How this farmer used a few cans of stout to get a sick cow back on her feet
The art of stockmanship or herding cannot be underestimated in my book. Even in the summer when grass is plentiful and stock are happy one never knows what is around the corner. Two weeks ago near the end of the hot spell of weather I noticed a cow a little off form with herself one morning.
At the time I was unable to pinpoint the problem as it had been a busy day on the farm and I was unable to spend too much time observing her. It was a very hot morning and I presumed she was just under a little pressure.
Later in the day I returned for another look and found cow number 353 was no better and her condition had deteriorated further.
This was a head scratcher. I looked at the other cows and they seemed happy and all were grazing and contented. Just then the sick cow decided to urinate and there and then the problem dawned on me. It was a case of Redwater caused by a parasite Babesia divergens transmitted by ticks.
While her water was just coloured she was quite sick and under pressure. Old pasture is sometimes blamed for the condition but we haven't had a problem with it for over 15 years and 90pc of the farm has been reseeded. Back 25 years ago a summer would never pass by without one or two cases of Redwater. I had nearly forgotten about this disease, but it just shows anything is possible when dealing with animals.
As she was in the field beside the sheds I decided to walk her back to the yard for treatment. This was slow and at times I had my doubts about her prospects of surviving.
I knew from before that Redwater is a disease that needs to be treated in time if there is to be a positive outcome. I made a quick call to the vet club and we decided to treat with Imizol and Alamycin for three days. I then placed her in a straw bedded shed with her calf to relax with a fresh supply of water.
A couple cans of Guinness were also given to the cow along with some secret homemade remedies to help replenish the iron in her body.