HELP:Calf with Abscessed Ankle - *UPDATE* Graphis Pics pg2


10 Years
Jul 14, 2009
The Beautiful Pacific NW ,WA
We were at the auction today because after selling msot all of my extra birds i finally decided to just take the leftovers to the auction and be done with the 'weeding out'. That was a bad idea with 2 little girls... I came home with a turkey & some young pullets and another dang rooster.

Then we decided to eat lunch while we watched the cattle go through. Sometimes we buy babies but there was none today, just a batch of 3month old(about that age anyway) from a local dairy...... They ran them all through and one of the last in the bunch was a Holstien Heifer calf with a seriously swollen ankle... of course no one wanted to buy her and he got down to $5 bfore he said "get her out of here!" and it just came out wihtout even thinking....." I'll take her for $5!!"

So now, here I am with this lovely little girl with a terribly infected ankle. She laid in the back of the Tahoe all the way home (we werent expecting to buy any cows!), unloaded pretty easily and was okay while we pushed her over to the shed where she'll be staying for a while. I gave her some water & alfalfa but she wasnt interested.

We went inside to gather up some things to clean and lance her leg with. it took about 35 minutes to get all done but we discovered that it is an old dog bite, a BAD one. We got some puss out and did some hot compresses and an antiseptic wash. after i dried it off i put some antiseptic ointment on it (was all i had on hand) and wrapped it with gauze and vet wrap.... She laid on her side & slept through the WHOLE process!! We got her up after i finished wrapping and she even used her foot a little bit. she walked right back to the shed and started eating the alfalfa
I know it must feel better having some of that crap out of there and the hot compressess i am sure were soothing.

So what I need to know is, is there anything else I can do for her? I am going to check it in the morning again and I also picked up some Pinnicillin, I don't know the dosage though so i am waiting for my father to come over. I've never had a cow with an injury like this/this bad before.

Here's some pics:(after the 'treatment')




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Aw, she's a pretty little girl. I'd think the antibiotic shots are a must, dog bite infections can be bad and hard to get rid of. Good job cleaning it out, I'm sure she feels much better just with the pressure off. I'd keep putting the ointment on it and changing the dressing. Glad you're taking care of her, poor thing.
What a cutie!! It's amazing the lack of effort that people have these days! Congratulations to you on taking on the responsibility of helping this poor little thing out!!
The dairy she came from is a local very small one and i am thinking they figured 'just send her to the auction rather than have to pay the vet to come out and invest all that into 1 heifer' or something close to that!

I just got off the phone with my vet and he gave me some instructions for her and told me to pick this stuff called DMSL up from the feed store for her and that will help a lot. I am gonna see if i can get soemone to pick it up on the way home but if not, I will have to pick it up tomorrow. He gave me the pinnicillin dosage for her too so i am going to run out and give her that in a few minutes.
Soak the ankle in a bucket of hot water and epsom salts twice a day. Add enough epsom salts to the water so no more dissolves. It will draw the pus out (osmotic pressure). It is an old fashioned remedy but it works and it is hard to beat in cases like this. Put the calf on systemic antibiotics. Penicillin would be a good choice. About 10cc's per 100# of calf. You can also use mastitis tubes to squirt medicine in if there is just a narrow opening to the wound.
You got great advice here, I'd have made a mad dash to the nearest vet and farm supply shop for penicillin and antibiotics.

Kudos to you for taking her in
I just can't stand seeing animals like's hard enough leaving the dumped and strays at the gas stations when they wander through, begging for food and love.
AND that is one simply adorable little calf, I can't wait until I'm on my farm and can finally get one myself!
I think its very good of you to take her in. Definitely the penicilin it helps all our hurt animals alot on the healing if you give them some it will also help the infection so that was very good advice and the epsom salt thing to works really good. If she turns out ok, she looks like she will make a really good addition. Shes beautiful, Picked a name yet? We have a steer that looks almost exactly like that lol.
WIChoocchick, DMSO probably is what he was talking about if it helps with inflamation, I will read that link and probably pick some up tomorrow. I have some heavy rubber gloves here somewhere.
Cassie, Thank you! I don't know why i didnt even think of that, i think we were all just stunned at how bad it was...I plan to soak that foot good tomorrow, i know we have a big thing of epsom salt here.

I haven't picked a name yet but she definitely has a sweet personality! Thank you all for the help, i really appreciate it. I know the dairy she came form and to be honest, i am not that suprised, just amazed that someone could look at this and not do something.. theres quite a few guys that work there too
I just gave her the first shot of Pinnicillin a little bit ago, hopefully it'll all look better by morning.

I wanna leave the wrap off like the Vet said... I am just a little paranoid about her getting dirt in it or flies getting on it! (flies = maggots!!
) we will see how things look in the morning....

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