I turn him every time I go out.  Sunday came and he looked a little better.  He continues to have normal BM's, so I've continued to tube feed.  I did try to bottle feed, but he refused.  When I had him suck my finger, it felt like his tongue and mouth did not have much muscle control, so I think he isn't able to latch properly to a bottle.  This morning, he was sitting more upright on his own with his ears perked up and eyes a little more normal.  It seems like he has possibly started to turn a corner, but I'm still pretty skeptical after all the research has shown his chances are slim. 

Does anyone else have experience with this?  I'd be interested to hear if anyone has seen them get to this point.  I haven't been able to find much on any site about the timeline.  My vet told me it could take a while to recover, but he wasn't very optimistic about his chances at the start of this little adventure.

Although I don't think he contracted tetanus and started having symptoms 3 hours after banding, I am changing my vaccination schedule.  I never did find any cuts or marks on this calf that would indicate where it could have all started.  I'm assuming he contracted tetanus earlier and just happened to start showing signs that day after I handled him.  I'm planning on vaccinating calves with the CD/T vaccine 1 week after birth, then banding and giving the booster 3 weeks later.   Does anyone have any thoughts on that timeline? 

Offline Lucky_P

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Re: Anyone ever successfully treat a calf with tetanus??
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 10:44:50 AM »
I'll weigh back in on this one. 
Lost a nice 4-mo heifer to tetanus last fall; multi-valent Clostridial bacterin/toxoid that we were using at that time did not contain tetanus toxoid.  I've since switched to one that does.
 
Wife called me to come home from work - that the bigger cows had knocked this heifer down at the feedbunk and she couldn't get up.  Drug her into the barn, and fooled with her for a couple of days, on the assumption that she was injured...but it became more and more evident that it was tetanus.  Loaded her up on tetanus antitoxin and penicillin - and tube fed her for several days, with no improvement...then she died.  Never did know what her exposure was.
 
Prior to that, the only other case I'd had in my own herd was a 400 lb bull that I castrated with Newberry knife and White's emasculators.  Found him sawhorsed out in the pasture about 2 weeks later.

 

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