Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stomach flu and Twisted Stomach

I'm guessing that March is to be the month of stomach upsets.

Bruce came down with an awful case of stomach flu this morning, here's to hoping and herbs that it stays away from the rest of the house. In all fairness to the stomach flu virus, it's been a couple of years since we've had a nice little tete a tete, maybe it's just making sure we aren't feeling ignored. :) Still, that was one sick boy! Just laid on the couch and slept until this afternoon, ignoring the marathon of UFO shows (well he did watch a couple, but only half heartedly) and X-box. He's looking better this evening and had a bit of dinner, so now we'll see.

Amy's displaced abomasum, or Twisted Stomach. I mentioned it briefly before, but not with much detail about the situation. That was an interesting, induction into cow ownership and happened, of course, in the middle of a couple other life insanities. It went something like this.

We'd been getting Amy ready for AI, Lutalyse shots to make sure we had the ovulation day right, when I went out for evening milking to find Miss Amy looking...well she was off. She'd settled in nicely by this point, even shown a little sass. Attacked her food with a healthy dose of gusto. Well there she is, just looking at her grain, nosed a couple of mouthfuls, pushed the alfalfa around but not even breaking the flake open, for the entire milking. Her head was down, something was definitely off. So I wrapped up, and started checking her over right side first...since I'm there already. No cuts, no change of breath smell, eyes look dull but good, her tongue is always dark, gums look good. Over to the left side. Same deal (working head to tail this time), until I hit the pins...she seems a little bloated. Now I did a goat with bloat, I don't like bloat, so now I'm starting to get to worried. So I double check the udder for anything more unusual than her norm, check under her tail and she kindly offers up a stool sample. Normal cow flop, but I've been listening and watching. No burps from either end, well there's something to take note of.
Nothing more that I can really do out here for the time being and it's best to call the vet and see what he has to say.
I wrap it up out at the barn and get back up to the house, talk to J and grab the phone. I'm straining the milk as I dial, no use in wasting it..."Waste not, want not" those old sayings pop up more and more with the face of my Great-grandma. I'll hold it in the fridge until I know whether or not it's safe to drink.
The conversation goes something like this, keeping in mind, our large animal vet doesn't move or talk very fast. I'm sure he can, I just haven't seen him do it yet. He's a fantastic vet though.
"Hi Doc, Amy's not acting well, she's off her feed and ." (such oratory skills I know)
I list off what I've noticed, nothing new she's been eating this batch of grain for about a week, hay is good, in short.....nothing new but the shot. I'm sure I blathered, I blather when I'm out of sorts or worried. I'm also starting to think I'm sounding like a worried hen.
"Yaaa..h.........(oh man, worry levels are going up).........weee..ll......"
We discuss her feed rations.
"Okay, well I'm thinking....she's a dairy cow an'all....sounds to me like a, well commonly known, twisted stomach...
(oh that doesn't sound good, can I not do this right now?! please?)
it's a displaced abomasum..
(that sounds worse, thank you for giving me the other name first).
Odd though, usually we see it in cows on a higher concetrate diet.
(well doc, I hate to break it to you, but 'usual' doesn't hang around here very long)."

The conversation goes on from there, no she's not down at the moment, okay we'll watch her and have you check her in the morning. I'm okay until the word Surgery comes up. My brain climbed into the basket for the rest of the night.
Through the night I check up on her every so often, J stops by and checks on her in the early morning, still not eating and mopey.
I head out at morning milking time, don't see her (please can I not do this right now??), take a breath and walk in. There she is, only now she looks like she should have "Goodyear" painted on her sides. I milk her out, not much there and I'm trying to keep a level head at this point. I brush her a bit and now she's got diarrhea, vet asked about that last night.

At this point I'll add-I worry (probably bordering on paranoid) about being over-reactionary. Am I going to sound like a fretting mother hen?? I'm really worried though and starting to wonder what's with me and milkers??

Another call into the vet, he wants to see her.
We get her up there (it's about a 40 minute drive from here, I'm sayin', he's good). He "pings" her. Thumps her sides and listens with a stethoscope. A displaced abomasum makes a sound similar to hitting a beach ball, it's what he said.
What it is: that part of the stomach normally sits towards the right. Sometimes, usually from diet, it swings itself over to the left and you get a traffic jam in the gut.
Remedy: open her up, put it back and tack it so it stays where it belongs. (Breathe, breathe)
About this time, she pitches another nice little fit. I guess I can't blame her, she looks like the Goodyear blimp, that's got to be uncomfortable and here's this guy who keeps thumpin' on her. So she stepped off the end of the trailer and emits this smell......I can go my whole life without smelling that again (but really, what do you think the odds are?).
He's keeps at his "pinging".
I can't help it, every time he says that I see Cary Grant, making the pinging sounds in a scene from "Operation Petticoat". I probably look like I've lost my mind, I'm trying really hard not to giggle, oh yeah, I also giggle during times of stress (I've hit my stress load by this point)....boy did that get me into trouble when I was a kid!
Verdict is in, it was a displaced abomasum (wait a minute "was" ), but she seems to have put it back herself. Ruling, when she stepped off the end of the trailer, it was enough jog to swing everything back the other way ("Like the pendulum doooo...." my brain goes into a odd place during stress).
He went on to add, cows will do that, sometimes a nice bumpy trailer ride will joggle things back in place. If they ran across a cow that kept at it (displace, place, displace, etc), they'd tack the stomach anyway.
All that and I still got the potato salad made for the Saturday potluck. I was rather proud of that accomplishment, considering I felt like I'd been drug through a knothole sideways, then hit by a mack truck.
"When it rains, it pours."....there goes Gramma again. Maybe I should find a nice, big umbrella.

Well there's the first time for Displaced Abomasum and that's always the worst. ;)

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