What do you do when a cow breaks her leg?


In life often times, shit happens. This is also true on a dairy farm. Sunday morning we were starting to enjoy a sunny and incredibly warm day when I got a text that we had a “Down” cow. A down cow is a cow that for some reason is laying down and wont get up, it is not how you want to start a day. Cows can go down for several reasons. Sometimes it’s because there is a metabolic issue that needs to be corrected, sometimes a cow is ill and doesn’t want to get up and sometimes it’s due to an injury. When a dairy farmer has a down cow it’s a very serious situation and requires a quick diagnosis and treatment. The longer a cow is down the less likely she will ever get up again.

So Sunday morning Ripp the cow was found lying down in the dry cow pen and was unable to get up. Ripp is a dry cow which means that she is currently on vacation from milking. She is due to calve in about 40 days. We had checked the cows Saturday night before bed and all was calm. Sometime during the night Ripp had done something that caused her to break her rear leg. When the dry cows were fed early Sunday morning we got a text from the Herdsman that we had a problem.

This is the situation we found on Sunday morning. The red stuff on her legs is not blood. It is pink marking pain that the cows get when they are dried off and so that no one  milks them by accident. 

We quickly ran through the options of what could be causing her to not want to get up. A pair of eyes was really all we needed to see that she had an injury to her leg. However we weren’t sure the extent of the injury and we were hoping for the best so we called the “float tank guy” in to help. A float tank is like water therapy for cows. It’s a tool that dairy farmers can use to help a cow stand without placing all of her weight on an injured leg. It’s something that generally a farmer doesn’t own themselves because it isn’t used very often. Thankfully there are a few people around the area that will bring out a float tank to your farm and rent them to you. Shortly after we called the “float tank guy” was on his way to our farm to help us get Ripp feeling better.

The tank is pretty light when it’s empty. It’s on wheels so we can get it close to the cow and not have to move her very far.

First step is to put a halter on the cows head and tie the rope to her leg so that we can safely roll her onto the “magic carpet” that will take her into the tank.

It takes lots of hands to make this work.

Once we got Ripp onto the “magic carpet” we hooked a chain to the carpet and slowly winched her into the tank.

Once she is moved into the tank we put the front plate and rear plate in and move her and the tank to a better location.

Once we have the tank positioned we start filling it with water. To make sure she is comfortable and she doesn’t get sick we watch the temperature of the water to make sure it never goes below 80 degrees. The truck that brings the tank also had a very large tank of hot water on it to fill from.

As the water fills the tank, Ripp rises. When the tank is full she is able to stand and use her buoyancy to keep her weight off of the bad leg, helping her to heal. 

Here she is standing up, letting her leg get circulation back without injuring it further.

So in theory we would let her float for several hours. Then we would drain the tank and allow her to lay down and rest. Then if she still couldn’t get up we would float her again. So after we got her settled in brought her some food and water to drink we let her do her thing and just float.

Except when I went back to check on her a few hours later she had decided that even with the water helping her to stand all she really wanted to do was lay down. So she did. I came out to find her bobbing in the tank with only her nose and eyes above water. She had totally given up. We tried to convince her to stand. We added more water to take off more pressure. We tried re-leveling the tank to put her in a better position and nothing seemed to help. Leaving her in the tank wasn’t an option because if her halter were to come loose she would drown. So we drained the tank.

The tank was the best option for her. She refused to cooperate with us.

After we got her out of the tank we were able to determine that her leg was actually broken up near her hip. Putting a cast on a 1200lbs cow isn’t an option. So now we have some very hard decisions to make for her and for her calf. At this point her long term future is bleak.  If we had a way to keep her relatively comfortable for a week or two we could deliver her calf early and humanly put Ripp down. However she is in a lot of pain now and while we have been administering pain medicine to her, a broken leg really hurts. We could have the vet out to perform a c-section to try and save the calf but a calf born this early doesn’t have the best chances.   If we could get her stand for even a few minutes we could have the local butcher come out and harvest her meat. A cow that can’t stand up on her own can not be sold and her meat can not be used for humans. In addition to this she has pain medicine in her system now and meat from an animal that has been treated with these drugs is not allowed into our food system.

So Ripp’s story is a sad one. Not only will we have to put her down later today, she will go to a rendering company. Ripp is one of the Herdsman’s cows. Not only is a loss like this hard because he has raised her since she was a calf. He is also now out her monetary value as well as well as the calf that she is carrying.

Life sure isn’t sunshine and rainbows on the farm. Things like this happen on conventional farms and organic farms. I am telling you Ripp’s story because I want you to know that we value the lives and well being of our dairy cows. When shit happens on a dairy farm we  sometimes end up having to make very difficult choices. However the comfort of our cows and treating them humanly will always be the first priority.

What would you do if you were Ripp’s owner? How would you handle an injury like this?

66 Comments on What do you do when a cow breaks her leg?

  1. Liz
    March 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm (8 years ago)

    Sorry for your loss and if she were my cow (or other animal friend of mine) I would have done the same as you. Try and provide the best medical attention you can and unfortunately in the end you have no choice, but to do the right thing and say goodbye. It really sucks that our animal friends don’t live as long as we do and it’s always hard to say farewell even when we know in our heart of hearts that it’s the best for them.

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks for taking a minute to think about my question and respond. One of the things I strive for with this blog is to have people think through what they hear and come to their own conclusions. 🙂

  2. Natasha Lang
    March 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm (8 years ago)

    So, me not being a farmer, or ever growin up on a farm…. what if you had tried saving the calf? What would be the pros/cons of that VS what you are doing? (I am just curious, as I do not know anything about farming) I am so sorry for your loss of Ripp and the baby. 🙁

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm (8 years ago)

      Great Question! If we had the vet out right now to do a c-section the chance of the calf living would be small but not totally impossible. The cost of the surgery would be a few hundred dollars. It would also be pretty stressful on the cow who is already stressed enough. If the calf lived just like a very premature baby it would need a lot of very intensive care and would quite likely have problems that would affect it’s quality of life down the road. We have not had her put down yet and doing the c-section has not been ruled out yet. We need to decide soon for the sake of the cow but at the same time we are also hoping for a miracle and to have her get up for us.

      • Natasha Lang
        March 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm (8 years ago)

        I am hoping for a miracle too for your guys….. 🙂 Thoughts and prayers during this tough decision.

        • DairyCarrie
          March 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm (8 years ago)

          Thanks Natasha.

    • Shari Thomas
      June 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm (5 years ago)

      To help answer your question, a few years ago, we did a c-section on a downed ewe for a neighbor. We knew she wouldn’t survive, and he put her down first. Working really quickly, so the lambs wouldn’t lose their oxygen supply through the umbilical, we got to each one of the three, who were all gasping for air as we removed their birth sacks.

      Unfortunately, they were about a week too young. One of the last things to develop is the lung. We tried swinging them by their hind legs, helping to force mucous from their throats, doing CPR (actually breathing into their mouths and nostrils), but to no avail.

      Our neighbor lost his ewe, and three lambs that day, but no one will ever say they died from mishandling. We did everything possible for their survival.

      Also, because she had been down for a few days, there was no way she had any real muscle tone left to help get the babies through the birth canal. If I remember, she had some kind of paralysis.

  3. Allison
    March 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm (8 years ago)

    we too farm, I had tears as you told the story. They kind of become your family. Thinking of you all!

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks Allison.

      • sue
        July 16, 2016 at 4:55 pm (3 years ago)

        It is now July 2016 and I am just reading this for thef irst time. I am no help, just so sad for you and your beautiful cow. I absolutely love animals and can’t handle it when they are in such pain. I, too, would pray for a miracle. Makes me cry.

  4. Steph
    March 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm (8 years ago)

    Carrie I know this all to well. It sure is one of the hardest things to have to face on the farm. The only thing that is harder is when you have to decide when to let go a pet cow and have them be sold off to market. 🙁 I know writing this had to be really hard for you, but you did a good job and getting it all out there. Every day a farm is faced with life changing decisions, with little or no time to sit and think about what to do. Do you know how she hurt her leg? Thankfully on a farm there are far more good days than the bad ones!! Nice job getting the story out on the not so bright sun shiny side of farming. We usually try to put a hip clamp on the cow and rise them with the skidsteer a few times a day and let them stand for a while. If after two days no improvement then we have to have them taken care of also. 🙁 Most of the time you already know the outcome, it also helps if the cow is cooperative!! Just have to do the best you can and see what happens.

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm (8 years ago)

      Very true Steph.

  5. Dr. Becky
    March 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm (8 years ago)

    Dear Natasha,
    Thank you for reading Carrie’s posts and commenting. I am a veterinarian and used to work for Carrie’s farm (I’ve since moved, but did enjoy working with her and her cows!).

    A calf taken by cesarean section that early before Ripp’s due date has a slim chance of survival because the natural progression of labor, started and maintained by various hormonal mechanisms I won’t go into here, hasn’t occured. This natural progression is important for a variety of reasons, but the biggest are final stages of lung development. This is a major hurdle to getting a live calf from an induced labor at 5+ weeks before due, as the calf’s lungs will likely not be ready to inflate or do their job of gas exchange. We can try to stimulate the natural progression of labor to occur, but it does not reliably work to get the calf’s lungs ready. Premie calves, if they do live, often fail to thrive and get sick simply from being weak and having a really poor start to life. Since the animal’s purpose is to someday produce and reproduce, this makes the risks to the farm’s return on the initial investment of the c-section even greater. Specialty veterinary hospitals are set up to manage these cases, but it is very expensive to provide this level of care, and the farmer can still be left without the calf in the end.

    As for Ripp, a fractured femur (big leg bone just below the hip) is essentially impossible to repair due to the large size of an adult dairy cow and location of the injury. Even ‘if’ you would bring her in for orthopedic surgery and ‘if’ the fracture could be repaired with a pin & plates (very difficult to impossible due to all the leverage on the upper leg – imagine full leg cast that goes up over her hip!), she would still need to recover. She cannot spend the next 6+ weeks lying down, as her other leg would be injured from the pressure from her 1500 lbs of body weight. She also can’t spend time in a float tank after having had surgery for risk of infection and failure of the wound to close.

    Very sorry to hear of your loss, Carrie. You all did a spectacular job of providing Ripp with the timely comfort and care she needed.

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks Dr. Becky for commenting! You’re a wonderful friend and resource!

    • Natasha Lang
      March 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm (8 years ago)

      Wow, that is interesting. Thank you so much Dr. Becky for responding. Carrie, you always know what to do, and in this case you are doing what is overall best for everyone, even Ripp. God will have some fresh milk in heaven today. We are so sorry for your double loss Carrie. 🙁

  6. Sandra
    March 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm (8 years ago)

    Sorry to hear about Ripp. When we left yesterday after Jack’s “walking” lesson, Elizabeth asked if I thought the cow and the calf were going to make it. I told her I wasn’t sure. She said she didn’t think they would becuase they were in pain and “Carrie would do the right thing.” Yep, sometimes you do have to do the right thing no matter how hard.

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks Sandra and thanks to Elizabeth for trusting us to do what’s right for the animal even if it means that we lose.

  7. Jena
    March 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm (8 years ago)

    You have covered a difficult and sad topic with compassion, just as you are showing Ripp. The right things are not usually the easy things.

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks Jena. Your words are very true.

  8. Tammy
    March 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm (8 years ago)

    I wish there were some type of sling one could secure around Ripp’s midsection to allow her to be suspended which would allow her leg to heal, but fear it might be painful both physically and mentally.

    I imagine Ripp’s owners are doing the right thing as cows are not capable of abstract thought, one cannot explain to her that they are doing the best they can. No one wants to see a life taken, even out of mercy, but it is better than making her suffer. I have never been a fan of making an animal suffer for my enjoyment. Is it possible to be a carnivore yet vehemently opposed to dog racing, horse racing, Hansom cabs, etc?

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm (8 years ago)

      I think it is possible to be a meat eater and yet take issue with the issues you mentioned. I hope that I can be a source for you to ask questions when you want information on the agriculture industry.

  9. Tammy
    March 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm (8 years ago)

    I meant to add that I am so sorry you have to put Ripp down. She is a lovely creature and this is a very difficult thing to do.

  10. Barnyard Barbie
    March 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm (8 years ago)

    I think you did the best thing you could do, for her and her unborn calf–you treated them the best you could and as humanely as possible, not forcing the natural course of what was bound to happen too much (if that makes any sense). It’s so hard to see though–warm thoughts headed your way 🙂

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you. I understand what you mean.

  11. The Queen
    March 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm (8 years ago)

    We can emphathize with you Carrie. No we don’t have milk cows that have names. Our hundreds, even thousands of cattle aren’t even close to being pets or beloved cows that we’ve either raised from babyhood to the present or owned most of their lives. But I can’t tell you how many times my husband has come in from the farm heartbroken, sometimes nearly physically sick, because a calf has broken a leg, got stuck in a feed bunk sometime during the night, found one stuck in a pond…the lengths that he and his cowboys will go to rescue one of the critters is astounding.

    Then the resulting injuries have to be dealt with. I’ve seen him near tears because a calf gets turned around in a chute. Yeah, you guys are the ones that PETA doesn’t want to talk to or hear from. You don’t quite fit their mold of uncaring, brutish, animal abusers that they’re so fond of filming undercover. I wish “they” could walk in your shoes just one day. My husband reminds me that animal husbandry is called that for a reason…God has entrusted livestock to us to care for, respect and love. We are His guardians and we are to do the absolute best job we can. How smart would it be to abuse such creatures…the creatures that we depend on ourselves? Why would we intentionally ignore their illnesses, injuries or day to day care?

    While you hate to see an animal put down, you can have peace in the fact that you did everything you could. Hang in there!

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you for commenting. I want people to know that I am not a special farmer by any means. We all care. We all want what is best for our animals. Big or small.

  12. Jennifer
    March 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing honestly and truthfully about a really difficult decision on the farm. Thanks for caring for animals and being willing to make the tough decisions. I hope the week gets better for you guys!

  13. sarah
    March 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm (8 years ago)

    I had a beef cow that I loved her name was piggy, she had twins a boy and girl the boy wad refused by her and he died in one day as we couldn’t get him to nurse or drink from the bottle and we forced fed him as well, the mom then was found dead a week later, prob retained placenta and became septic. I fed and love her calf I named raven, she had pneumonia 2 times. IM shots, facial infection and then a large hernia I had fixed and then a hemorrhage. Then I ran her daily fought with her do she could go in with the others eventually and protect herself. She was sterile therefore I couldn’t keep her for a replacement and after she was 1.5 years old she had to be sold and off to the market, I cried and couldn’t even go see her that day, this is s very though business, it pulls on our heart strings hard, love you RAVEN!

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm (8 years ago)

      The bond we have with our animals sure is strong. Thanks for sharing your story.

  14. chris
    March 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm (8 years ago)

    I personaly would of done the same thing try my best to save her and the calf but like u said she was in pain and really couldnt walk on it and there is no way a cast or that tank would be any sort of thing to do because one the haulter in the tank and the cast on a 1200lb animal is unlikely going to work so what u did was the best choice on a dairy farm I am a Ag student and I have learned alot on cattle in my livestock class, beef class, and my animal science class so just reading this is one thing that I have learned i never knew about the tank because I am a crop farmers daughter only.

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm (8 years ago)

      Glad I could share some new knowledge with you. Good luck in school!

  15. Nileen
    March 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm (8 years ago)

    those days are so rough…a few weeks ago we had a cow have a rough delivery(lost the calf) which somehow resulted in injury to her rear leg…after over a week of bringing food and water out to her and rolling her back and forth etc etc… we were also unable to get her to stand again and also had to make that same sad decision…im newer to dairy farming – marrying a farmer… days like this are hard to get used to but i dont think any number of years will make it easier… wishing you comfort on the days of difficult decisions!

    • DairyCarrie
      March 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you. I also married into dairy farming and I agree these decisions are something you never get used to.

  16. Wisconsin farmer
    March 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm (8 years ago)

    I feel bad for you guys this plain sucks as im a dairy farmer also and usually happen to the best cows it seems for some odd reason you guys are trying everything that you can I feel for you as its Monday now and we had a very good first calf heifer go into labor this morning as I tried everything I couldn’t get the calf to come out as I ended up calling the local vets office they came out and feared the worst right away a torn uterus as they could not deliver the calf normal either they decided to do a c section as they open her up the worst was realized as she had a torn uterus beyond repair so got the calf out but did not make it as it dead already so as they sewed here up basically she was a dead cow standing pretty much out of option she was not bleeding from the torn uterus but just cannot live with that so as options ran through my head I didn’t want her to go to waste being she could walk and still look very well I called the local butcher shop as they came out and butchered her it sucks was mad the rest of the day as it was not what I had planned this morning a typical example that farmers face all kinds of challenges every day and we all try our hardest to save everything we can do no matter what it takes in most cases so as we milked tonight we had another cow give birth to a healthy heifer calve so I guess I could say as I lost one I got a gift of a new one to replace it so I hope the best for you guys as I know what your going through hang in there.

  17. Michele @ Broxton Cattle Company
    March 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm (8 years ago)

    We had a similar situation with a cow who broke her leg one night. The break was up near the hip and she was in a lot of pain. We have a great vet and he came right out. Ultimately, we had to put her down. Her calf was “adopted” by the rest of the cows and is doing well. So sad, but part of farm life. We just try to make injury and illness as rare as possible.

  18. cowboyrich
    March 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm (8 years ago)

    Carrie, I know what all you’re going through with this ordeal. A few years ago, our favorite cow had complications during calving. After pulling the calf, she got really bad and could not get up. We ended up having to put her down, but not before spending several hundred dollars in veterinary fees and medication. We were able to save the calf and raised it on the bottle. Farming isn’t all EIEIO everyday and sometimes hard decisions have to be made. I wish you the best of luck with your farm operation!

  19. Eddie Borst (@eddieborst)
    March 20, 2012 at 8:30 am (8 years ago)

    Carrie, I read this post yesterday and as always your way of writing and sharing information, is a gift of yours. It is great to see the support of seasoned farmers and cowboys that also share their experiences. Best of all though is that consumers and Ag students are learning about important issues that are the reality of running a farm as a business, making sound and humane decisions. It is something to be proud of, Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work.

  20. sherri
    March 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm (8 years ago)

    you only had one option after everything you tried. as a former dairy farmer your post evoked that pit of the stomach sick feeling i recall during times like this. sorry for your emotional and economic loss.

  21. christine
    March 22, 2012 at 11:44 am (8 years ago)

    I am thankful for your taking the time to share this heart breaking story about a cow named Ripp. Learning about some of the hardships that can come caring for farm animals is new to me. I am very sorry what happened to Ripp and have compassion on those who had some really hard decisions to make that day.

    What stood out to me was how I wanted to share this story with my children to broaden their appreciation of farm life and have some discussions about how we care for animals, but I kept running into a profane word. This word, for me, didn’t add to the story but distracted and subtracted.

    Some people may think Sh** is not a bad word. Television and movies tell us this repeatedly. More and more, our society accepts this and perhaps even one day, it may be considered an intelligent and proper word selection to use in our culture. Imagine a world where little children use this world regularly as they would the word dog or house.

    If we don’t take a stand now in the little things, they will eventually become big deals that overpower. Please consider making simple changes for the good of impressionable hearts that are the future of our world and society. Hollywood isn’t our “god” and we are not as powerless to what comes in our future as is often portrayed. Regardless, our vocabulary is expansive enough to purposefully select words that keep heart felt stories such as this completely clean and accessible to every person.


    • DairyCarrie
      March 22, 2012 at 11:50 am (8 years ago)

      Hi Christine,
      Thank you for commenting and expressing your opinion. I tend to write the same as I talk in real life and to be honest, the sh** word rolls off my tongue without much thought. When you spend a large portion of your day covered in, hauling, pushing and shoveling manure I think you tend to absorb the synonyms for it quickly.
      That being said, I do hope you share this story with Ripp and explain to the kids that I apologize for the language, the situation has me frustrated and I could have chose my words more carefully.
      Thanks for reading!

  22. christine
    March 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm (8 years ago)

    Thank you for your honest, open and genuinely kind reflection to my comments. It is appreciated and most refreshing.

    I sympathize for you concerning the difficult course of events surrounding Ripp and her baby calf. I wholeheartedly believe, with God, all things have the potential to become something good in our lives. I hope, pray and believe this for you and your farm in exponential form (Romans 8:28) http://bible.cc/romans/8-28.htm


    • DairyCarrie
      March 23, 2012 at 11:57 am (8 years ago)

      Thank you Christine, I appreciate your comments as well. It’s a good reminder to me to watch my words.

      Take care.

  23. Nguthi joseph kagechu
    August 10, 2012 at 2:02 am (7 years ago)

    My mums cow, about to deliver, has been down for the third day. Solution?

    • dairycarrie
      August 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm (7 years ago)

      I’m not a vet and without knowing exactly what is going on I really can’t say what to do. I hope she is ok!

  24. Waseem Akram
    February 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm (7 years ago)

    Hi dairycarrie! We are facing a similar situation and i came to your blog after searching “treatment of a cow’s broken leg” in google…… My father in law is a senior vet in Pakistan and his cow has rear left broken leg for last 2 days….. Cow has a calf to deliver in 10 days from now….. I am very sad as my father in law has just told me on phone that there are very few chances that the cow would recover from this tragedy…. May God help our cow to recover and may God give high ranks to your cow in paradise….. Thanks for sharing this idea of floating tank… I will share it with my father in law.

  25. Magda
    April 26, 2013 at 11:52 pm (7 years ago)

    Thank you so much for sharing Ripps condition, it has been a source of help to me because I just left “La Gringa”, a beautifull Holstein cow that has produced several calves and unfortunately steped in a hole and broke her leg the same as Ripps below the hip.

    It seemed so sad not to be able to do much for her, she was eating and drinking for the first couple of days and just lying down, the farm is in Central America and when I returned state side your article was very helpful, as La Gringa’s condition is very similar to Ripps, she too is soon to calf and I thought that perhaps if this had been in the US there would have been a better solution, as I felt so helpless there.

    It has been now about 8 days and I was told that she is no longer wanting to eat and has given up, the only help has been giving her pain medication and intraveneous. It probably hurts us so to see them suffer so, that one can understand why we have heard that some have resorted to shooting them. Farming is a very difficult and heart wrenching, but nonetheless a great way of life!

    My most sincere sympathy DairyCarrie.

  26. Sloane Michelle Sanders
    February 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm (6 years ago)

    I really enjoy reading your blog, Carrie, and this one hit real close to home for my mom and I. We had a show cow a few years back named Jane. She was the family pet, and we would all go out to the farm to visit her on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. One winter, Jane got out of her group, and wandered into the feed aisle. Because it was so cold, the feed lane was pretty much all ice, and Jane went down. She was split out when one of the milkers found her. They tried everything to help her, but nothing seemed to work, so my mom and step dad had to make the tough call to put her to sleep. It’s never easy to put down one of our babies, but it’s much better than watching them suffer.

  27. Jill
    January 27, 2015 at 10:04 pm (5 years ago)

    I think you did good. I’m having a similar problem with my cow. Broke his back leg yesterday don’t want to kill him. Trying everything to help him but it’s not looking good right now

  28. jassi
    February 15, 2015 at 6:37 pm (5 years ago)

    My cow rear leg injured and I don’t know what can I do now,bcz veterinary doctor said me no treatment rear leg,I think cow injured hip side.
    If you have any experience what can I do now plz tell me.

  29. Dr. Ashok Patil
    March 13, 2015 at 6:04 am (5 years ago)

    Carrie, you did everything possible to save her. What appeals me is your compassion towards the cow is beyond doubt. We have to accept whatever comes to our way but untiredly making efforts all the way is human excellence. You did it well.

    Our cow at farm is down for last 3 days we are also trying to get her standing – we hope to get success

  30. mala
    April 6, 2015 at 4:21 pm (5 years ago)

    I found one of our calves this morning caught in the gate so called my grampy as I am not strong enough to do anything alone. Once he has freed her you could tell it was definately broken luckily it was the lower part of her leg. It was a clean break, it was rather distressing to see. The vet came out and casted her up but im not sure she will survive. Freak accidents happen but I guess you just have to do what is right. I would have done what you did. Its only fair on both mummy and calf.

    • mala
      April 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm (5 years ago)

      I even light heartedly asked the vet if amputating was an option but with such a beast of an animal, it, I hate to say it wouldnt be worth all the trouble because I believe it would and could cause multiple problems down the line. Never have I seen a 3 legged cow.

  31. Deneane Glazier -Ashcraft
    September 16, 2015 at 2:27 am (4 years ago)

    I’m a dairyman. Goats. I would have done the same. Would have gotten the vet as soon as she was noticed as downer to diagnose the break and would have had her euthanized at that point. Basically no hope for a calf or set of kids at that point of gestation. Do what needs to be done. Cry a bucket of tears while milking the living. Life as a small dairy. Some days are not easy.

  32. Nancy
    September 16, 2015 at 5:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Although you clearly provide the best care you can for the cows you own all the sadness and tears cannot make up for turning these innocent sentient beings into commodities to be used then sent to slaughter after they are used up. I truly wish all would choose a path of complete compassion for all living sentient being. Allow them to live free and free from human harm. Let them come into the world in their own time, in their own way, to have a complete existence, not an existence ended abruptly or seen as lesser beings because they are not human.

  33. Timothy Miller
    October 12, 2015 at 11:59 am (4 years ago)

    Maybe I missed it in the comments above. But why, if caught right away is the meat from a downed (injured not sick) cow not fit for human consumption? I’ve known many farmers to fill their freezers with this type of beef for their own use.
    I understand not being sold.

    • dairycarrie
      October 12, 2015 at 12:26 pm (4 years ago)

      After the outbreak of “Mad Cow Disease” laws were passed to make it illegal to process any cow that could not stand up. So any butcher is no longer allowed to process a down cow. However, if a farmer was to butcher a down cow themselves, for their own freezer, I don’t think it would be illegal.

  34. pankaj jaswal
    October 25, 2015 at 1:21 pm (4 years ago)

    Two days back My cow got fallen from a small hill and she got injured now she is unable to get up .Her front legs are working properly but rear one leg seems to be damaged or dislocated from hip joint…i am very much upset as she is one of our family member we have started to take care off her since her birth.
    this is very painfull when a animal got serious injued u feel helpless.we have consulted a doc. but they are saying we can give few injection for pain only….plz help me with any treatment .kindky help me out…

  35. Candyapplesam
    January 25, 2016 at 8:40 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m sure it was a hard decision to make. I’m in no way educated about a cows anatomy.. But at 37 weeks I broke my foot & had to have surgery on it.. Wouldn’t surgery be an option instead of death? Or isolating her to properly care for her? Have you ever broken your leg or foot bones? You naturally do not want to stand if the break is bad.. And within 6-8 weeks the bones are naturally healed with the right nutrition. However the break determines how long you should be non weight bearing. In my case it’s 12 weeks. I can’t imagine being killed along with my child because I broke my foot.. I’m sorry to come off harsh.

    • dairycarrie
      January 25, 2016 at 8:44 pm (4 years ago)

      I have also broke my leg. I’m sorry you’re dealing with that.
      A cow could have surgery to repair her leg but the problem would be with her recovery. A cow weighs around 1500lbs and her body isn’t designed to hold up that much weight on 3 legs. When a cow lays down for too long she will have a very difficult time standing again so she can’t just say laying down for the time it takes to heal.

  36. kritika
    February 29, 2016 at 12:18 am (4 years ago)

    Hey my cow had the same case …so what should I do now … will she be able to get up again or she will die the way this cow died ..

  37. kritika
    February 29, 2016 at 12:23 am (4 years ago)

    Doctor is saying she before had paralysis and now she had broken her hip bone ..today it had been too long .. 20 days has past n I cn see tears in my cow’s eyes..plz tell what the best I can do

  38. Dr. Ravi Panwar
    June 28, 2016 at 9:55 am (3 years ago)

    The same thing has been happened with my cow too about six years ago. It was really very painful for me and my family. But sometimes things are not in our hands. we have tried our level best to recover her but everything vanished at last.

  39. Joanne
    August 10, 2016 at 9:42 am (3 years ago)

    I raise highlands. Just lost my 3 1/2 month old steer I tube fed for 8 days before he caught on to the bottle. I let him out about two weeks ago to be a big boy with the herd. One cow (she is with a calf on her) was out to push him around. Found him with his front hoof sore. Locked him up in the barn. Gave him his favorite treat of an apple. Let him rest. Next day still in same spot I left him in. Got him up knowing laying there so long wasn’t good. Didn’t want an apple. Grinding teeth. Won’t use back leg. Left him to relax. Finished chores. He’s leaning on wall resting with eyes almost shut. Won’t lay down. Let him relax. Went back to check on him before work. Laying dead. Can they die of shock? Or maybe he had more injuries I did know about. What do you think?

  40. Judith Lello
    November 12, 2016 at 7:17 am (3 years ago)

    Know how you feel. In Tasmania Australia. Have a pb black galloway bull atm with what i believe to be broken lower rear leg after a slip down a slope.. Been 4 weeks now on 3 legs rear being held up by him.and he is staying under a big myrtle tree . being hand watered and hand fed. Today is putting foot down on ground trying to use it. Giving him the benefit of doubt as he is a v quiet valuable bull. Have saved a cow before finally found with calving paralysis and prolapse. Dead calf. Near dead cow. Bulldozer to clear trees then on plastic then dragged with 4 wd 200 m up to house. Nursed over 8 weeks to stand.. hard work dedication and free phone advice from vet went on to calve again. Having livestock comes with it the ability and responsibility to euthanize when necessary. We try tho as you did. Win some lose some.