The Front-Seat Calf
About two weeks ago, we had a heifer on our dairy who was acting under the weather. It is easy to tell when a cow or heifer is not feeling well because they often droop their ears and head. To get this little one to feel better we tried feeding her more regularly to keep her hydrated and gave her a few different types of medicine, but she wasn’t responding. A couple mornings later, she had a hard time getting up, and my dad could tell she was dehydrated and needed an IV. Just a few week’s old, this young heifer’s veins would be difficult to find, so we needed a professional’s help.
Our usual vet was already out on a call that morning, so we called our cousin who has a small animal veterinary clinic not to far from where we live, and he encouraged us to bring her in. Not wanting to waste any time, we loaded our baby girl into the front seat of the truck so we could get her to the vet’s office as quickly as possible. She was so tired that she laid on the floor of the truck the whole way there. At the vet clinic we got lots of attention. It is not very often that you see a calf in the small animal clinic, and everyone pulled out their phones to snap pictures. As soon as the vet took her in, he was able to put an IV in and get her hydrated. We left her there for a few hours, and when we came back she was standing and had improved tremendously. The vet said that she had responded well to the IV, she drank some milk, and that we were free to take her home.
My dad and the vet put her back into the front seat of the truck for the ride home, but now that she had some pep, she refused to lay down on the floor of the truck. Instead she stood in the cab with her bum against the passenger door and her nose almost touching the steering wheel. Excited to be headed home, she proceeded to lick my dad and the steering wheel! I keep my arms around her to keep her from falling. While driving back to our farm through town we got a lot of strange looks. Some people pointed and others honked and waved. It was fun to see all of the people we made smile with our silly little calf.
Once back at the farm, we set up a new pen full of sawdust so she would be warm and clean. After her long day and ride around town, she was tired and crawled right into her house for a good nap. (We did have to squirt the floor of the truck out with the hose because she had to go potty while she was on her ride, but it was an easy clean up.) I was excited when later that day I fed her a pint of milk and she drank it all. Still living in her own little house, she is doing well and has continued to improve each day. It is now two weeks later and she is back to being a happy, healthy baby girl and we couldn’t be happier.
Dairy farmers would do anything to keep their cows and heifers healthy. We work consistently with vets and nutritionists who visit our farm to make sure our whole herd is doing well. Just like with people, we do everything we can to prevent our animals from getting sick, but sometimes we still have one get sick. When that happens, its all hands in to get her feeling better. We love our babies, and we do everything in our power to keep them happy and healthy.