Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Summer Sores On My Cow

Around mid summer, my oldest daughter was in the barn with me as I milked the family cow. For some reason, I don't know why, other than her curiosity, she was looking at the belly of Lucy, our cow. She was asking questions about the anatomy of the bovine species, I believe. As her search continued she asked what the little “bump was on the cow's belly. I told her that was Lucy's navel kind of like the one she has, only bigger. Then she asked me why it was scabbed over. That was the first time I noticed the problem.
Not knowing what to think, I opted for the least expensive. I decided that she had a irritation and that Lucy had been kicking at it and scratching it. Probably caused by some brambles out in the pasture or something. In other words I ignored it.
About a week ago, I noticed the same spot bleeding and oozing without any apparent aggravation. Not only that, but the spot had grown bigger and was now inflamed and swollen. There had also been another slot develop on her chest acting in much the same fashion.
This concerned me now. On our little homestead, we try to do things as naturally as possible, without drugs or injections. However, the value of our “lovely girl” dictates that when I don't have an answer, call the vet. This I did, with the intention of gathering a diagnosis and possible means of treatment. I must add, that veterinarians are much readily receptive of natural and homeopathic cures than the average medical doctor. For this, I am grateful.
The vet came to the farm and examined her, giving me the diagnosis: Summer Sore. This is defined as “
Caused by the larve of stomach worms depostied in open wounds and sores. Occurs only in the fly season. Suspect this when a clean wound or sore suddenly enlarges and becomes covered with a reddish-yellow tissue that bleeds easily.
When I asked him what that was, he told me that it is a parasite in the skin. He knew that we like to do things naturally and gave me permission to use Melaleuca oil on the open sore as a natural, (and very good, I might add) antiseptic. But, due to the duration of the sores, I would need antibiotics as well, as a secondary infection had set in. He said that a topical would suffice and that we would not have milk withdrawal period. He also prescribed Cydectin, to take care of the parasites. Again, topical, just poured on the back.
Without knowledge of how to treat this particular parasite naturally, I feared spending a lot of time researching it, because of the infection. So, for the first time on any of our otherwise healthy animals, I opted to follow the vet's advice. The result is a combination of natural remedies and prescribed, with the natural part performing quite well, thus far.
I concocted a wound spray from Melaleuca products to apply to the wounds on Lucy's underbelly. This consists of Renew Bath Oil (2 caps full) to sooth the skin and help it to stick to the would. Sol-U-Mel (3 caps full), to help clean the wound and also contains Melaleuca oil which is a natural antibacterial and antiseptic. Natures Cleanse (2 caps full), also aids in keeping the wound moisturized and clean. And 5 drops of antibacterial soap all mixed into 1 quart of water. This is applied twice, daily, by putting it into a spray bottle and spraying it on her infected areas.
I am pleased with the results of this concoction. The swelling had abated in the first day and is almost completely gone now. The wound is still oozing but looks very clean and much better than before. I am still in the process of treatment and am waiting full results, but so far, it appears to be improving.
For the unnatural part of the treatment, I went with the doctor's suggestion and applied the Cydectin by pouring the dose along the spine from the shoulders (withers) to the base of the tail. It stank, but that is all, for now. I just administered it yesterday, so I am anxiously awaiting the results of that. I was also pleased with this treatment as we have a nursing calf that will not be affected by the treatment.
All in all, her health has always been fine. She is a calm and very friendly cow with a kind of jovial spirit, which has never changed. So, it is my hope that I did not allow this thing to fester to the point of no return. She is still spry and happy.
In summation, if you keep animals, never overlook an open wound. If treated right away, some aggravation and expense may be spared. Happy homesteading.

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