(Dan) Folks, welcome to DocTalk. I’m glad you joined me today. We’re gonna talk about something that we see in cattle all the time and sometimes we don’t take the time to explain what’s happening. It’s called bloat. We’re gonna discuss bloat, different strategies, how to treat it, how to prevent it. Thanks for joining me. More after these messages.
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(Dan) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University where I serve as the Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology. And today we’re going to talk about something that is a cattle disease syndrome that is associated with nutrition. And really what we’re talking about is bloat. And when we talk about bloat in cattle there are two types of bloat that we’re going to discuss. One is the frothy bloat and two is free gas. And so they’re both kind of self explanatory when you start to think about it. When I think about frothy bloat, it is cattle on legumes or cattle that are on wheat pasture. And what happens is in that rumen when we get the intake of these lush forages that are high in proteins, high in tannins, we can get a froth that is built up. And whether it’s a foam or a froth from the inner action of the microbes in the rumen with the tannins in these rich legumes or in rich wheat pasture, we’ll get this frothy bloat. And when you tube a calf or if you puncture a calf in the rumen, you’ll see the froth just keep coming out. The other type of bloat is called a free gas bloat. And this is due to increased production of gas whenever we have the rumen microbes take a, and this is more common in a feedlot situation or more common in a calf that’s on a grain diet, what will happen is we will get a bout of acidosis or decrease pH of that rumen. When that happens sometimes the animal’s contractions in the rumen or the ability of that animal to burp or eructate gas out of the rumen, is the sensors or the stretch receptors in that rumen don’t work quite right. And so when those don’t work, that animal is not able to belch or eructate and give off that gas, so we get a bloated situation. Now the clinical signs of bloat are pretty straight forward. We’re gonna look at the animal from behind or look at him from the front. The rumen of the animal is where the bloat occurs. And that’s located on the left side of its body. And when we think a left side of a calf’s body, it’s that, it’s not us looking the left side of what we’re looking at. It is the left ear, the left leg, the left side is where the rumen’s located. When we have a zero, you know we grade bloats zero, one, two and three. A zero is no distention on either side of the calf. A bloat score of one, is starting to get a slight distention on the left side of the animal where the rumen’s located. On the right side is just the intestines, the small intestine, the large intestine, colon. When we start to get to a bloat score of two, we’ll have severe distention on the left side of the animal, but the right side will be normal. And then when we have the most severe score of bloat of a three, we will see distention of both sides of the animal. And we’ll call it kind of a papple shape. Rounded on the left side and kind of a pear side on the right side. So, zero normal, three is severe and so when we get a severe, when we talk to people out on wheat pasture research, when you have a calf that has a bloat score of three, that animal will be chronically affected and have decreased performance the rest of its life. We’re gonna talk more about bloat. We’ll talk about why it happens, how you can treat these animals, what you can do with them after they’ve had that syndrome. More to come. Thanks for watching Doc Talk. See you after these messages.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine where I serve as a Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology and we’re talking about bloat. And so whether we have animals that are on grain diets or animals that we’re kicking out on wheat pasture, we’re gonna run into bloat. And when we start to think about bloat and the cause of bloat, there are the two syndromes. Right? We have frothy bloat on wheat pasture, or if you have them kicked out on alfalfa and then we’ll have the free gas bloat, which is predominantly the type of bloat that we see when we have animals on grain. So, when we’re looking at our show cattle or we’re looking at cattle that are in feedlots on finish rations, we’re talking more about free gas bloat. And when we’re talking about the calves kicked out on wheat, we’re talking about frothy. Now, the reason why we see this and the risk association with bloat is different for different types of syndromes. So, on the frothy bloat the number one risk factor for frothy bloat on wheat pasture is over application of fertilizer. In other words, if we’ve over fertilized or if we put more fertilizer on the wheat pasture than we did the year before, we get more lush growth and we put the same number of cattle, there’s more material out there with the same number of cattle. And so when a storm pattern comes through, cattle are genetically or evolutionarily, will go in right before a storm, they see a drop in or feel the drop in barometric pressure and they will consume more before the storm because then they’ll go and they’ll hole up or wait until the storm passes and come back out. The animal, the ruminant animal can store about five to seven days worth of food supply in the ruminant. So in other words if a calf comes through, it will take five to seven days before the rumen empties. So, they’ll go out and they’ll consume too much. And I think more times than not when we see problems with bloat, it has more to do with weather patterns and availability of feed stuff than anything. So, when we look at frothy bloats, the first thing we have to do is we have to make sure that we’re applying the right amount of fertilizer, make sure we have the right amount of growth. If we’re gonna add fertilizer, we need to add animals to take care of some of those. You can have some preventatives that we’re gonna talk about as well. On free gas bloats, this is a sequelae, or a sequel to something that happened before. In most bloats, prior to bloat occurring in the animal, we will see an increase in grain overload which will cause acidosis. Acidosis will cause the reduction in the pH in the rumen, from the overtraining on the grain that will decrease or change the rumen microbes, which will then lead to more acid production in the rumen, which knocks out the stretch receptors and doesn’t allow that animal to eructate or release the gas. The other thing that can happen with bloat in the feedlot pen, so it’s really important that you understand where the animal’s are located, is what we call over balance. And the term over balance could be a mound that’s too steep. And we’ve seen cattle that will get their feet uphill and then they can’t stand up. So, you have to roll ’em over so that their feet are downhill and they can stand up. If a calf gets its feet uphill and it’s laying down or if it’s laying in an indention, the gas bubble will actually move to the ventral side or to the side where the animal then can’t belch. And if they can’t get up they’ll actually continue to increase gas production in the rumen, not be able to eructate and so we see some things to that nature. When we come back, we’re gonna talk about how to treat free gas and frothy bloat. You’re watching DocTalk, thanks for joining us. More after these messages.
(Dan) Hey folks, Dr. Dan here from DocTalk. Thanks for joining me today. We’re talking about bloat in cattle and it’s something that occurs commonly and we’re going to talk about treatment of bloat now. So if we have cattle out on wheat pasture and you pull in and there’s one that’s a bloat score one, a bloat score one is a minor bloat. It’s just a puffiness on the left side of the body and so those animals I’m probably not going to treat. But once I get to the bloat score two, with severe distention on the left side and definitely a bloat score three, those animals need to be pulled in and we need to treat ’em. You can be assured that most cattle on wheat pasture on going to be of the frothy bloat variety. Therefore, when we treat ’em and the best way to find out if they’re frothy bloat or free gas is to pass an orogastric tube. So, we’ll take an orogastric tube or a stomach tube and the first thing you want to do is put a speculum in the mouth of the steer. Because if you don’t and you pass a rubber tube, those molars on the back side of that cow’s mouth or that steer’s mouth will chew that tube in half. And that’s not a good thing to have happen when you pass that tube, it’s not a good thing to have happen when you pass that tube because when you pass that tube halfway down, the calf chews the orogastric tube off, you’re gonna wind up with half the tube in the rumen and the other half in your hand. Not a good situation. So have a metal or plastic speculum, that you’re gonna pass that will guard that tube from being chewed in two. You’re gonna pass the tube and then you’ll want to blow on the tube a couple of times to get feed stuff out of the way from the end of the tube and you’ll know pretty quick then whether you have a frothy bloat or a free gas. If you have free gas, you’ll actually have gas coming out. You’ll see the side starting to not be as distended, if it’s frothy, you’ll actually have the froth come up the tube. If it is frothy bloat, leave the orogastric tube in, have your Therabloat, which is poloxalene. Poloxalene will come in a one ounce treatment vial, and you will take that and mix that with a pint of water and then you’ll pass that one ounce of Therabloat in the pint of water into the rumen. You can add more water if you want. It will disperse evenly and what that does is that starts to break that surface tension of the froth and will help that animal decrease the frothy bloat. Sometimes you have to retreat these animals. Sometimes they become chronic frothy bloaters and those animals need to be railed. If it’s a free gas bloat, when you pass the orogastric tube you will start to get the gas to come out. OK? Now my rules on treatment of calves with free gas bloat, because we’ll see these as repeat customers as well, is that I will treat them. I have the three strikes and they’re out rule. I will let them down, let the gas down three times. On the third time I’m gonna make a decision, either I’m going to put a fistula in the side of the animal, which is an actual open hole from the rumen outside the side of the animal. We can stitch the rumen wall to the hide of the calf and he can let free gas go out continuously and that will take about six months to a year to close, or I’m going to rail that animal or sell it for salvage slaughter. It’s the one or two things because if they continuously come in you’re going to wind up having that and the animal is with going to wind up dying from bloat, or you’re gonna wind up continuously having to treat ’em to let ’em down. When we come back we’re going to talk about emergency treatment of bloat on your farm with your cattle, which is really important to understand and know. Thanks for watching DocTalk. Thanks for being with us. More about bloat and emergency treatment when we come back after these messages.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here. We’re talking about bloat in cattle. So now, you walk out to the pen and you have a steer that’s severely distended. This calf is a bloat score three, it’s distended, round on the left side, pear shape on the right side. And it’s not functioning appropriately. So, we’re in emergency situation when this happens. The first thing that you’re going to want to do is remember that the rumen is on the left side of the animal, not the right side of the animal. So, if we’re going to do an emergency treatment of that animal in the pen, we’re going to puncture the animal through the paralumbar fossa, or through the left side, as you can see in this picture. High on the left side at the apex of where that rumen is distended. So when we do this, we want to make sure that we use something that’s extremely sharp. If you puncture the animal on the right side of its body, you’re not going to hit the rumen, you’re not gonna hit where the gas is, you’re going to actually hit intestines. So make sure on the left side of the body, OK? The first thing you have to understand is do not let the animal lay down. An animal that’s severely bloated that lays down and then you go to the house to find a pocket knife or a bloat needle, that animal will die from suffocation before you get back to it. Once they lay down and they’re super distended, the animal’s not going to make it. So, this is an emergency situation. So, you can have a bloat needle and I suggest to a lot of people that own feedyards or that are feeding cattle to have a bloat needle on their person. And the bloat needle is in this picture here and you can see there’s a trocar and a stylet that goes down through that’s extremely sharp. And you can puncture that animal on the left side, pull the stylet out and you have that trocar that’s going through that’s allowing the release of the pressure and that animal will immediately have relief. We have emergency trocars that you can use that will create a fistula in the side of that animal. And these, actually can see from this picture, you puncture and then you screw. And it will actually screw that rumen wall and screw the outside hide and the paralumbar fossa together and will give you a couple of days to take that animal for salvage slaughter. The other thing, the last resort, is if you see the animal and you need to use a pocket knife or something to that nature, you can. Now, two things to understand about this, number one there’s a reason why they make footballs out of cow hide, it’s tough. So you need a sharp knife and two, you do not want to have a jack knife that has a flexible blade. Make sure you have something that’s a lock blade or something that is solid handle to the knife. I have used a pocket knife once to puncture and that thing came shut on my fingers. Do not use a bowie knife, OK? There is some anatomy on the left side of that animal and you will cause some damage. So a short four to six inch blade, a locked blade for your safety, if you’re gonna use that to puncture an animal. Never let an animal with bloat lay down, emergency situation, have the proper tools in place. You can work with your veterinarian. He will have those tools, or she will have those tools at her clinic and you then you can utilize them on your farm or ranch. Thanks for watching the show today. Remember if you want to find us on the web you can go to www.doctalktv.com. Always work with your local veterinarian. I’m Dr. Thomson here from DocTalk. Thanks for watching us and I’ll see you down the road.
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