Twice in the last week Lady Astor has become bloaty. The bloat is indicated by her left side – her grass side – popping out high and round. So round that her hip bone disappears. When you tap on it it feels like a drum.

Lat nights episode was worse than the first. It took a good couple of hours of walking and massaging her side for the gases to escape. Of course this is not always the case with all cows. This condition can be lethal. Lady’s care was only mild.  Some need a sharp instrument or a catheter to be punched in through their side to release the gas or a hose down her throat. Oil down the throat. Every farmer has her own remedy.

Luckily I caught it early.  I am not experienced in any of these procedures and it was Sunday evening and so we walk. Every time I left her, to quickly attend to a chore, she would lie down again but she was just resting while lay – not chewing her cud. Just lying there. At one point she would not get up so I went and got the lemon grass fly repellent. She hates that stuff and so we walked for quite some time with me brandishing the aerosol at her every time she stopped.

Soon she began to burb – great long belches that I could hear  and feel rolling up from her belly and after a while the gases were escaping from both ends and she and I were much relieved.

Now I have to cycle carefully through any changes to her diet to work out what is causing this. The only change is the new hay that she is eating while she milks. Though I don’t think she eats enough to be a bother I will shift her back to the older hay. Greener  alfalfa can cause bloat (though usually not in grass fed animals) but only if an animal eats a fair quantity of it. Which she is not. Mostly she eats cabbage and kale mixed with hay at milking time.

The fields have no new legumes in them as they wind down for the year. So it is not that.

She is off kilter, with her udder not being the healthiest at the moment, so I think her whole system is down a bit. She was OK in the night and I will keep her on rougher feed for a while until she is back in order.

The White Rock chickens continue to slowly grow. 

You would think Alex has permanent bloat; she is so round. But it is only her body shape. And both sides are round, not the one bloaty side, or the one baby side. She is just well fed bless her. 

Sunset through the wild garden.

I guess over in this hemisphere we have to start getting used to getting up in the dark again. Starting our mornings before the sun.  Sigh. I am not an Autumn person.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love celi.

WEATHER: Sunny and warm. This Nor’East is keeping us settled and cool. I think the hot weather is over now. What there was of it.

Monday 09/11 0% / 0 in
Sunshine to start, then a few afternoon clouds. High near 75F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph.

Monday Night 09/11 10% / 0 in
A few clouds. Low 52F. Winds light and variable.

6:29 am 7:08 pm
Waning Gibbous, 70% visible 10:46 pm 12:11 pm


37 Comments on “THE SCARY BLOAT

  1. I am hugely enjoying the vision of you and Lady A strolling along in conversation, punctuated by loud burps and farts, with the occasional threatening gesture of the lemongrass bottle. It cannot have been at all funny, but you tell it so well!

    • I was not too worried while she still walked- she got annoyed with TonTon st one point – getting in her way and chased him off- I took that as a good sign

  2. My daughter’s horse had it once and we had to call the vet. Was very scary. Due to a weed that had got into the feed.

  3. Yeah been there done that walk with a colicy horse, usually in the pissing rain in the middle of the night while the vet is still away somewhere. Also some change of season clover in hay. Hope she is ok today. Laura

  4. I am glad Lady Astor feels better. It is possible that a weed has gotten in the hay that you did not see. Did she eat only from one bale? If you still have any of that bale, I’d separate it out and see if there are any unfamiliar plants in it. Something that helped with bloated cows for us was getting the front of the animal higher than the back. The steeper the better. Usually took two people, one to hold the cow and one to massage but sometimes one could do it. To clarify, most of our cows were broke to lead. We had a really steep road ditch we used. But anything you can provide that allows them to get that angle to help the gas move. I’ve been told that is why feedlots often have a mound in them. Have used a hose a few times, that is a bit nerve racking. Once had to use the catheter, that was scary, but she was dying at the time we found her that morning and it worked with no ill effects. Other than a couple of animals that seemed to be born with the tendency to bloat, most of the others were caused by a plant that made its way into the hay or getting to much fresh green fodder in the spring.
    On another note, on the local morning weather segment of Doggone Weather the dog featured looked like Boo Boo’s twin. His name was Larry. The only difference I could see was he had cropped, pointy ears.

  5. So relieved. I hope you discover the culprit. The last two shots are beautiful! Love that sunset over the wildflowers and dear curly-haired Alex. What a bonnie lass she is.

  6. I am not an autumn person either. But photos like your “Sunset Through Wild Garden” reminds me of why I can love autumn. I still think of your long-ago comment about laying in the woodland leaves. They’re beginning to fall fairly quickly here now.

  7. I’ve had some scary bloat in sheep a few times. No fun. Wonderful to hear that she is doing better today. Lovely photos as always! (And yes, I love that Alex! What a cutie!)

  8. You are really on top of this! Who knew bloat occurred in cows too. And they have 4 stomachs, right? Four times the chances of a twister!! God help us!! I love the deep concern of TonTon. Great face!

    Bloat is very scary. Our Dobe–shepherd mix, Sammy, got it. I knew what it was and got him to the vet pronto. Sam was 13 at the time, suffering from degenerative nerves in his back legs. I did not want to put him through an operation and thought it was best to put him down. It broke my heart but I knew in my heart it was the right decision. This was 1998 and I still cry about him.
    A stray puppy, he was dodging morning rush hour traffic on Western Avenue in Chicago. I scooped him up, he turned and licked my face, so we went home together. Best thing I ever did…along with Emily, another stray my husband scooped up off the street three years earlier and took home. She lived to be 15. Our Benji.

  9. Poor Lady Astor. I know now when I eat something with a particular ingredient — even in “trace quantities”, I can develop that same “bloat”. I have never needed fly spray to be motivated to walk, but I recognize that same “signal” that things are mending. Perhaps she is allergic (mildly, or otherwise?) to a chemical that might have been used on the new hay?

    • It is my own hay – no chemicals – I am leaning towards a weed either in that bale or in the field. Poor you getting the bloat! Whats your remedy – or do I want to know?

  10. Poor Astor. Cabbage and Kale are both brassicas, known to cause gas buildup in lots of mammals. Brassicas are recommended you take extreme caution with for rabbits because bloat is lethal in rabbits (they can’t burp!) so feeding them can be fatal. I wonder if they could be related to her problems?

  11. Glad she found some relief with your help. poor thing. Fall is in the air for sure. Sorry it’s dark when you get up now.

  12. While I generally like the fall I really hate the dark. I guess I could never last in Alaska! The older I get, the less I can tolerate the heat. I’ve had the misfortune of losing 3 horses to colic despite a lot of walking and vet visits. They were all somewhat aged so not candidates for surgery, one was the night after an ice storm and one was the night of a blizzard. Heartbreaking all the same, they had all owned me for a long time.

  13. Not an autumn person? But it’s the

    Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

    (In your favor though, Keats probably didn’t get up until 10:00 a.m. or 11:00. And if he ever spent time on a farm, it was no doubt mostly a matter of looking and gushing.)

  14. Autumn is such a great month with its warm days & cool nights, the colored landscapes, and the late afternoon shadows. There’s much more to love but all of it, in my mind, is negated by season that follows — sometimes having the audacity to get here early. If we could just go from fall to spring and leave winter out of the picture entirely, I do believe the world would be a better place.

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