I have a cow that has come up lame today which what appears to be a stifle injury. I had a vet come out to farm and he agreed. Wanted to get your opinion on how about treating this injury so that the cow can come back as much as she can. She is a BC Marathon PB Angus bred to Bodacious so I want to make sure I see her calve out and raise her calf without problems. Please provide me your insight or experiences in handling this injury. Thanks.
Most stifle injuries do not completely heal - even with the best care - and are therefor prone to further injury (think 1800 pound football player) - it is likely that healing will take at least 6 weeks - the goal would be to avoid re injury for at least 6 weeks to get maximum healing - even then it may not be complete healing and down the road if she gets jumped she could re injure it
If you get nasty icy weather lock her in (unless she is an absolute fruit loop then you have to take your chances) - the stifle is not stable and prone to re injury - ice or other bad footing can be a real problem
Unlike dogs and humans most vets do not operate on these injuries - you might contact David Anderson at K State - he does some cow stifle surgery
IMHO chances are the cow is in pain or at least uncomfortable - aspirin can be given to pg cows routinely though out pregnancy - talk to your vet
The best way to manage them (from a medical standpoint) is small paddock - flat with good footing (with out other cows or with one also pg cow to avoid riding, pushing etc) and a deeply bedded bed area in shed - if they have the option they will lie down
As she gets more and more pregnant (and heavier) there will be more stress on the stifle - even though 60% of cows weight is on front legs 40% is still carried on the back and the rear limbs are important for rising and lying down
my recommendations - separate into small paddock with good footing and deeply bedded shed or lean to; aspirin for pain; prevent further injury - good luck