CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Country Smallholding today CLICK HERE

What is wrong with my cow?

PUBLISHED: 17:58 25 April 2014 | UPDATED: 21:07 29 April 2014

Q - I have a Highland cow, who is breathing heavily. She is currently feeding a  calf. She is eating well, with no other signs or symptoms,  although she is perhaps a bit listless. My cattle are inside, but the shed has two full open sides,  so there is plently of fresh air. She  has ad lib silage and water and  has feed once a day. Do you have  any idea why she should be  breathing heavily? All other cows are fine.

A- Heavy breathing either implies a respiratory problem, cardiovascular problem or blood imbalance.  Being indoors is a risk factor for  pneumonias as the stocking density increases.

The stress of calving causes a dip in immunity and makes an animal more prone to pneumonias. Outbreaks of pneumonias are commonly either associated with youngstock or the  introduction of a 'novel' pathogen to a unit (disease causing virus or bacterium), however, individualadults under enough pressure can succumb to pneumonia. Pus is not always seen from the discharges of the nose as the infection could be deep into the lungs. Other explanations could be that the cow has traumatic rumenoreticuloperitonitis – that is a wire or sharp foreign body that a cow could have consumed.

Under the abdominal strains of calving, this could pierce through the rumen or reticulum (first two stomachs of a cow) and penetrate
into the lungs - although I would expect the cow to be lethargic
with this.

It could be a cardiovascular problem - heart abscess on the  valves, heart murmur or arrhythmia. Anything causing anaemia will cause increased breathing. Any blood disturbances caused by things
like kidney problems (more common in older cows) or liver disease will also cause increased breathing rates. It is best to get in touch with your local vet to make a diagnosis.


Do you have an email welfare query? If so, send it to Jenny at vetsforum.csh@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Interact with other smallholders and post your questions

Visit our forums


More from Livestock

Friday, September 7, 2018

Caring for pregnant livestock can tax even the most experienced smallholder. Tim Tyne discusses how to look after expectant ladies and spot the warning signs when something is amiss

Read more
September 2018
Friday, September 7, 2018

Chickens, as well as turkeys, gamebirds and other poultry can be affected by Newcastle Disease

Read more
September 2018
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Liz Shankland continues her guide to improving herd productivity, this time investigating the importance

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018

In this focus on fertility, Liz Shankland looks at what you can do to maximise the number of piglets produced in each farrowing

Read more
July 2018
Monday, April 9, 2018

Jack Smellie looks at what to do when lambing and kidding doesn’t go to plan

Read more
April 2018
Monday, April 9, 2018

Smallholder Tim Tyne advises on the treatment of lambs which are hypothermic

Read more
April 2018
Monday, April 9, 2018

Debbie Kingsley outlines the rules and regulations for smallholding – this month identifying your sheep or goats

Read more
April 2018
Friday, March 9, 2018

Now to the crux of things. In his series about the most challenging aspects of smallholding, Tim Tyne turns to livestock

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Debbie Kingsley talks to sheep keepers Steven and Hannah Payne about their Tordown flock

Read more
March 2018

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Country Smallholding monthly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

This Year’s Shows

Country Smallholding cover image

Don’t miss our comprehensive guide to rural events

Find out more

Like us on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter