Last night, we went out to the barn for milking and I knew from the start that something was wrong with Frances. She didn’t want to come in the gate and that’s beyond unusual. There was dinner waiting.
Furthermore, she was breathing heavily and rapidly.
I got her milked, she ate her dinner. Milk supply was normal. I took her temperature. It was 100.3 F, which is on the low side for a cow (normal is around 101.5 F). And when we were finished and let her out of the stanchion, she didn’t want her alfalfa hay. She just stood there, breathing.
So I went to the house, got my stethoscope and called Jason, who came out about 20 minutes later. In the meantime, I listened to her chest even though cow lungs are in a weird place compared with people lungs and I honestly wasn’t sure where to get the best sound.
Jason got there, listened to her briefly, and said, “She has pneumonia.”
We just did this two months ago.
I was afraid that’s what it was.
So, we had to make a decision. Either Jason could give her some intramuscular penicillin and probably have to repeat it for two or three days, and she would slowly get better (maybe), or we could spend the big bucks and get the 12-year-old vet out here.
We knew he could bring the big guns (prescription only) and she’d be much better in just hours, not days.
We called the vet.
He came out about three hours later and poor Frances suffered the indignity of having a prong thing put in her nose (literally tongs) to tie her head so she wouldn’t move while he gave her not only a nice powerful IV antibiotic but also IV Banamine. That’s a livestock pain medication, something like Ibuprofen, and it’s great stuff. Given IV, it makes them feel better really fast.
He also gave me a brief lesson in listening to cow lungs. Interestingly, cow lungs are tiny. They are located way the hell up in the upper chest, and are about half the size of horse lungs. This, of course, is why Frances cannot run in the Kentucky Derby.
He said that I did well by realizing she was ill so rapidly, that she didn’t have a fever because she simply hadn’t been sick long enough to develop one, and also that she was probably going to be more susceptible to this going forward than she has been in the past.
This means that except on very nice summer nights, she gets to be in the barn at night, which made Dave sob with grief, as she does massive amounts of poopy. But cleaning up some cow shit is cheap compared with vet visits.
By this morning, she was looking way better. Not perfect, but a lot better. She hadn’t eaten a bite of hay all night, which worried me a little bit, but overall, she looked better.
The light splotches on her side are shavings from her bedding last night. She slept comfy.
It was a pretty, sunny day and she made a beeline for the pasture and immediately went head-down and grazing which was a good thing to see.
So, we came back to the barn tonight for milking. At 5 p.m., it’s pretty much dusk here, and Dave didn’t realize that I hadn’t brought her in yet, so he dumped the two little boys’ grain in the feeder, opened the gate and Frances came barreling in with them, literally knocked them out of the way and ate all their grain.
She ate all the little boys’ grain and pushed them out of the way to do it.
I fixed her ass, though.
I simply removed an equivalent amount from her dinner pail and dared her to complain, and Dave fed the boys again.
She doesn’t have the slightest idea. She thinks she got away with it.
Keep in mind that Frances gets 12 cans (about one pound each) of grain a day, six at each milking. The two little boys get one can daily each. One can. And she took that from them, and they are babies.
Do you understand why she refuses to look at the camera?
I regret to inform you that we have realized that Frances is a Republican. A Republican who feels a whole hell of a lot better than she did at this time last night.