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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a pet heifer (Tibby) that will be turning one on July 31st. When we was little (probably around 1 month old) she was breathing pretty heavily and my aunt gave her medication for possible pneumonia. I'm not sure if that was the issue or not as she was always a heavy breather even before that. She has continued to be a heavy breather, especially when it is hot or when she is lying down. She was put out in the pasture with some of our other cows and she started acting sick (I was away at the time this occurred) and I was told she had been acting lethargic and her breathing was more labored than usual. I had noticed her breathing was heavier a couple of days before a went on a trip but thought it was just due to the heat. My family gave took her off the pasture and called the vet and he thought it could be a foundering type situation like with horses so she was put on just hay for awhile. She continued to not do well and was given antibiotics for possible pneumonia, I believe she had a temperature of 105 or 106. She eventually has become less lethargic though on some days she is better than others. She doesn't always eat grain when someone else feeds her but will always eat well when I feed her. She has continued to have very heavy breathing (I think is sounds similar to a person with asthma). We called the vet out and he said he thought she just seemed "full" and that as long as she was eating to not worry but he didn't listen to her lungs as they didn't put her in the head catch and she is only tame with me. Although he said not to worry her breathing does concern me. I don't know if she could have lung damage or what is going on. I don't know if anyone here as any experience with this. I don't feel the veterinarians we have dealt with have take it as seriously since she is a pet and not a for profit cow. I am getting disparate for any advice or guidance. I'm wondering if I should find a specialist or if you all think she is ok. Sorry for the long message I'm just very concerned and open to any suggestions. Price is no object to me where her health is concerned so I am truly open to anything at this point.
 

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Pretty important question: what breed of cattle is she?
I was about to ask if she had a fever when you said her temp was 105...I immediately thought IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) I will try to put up a picture of a section of a book I own that describes these health issues really well, but for now, I will attempt to sum it up.

IBR is caused by a herpes virus, which can cause alot of problems, but mainly respiratory disease. The respiratory disease caused by IBR produces many symptoms (of course, like any illness, you don't need to have all symptoms to prove you have the problem) including: swelling around the muzzle/nose, clear discharge from the nose that develops into yellow&sticky discharge, eye discharge.

Is she coughing?

Any of the symptoms from above?
Is she located in a group of cattle, or alone in her own pen?

Has Tibby lost weight? (I would keep a weight log!)

Please try to answer all of my questions! I will bold them just in case...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pretty important question: what breed of cattle is she?
I was about to ask if she had a fever when you said her temp was 105...I immediately thought IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) I will try to put up a picture of a section of a book I own that describes these health issues really well, but for now, I will attempt to sum it up.

IBR is caused by a herpes virus, which can cause alot of problems, but mainly respiratory disease. The respiratory disease caused by IBR produces many symptoms (of course, like any illness, you don't need to have all symptoms to prove you have the problem) including: swelling around the muzzle/nose, clear discharge from the nose that develops into yellow&sticky discharge, eye discharge.

Is she coughing?

Any of the symptoms from above?
Is she located in a group of cattle, or alone in her own pen?

Has Tibby lost weight? (I would keep a weight log!)

Please try to answer all of my questions! I will bold them just in case...
Thank you so much for responding. Her mother is an Angus and Tarentaise cross (not sure what percentages) and her father was an Angus. The fever that she had was a couple of weeks ago, the vet said he thought she had probably had pneumonia, which she was treated for, but when her breathing continued to be loud and heavy I had him look at her and he said he wasn't concerned as long as she was eating but her breathing worries me. She coughed a few times that we noticed when she was sicker a few weeks ago but nothing too much. No swelling around the nose. No noticeable discharge though on occasion she has had "boogers" that I have noticed. No eye discharge either. We haven't been weighing her (a weight log is good advice) but she does seem like she may have lost a little weight over the past few weeks. She is in with my pet steer, they have been together since they were born and together one-on-one since being weaned. He has never had any illness and has been healthy. I don't know if we should separate them or if she is still contagious? Again thank you so much for responding.
 

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Thank you so much for responding. Her mother is an Angus and Tarentaise cross (not sure what percentages) and her father was an Angus.
I will keep that in mind. Your welcome! Just tryna help...

The fever that she had was a couple of weeks ago, the vet said he thought she had probably had pneumonia, which she was treated for, but when her breathing continued to be loud and heavy I had him look at her and he said he wasn't concerned as long as she was eating but her breathing worries me. She coughed a few times that we noticed when she was sicker a few weeks ago but nothing too much.
Ok. I suggest keep a temp log as well...If the vet isn't worried, I would not be stressing out as much as it seems you are: ) But, definitely you need to be aware of her current condition. Pneumonia is actually where an animal struggles to exhale or push air out. Diphtheria is another infection cattle can get, which is the struggle to inhale, caused by obstruction of the windpipe (swelling around throat/trachea area). People definitely confuse the 2, or just immediately diagnose pneumonia by connecting pneumonia to struggles in breathing.

No swelling around the nose. No noticeable discharge though on occasion she has had "boogers" that I have noticed. No eye discharge either. We haven't been weighing her (a weight log is good advice) but she does seem like she may have lost a little weight over the past few weeks. She is in with my pet steer, they have been together since they were born and together one-on-one since being weaned. He has never had any illness and has been healthy. I don't know if we should separate them or if she is still contagious? Again thank you so much for responding.

I'm doubting Tibby has IBR now because it is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS and your steer would have caught it by now. So, thinking it could be diphtheria...
Yes, try a weight log and a temp log
Read this: Calf Diphtheria (Necrobacillosis)
Check your heifer's teeth/mouth. She could have the oral form, but you would have noticed swelling?

QUESTIONS:

-Does she still have an appetite?
-Is she cutting herself off from the steer (acting 'depressed' and not wanting to interact with him)?
-Any sort of froth at her mouth?
-Is she swollen in the throat area?

-Any sort of bacterial growth or swelling or anything out of the normal in her mouth?

I am here to help, let me know ASAP
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I appreciate the help!

Yeah I am definitely probably freaking out more than I need to. I just wish the vet had spent more time observing her and checked her over better. But I could be totally blowing this out of proportion or should could have lung damage that there is nothing I can do about. But she's my baby so I'm a little paranoid lol.

The vet said he didn't think it was dipthyria but he never even looked in her mouth. I know with people you get a pseudomembrane in your throat so I don't know if that is the same in cattle.

I have looked in her mouth and didn't notice any obvious swelling or other oral issues.

She is still interacting with my steer, the only time she doesn't really do much is when it is really hot. Her breathing sounds worse then but I can't tell if she is actually having a more difficult time but I have not noticed any mouth breathing and haven't seen any frothing at the mouth. I don't think she has swelling at her throat but I am maybe not the best judge of things like that. She does have bumps on her neck from where she had antibiotics injected. She and my steer Dozey are the first pet cows I have had and I only recently moved back to "ranch country" so I am not in the know about things.

I'm sorry if this all seems dramatic, and maybe there is nothing seriously wrong with her and I am just paranoid. I was frustrated because the vet didn't do a thorough exam and my aunt hasn't been taking her breathing seriously either. I worry that because they think of cattle as a for profit thing or for eating that they don't take me seriously.
 

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I appreciate the help!

Yeah I am definitely probably freaking out more than I need to. I just wish the vet had spent more time observing her and checked her over better. But I could be totally blowing this out of proportion or should could have lung damage that there is nothing I can do about. But she's my baby so I'm a little paranoid lol.
Of course! Don't worry about it: ) No no, I understand about her being special to you.
The vet said he didn't think it was dipthyria but he never even looked in her mouth. I know with people you get a pseudomembrane in your throat so I don't know if that is the same in cattle.

I have looked in her mouth and didn't notice any obvious swelling or other oral issues.
Ok, I don't know about the pseudomembrane with cattle either, but I will look into it (y)
She is still interacting with my steer, the only time she doesn't really do much is when it is really hot. Her breathing sounds worse then but I can't tell if she is actually having a more difficult time but I have not noticed any mouth breathing and haven't seen any frothing at the mouth. I don't think she has swelling at her throat but I am maybe not the best judge of things like that. She does have bumps on her neck from where she had antibiotics injected. She and my steer Dozey are the first pet cows I have had and I only recently moved back to "ranch country" so I am not in the know about things.

I'm sorry if this all seems dramatic, and maybe there is nothing seriously wrong with her and I am just paranoid. I was frustrated because the vet didn't do a thorough exam and my aunt hasn't been taking her breathing seriously either. I worry that because they think of cattle as a for profit thing or for eating that they don't take me seriously.
Ok. Could you post a video of her breathing? I don't know if we will be able to hear it well, but maybe even the imagery will help me understand a bit more...Yeah, the bumps from injections will always be there, on all cattle. Yes, I totally understand the whole vet thing 🙄 maybe call a different vet?

Does she still have an appetite?
Is Tibby actually struggling to breathe, or is it just the noise she makes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will try to get a video of her breathing when I get home, I'm at work now. I have messaged an online vet for a consultation about her.

She does still have an appetite for the most part. My mom says that sometimes when she feeds her she doesn't seem to have much interest in eating but whenever I am the one feeding her she is very interested in food and eats well.

I don't think she is actually struggling to breath. She doesn't have any mouth breathing or frothing at the mouth. I think it is just that she is breathing loud.
 

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I will try to get a video of her breathing when I get home, I'm at work now. I have messaged an online vet for a consultation about her.
👍 no rush.
She does still have an appetite for the most part. My mom says that sometimes when she feeds her she doesn't seem to have much interest in eating but whenever I am the one feeding her she is very interested in food and eats well.
Hmm...Is she fed twice a day?
I don't think she is actually struggling to breath. She doesn't have any mouth breathing or frothing at the mouth. I think it is just that she is breathing loud.
Well, I'm happy to say, maybe she just has a loud inhale/exhale. When I was 13, we had a pet steer named Hercules, who had a very LOUD breath. He of course spent his days grazing&sleeping. I had a pretty fun relationship with him, which, now, as a rancher I think is hilarious. I would lay with him as he slept and always noticed an emphatic 'gasp-like' breath with him. So, maybe that is the case with Tibby.

Take a look at this and tell me if you recognize anything going on with your heifer: Pneumonia: The disease in cattle that just won’t go away
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes she and my steer and our "pet" cows (too old to have any more calves) are fed in the morning and the evening.

Awww, Hercules sounds like he was such a sweetheart! I hope that maybe Tibby is just a loud breather.

At the time she was sick while I way away the way my mom described her fits up with this: "'DART '— depressed, anorexic, respiratory changes, temperature." She still ate some though and wasn't completely depressed so it could have been early stages of bronchopneumonia.

This was mentioned under the interstitial pneumonia: "AIP usually comes on very late in the feeding period, frequently during hot, dry, dusty weather, and affects heifers more often than males, especially if heifers are receiving melengestrol acetate." She was receiving that because she was born late and is too little to breed so my thought maybe we should give her that to keep her from coming in. The vet had already suggested feeding that to our old cows so that maybe they wouldn't come in an hurt each other by jumping on one another (they are like 16-20 years of age so getting to the age where it would be easier to injure themselves). It has been and dry here but wasn't as bad at the time that she got sick. Though it also mentions getting sick on "lush" pastures and she was acting a little off before going to pasture but got worse there. None of the other cows got sick though.

The online vet I spoke with suggested talking to the local vet and try to rule out Bovine Diarrhea Virus as it can cause chronic pneumonia. She also said that a polyp could cause loud breathing. She suggested having the local vet do more testing like a possible ultrasound of her lungs or blood work and maybe starting on heavier duty antibiotics. I will also try to get a good video of her breathing to show them since the vet wasn't very thorough when he was out last. I worry that they don't take me as seriously since she is a pet cow and I'm not concerned about making a profit off of her.

I also have a stethoscope of my own so I may try to listen to her lungs since she would easily let me do that, though I'm not sure what I'd be listening for.

I know at this point I'm basically babbling on but I really appreciate you taking this time to help me and taking me seriously and not just telling me to get rid of her. I know there is a chance that if she declines she may have to be euthanized but I appreciate you not being condescending and giving me good and kind advice.
 

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Yes she and my steer and our "pet" cows (too old to have any more calves) are fed in the morning and the evening.

Awww, Hercules sounds like he was such a sweetheart! I hope that maybe Tibby is just a loud breather.
OK about feeding. Yes, Hercules was the reason I wanted to expand the family ranch: )
At the time she was sick while I way away the way my mom described her fits up with this: "'DART '— depressed, anorexic, respiratory changes, temperature." She still ate some though and wasn't completely depressed so it could have been early stages of bronchopneumonia.

This was mentioned under the interstitial pneumonia: "AIP usually comes on very late in the feeding period, frequently during hot, dry, dusty weather, and affects heifers more often than males, especially if heifers are receiving melengestrol acetate." She was receiving that because she was born late and is too little to breed so my thought maybe we should give her that to keep her from coming in. The vet had already suggested feeding that to our old cows so that maybe they wouldn't come in an hurt each other by jumping on one another (they are like 16-20 years of age so getting to the age where it would be easier to injure themselves). It has been and dry here but wasn't as bad at the time that she got sick. Though it also mentions getting sick on "lush" pastures and she was acting a little off before going to pasture but got worse there. None of the other cows got sick though.
The online vet I spoke with suggested talking to the local vet and try to rule out Bovine Diarrhea Virus as it can cause chronic pneumonia. She also said that a polyp could cause loud breathing. She suggested having the local vet do more testing like a possible ultrasound of her lungs or blood work and maybe starting on heavier duty antibiotics. I will also try to get a good video of her breathing to show them since the vet wasn't very thorough when he was out last. I worry that they don't take me as seriously since she is a pet cow and I'm not concerned about making a profit off of her.
I agree, this could just be longterm, chronic pneumonia. Definitely ask your vet about BDV, just text message him, since it sounds like he has been out to see Tibby quite a few times.
I also have a stethoscope of my own so I may try to listen to her lungs since she would easily let me do that, though I'm not sure what I'd be listening for.

I know at this point I'm basically babbling on but I really appreciate you taking this time to help me and taking me seriously and not just telling me to get rid of her. I know there is a chance that if she declines she may have to be euthanized but I appreciate you not being condescending and giving me good and kind advice.
Yes, listen to her lungs, you WILL be able to tell if something is off, it will sound rattling, bubbling (if she has fluid in her lungs), clicking, or wheezing.
No! You have an excuse to be worried: ) Of course, I am here to help you...Don't worry @Lilly Walford, you won't have to put Tibby down; you're always welcome for my advice and help! Have a blessed day, and don't forget updates! 😉
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, listen to her lungs, you WILL be able to tell if something is off, it will sound rattling, bubbling (if she has fluid in her lungs), clicking, or wheezing.
No! You have an excuse to be worried: ) Of course, I am here to help you...Don't worry @Lilly Walford, you won't have to put Tibby down; you're always welcome for my advice and help! Have a blessed day, and don't forget updates! 😉

[/QUOTE]

Thank you so much! We're going to get some blood tests done, I'm hoping everything is clear and maybe this is just how she is but I will keep you updated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
👌🐮🐄
Tibby Update:

Right now the vets think she may just be a loud breather or have some lung damage from her bouts with pneumonia. They didn't find any polyps or anything that would be obstructing her airway to make her breathe like that. Just in case it is permanent lung damage I'm going to make sure that she has plenty of ways to stay cool in the summer as the heat seems to make the breathing louder, and I'm monitoring her food intake more closely so the doesn't get "too full" and put more pressure on her lungs. I will also not be breeding her as I worry carrying a baby could end up being dangerous for her. These precautions might be over the top but I don't need her to have calves for money or anything like that so I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. Just wanted to update you since you have been so helpful and supportive. I truly am very grateful!
 

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Tibby Update:

Right now the vets think she may just be a loud breather or have some lung damage from her bouts with pneumonia. They didn't find any polyps or anything that would be obstructing her airway to make her breathe like that. Just in case it is permanent lung damage I'm going to make sure that she has plenty of ways to stay cool in the summer as the heat seems to make the breathing louder, and I'm monitoring her food intake more closely so the doesn't get "too full" and put more pressure on her lungs. I will also not be breeding her as I worry carrying a baby could end up being dangerous for her. These precautions might be over the top but I don't need her to have calves for money or anything like that so I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. Just wanted to update you since you have been so helpful and supportive. I truly am very grateful!
Awesome! I bet you the vets will agree on loud breather: )
You are doing a good job...Love to help.
 

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Tibby Update:

Right now the vets think she may just be a loud breather or have some lung damage from her bouts with pneumonia. They didn't find any polyps or anything that would be obstructing her airway to make her breathe like that. Just in case it is permanent lung damage I'm going to make sure that she has plenty of ways to stay cool in the summer as the heat seems to make the breathing louder, and I'm monitoring her food intake more closely so the doesn't get "too full" and put more pressure on her lungs. I will also not be breeding her as I worry carrying a baby could end up being dangerous for her. These precautions might be over the top but I don't need her to have calves for money or anything like that so I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. Just wanted to update you since you have been so helpful and supportive. I truly am very grateful!
I have one cow that is probably 8 to 9 years old now that I can hear breathing nearly 200 ft away. I used to be concerned, but she has had a calf every year and raised it with no real problems. I have some brushy areas here in central OK, and by 10am they are in the shade in the summer. I have not heard her this summer and the humidity is the worst it has been in years..
 
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