The morning chores started out poorly. Our cow Princess was not walking very well. We had noticed during the previous evening chores, she had quite a bit of mud on her backside. We thought she may have taken a tumble back by the spring, she moved like she was a little stiff.
By morning we realized it was more serious. She stood up to eat hay, but only got a couple nibbles before she had to lay down again, and her muscles quivered like she was shivering with cold.
We assumed it was grass tetany.
Princess had delivered a bull calf a little over three weeks ago, about the time that grass tetany would show up. It is caused by a depletion of minerals in the cows body. Having a calf is a trauma to the cow, nursing of the baby draws a lot of energy along with calcium and magnesium, the grass is starting to grow and as the mother eats the richer than usual feed will expel (poop) out nutrients quicker. We have a salt-lick with minerals available in the pasture, but sometimes this is just not enough to keep up with the busy metabolism of the mother.
There was a quick run to the local veterinarian to a bottle of dextrose (sugar water), calcium and magnesium. By the time Mike arrived home with the medicine, Princess was unable to even sit upright, Mike inserted the needle into the abdomen as Princess was laying on her side. The bottle was raised high and a large tube let the fluid drip into her stomach cavity. It only took a couple of minutes to deliver the quart of liquid. The liquid started to give her strength but it was administered too late, the medicine didn’t have enough time to save her. We were left with Duke, her orphaned calf.