Mandible mayhem

WARNING: This post may be graphically upsetting to some! (Consider yourself warned)


No, it may not be a pretty sight.

Well, actually, it’s not that bad, just makes you feel a little bad for the poor thing.

Here’s the scoop: on Easter Sunday Boss Man’s amazing sister and her husband were out helping Mark with a few of our sick calves. Sick calves happen sometimes, but we wanted to have an expert’s opinion (or opinions in this case) and wanted to make sure that the treatment protocol was correct. (Did I mention that my wonderful sister-in-law and her husband are BOTH veterinarians? We are so very, very blessed!)

While out in the lot, looking at the calves that weren’t feeling so hot, they came across one that seemed to be a bit more out of sorts than the others. And quickly realized that this calf was in need of help.

broken jaw, veterinarian, healing a calf

The calf is sedated (which is why it looks so loopy) and the x-ray showed what the vets knew to be true, the jaw is broken.

So, our vets took over and loaded the calf and the cow up in our trailer and hauled it the 2 1/2 hours to their office. And there they did an amazing job fixing it up, so that within a few weeks this calf will be completely healed.

broken jaw fixed on calf

The calf is still sedated, but the jaw is now aligned and secured to heal. Notice the feeding tube, so that proper nutrition can be maintained.

The feeding tube was placed so that we can make sure that the calf is getting all the nutrition that it needs. It’s free to suck from the cow if/when the calf is up to it, but all healing needs proper nutrition. Every day, Boss Man milks the cow by hand, and feeds the rest of the milk to the calf through this tube.

You may be wondering what happened to cause the break, and although we didn’t see it happen, we can about guess. It appears as if the calf was kicked by one of the cows. Now, it could have been its own mother, not liking something that was happening when the calf was sucking, or perhaps the calf was trying to suck off another cow and ended up kicked? We’ll never know for sure, but all we needed to know was that the calf needed help.

So, is the calf sickly and moping? Does it spend its days in the barn? Not at all. Its outside, enjoying the spring air on the farm, coming in at night to be fed and rest in the barn. It is in a more secluded pen, but there are other calves and cows with it.

calf with broken jaw

This calf is now ready to come back to the farm, all fixed up! We’ll be keeping an eye on it, making sure healing progresses, and recheck in a few weeks!

As you can see, the calf is perky and was ready to make the trek back home. Isn’t it amazing what can be done?

I want to really thank our wonderful vets for taking such amazing care of our herd, even from so many miles away. I know just how lucky we are to have such a great team.

And don’t worry, I’ll keep you up-to-date on the progress of this calf. It already looks a ton better, just from the swelling going down!

As you can see, we go the extra mile to make sure our cattle (and calves) are cared for…but we’re open to answer any questions you may have, so ask away!

5 thoughts on “Mandible mayhem

  1. Wow, you are lucky to have vets in your family! Ive heard they dont have as many rural ones due to the economy. Would the cow have died if you hadn’t found it fast enough, and do cows need other cows around, we drove past one that was in a field all by itself? Thats good the baby will be good to go soon.

    • Yes, Sunnie, we are VERY lucky!

      Actually, this was the calf that was injured, the cow was fine, just wondering why her udder wasn’t being emptied! And yes, the calf would have probably died from malnutrition, from not being able to eat due to the injury and swelling.

      There are not as many vets in rural areas, not just because of the economy, but sometimes it’s “easier” to be a small-animal vet in urban areas. Better hours, smaller animals, which all adds up to more money…sometimes. We’re grateful for every vet we have, especially those that are family!

      And cows CAN be by themselves (you may have seen a bull, which does tend to do better alone), but having at least a few together helps keep them out of trouble…sometimes.

  2. Great job explaining this! I applaud you for using these photos. People need to understand the reality of livestock. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about your animals it’s just a fact of life that animals get sick, injured and sometimes die. In my opinion our recent culture/society has put too much emphasis on sensitivity to animals. Many people care more about animals then they do about humans. Seeing pictures of a dead horse or dog is more traumatic then a picture of a dead human. I strongly feel this has to do with Hollywood and the media industry. It is what it is and that industry isn’t going to change. What you are doing is so important (keep it up), which is getting your story out there and sharing your “real” life experiences with the rest of the world that don’t get a chance to see or hear about rural life. Thank you for taking the time to share your story!

  3. Pingback: Animal care – it’s what we do…an update | Wag'n Tales

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