Thursday, September 20, 2007
The Blind Calf Story
This happened last month. I thought it was an interesting case.
Wed Aug 15th 2007 8:30 AM: Went out and brought new heifer calf and cow in from field. Not too sure how old calf was; umbilical cord sort of dried up, but calf still seemed damp. Left her with cow all morning ‘til maybe early afternoon, then separated them. Beautiful, normal calf.
6 PM Fed calf bottle. She slugged back the whole thing.
Thurs Aug 16th5:15 AM (approx) Calf comatose. Or as near as I could tell. She was on her side, non-responsive, drooling, head on ground, eyes closed or just barely opened. I tried to feed her bottle but she only swallowed convulsively once or twice, then milk just drained from her mouth.
5:30 AM. Husband went out and looked at her. Drug her out of pen and out of the way to be taken to boneyard later after chores were all done. She was barely breathing and as I said, totally non-responsive.This was a real grief as the cow she came from is a great milker and to get a heifer from her was a joy. But...
12 noon on Thurs. I came home from town and was astonished to see her sitting up looking around.
7 PM. She was very weak, but stood up and drank her whole bottle.
By the next day: She is blind! It is so weird. The calf is totally blind. She seems strong enough, gets up, slurps down her whole bottle, but her eyes are white, clouded over like. (see photo)
For the next two weeks she is blind and we don't bother to put her in a pen. She continues to gain strength and wanders around now, but stays pretty close to the other calves. She does get up and come bumbling toward me when she hears me out feeding them. It is funny to watch her; she walks really cautiously with her head stretched out, when she bumps into something she turns and goes another direction; kind of like one of those windup toys that turn when they hit a wall.
Fast forward to Sept. She has regained her sight and except for a strange opacity about her pupils you can't tell her from the other calves.
My husband thinks it was a fever that made her blind. But it was weird.