When the vets left last night, Holly's teat canal was able to be opened and was functional when open (well functional in that there were now two holes instead of one which will most likely be permanent). Talk about dedicated individuals - they were here for nearly two hours and it was well after 8pm on a Friday night with three more farm calls in the district before they could head home an hour's travel from here - and I'm already thinking I need to sell a kidney to pay for it all.
It did close up very tightly after about ten minutes on Friday night but re-opened again when the vet did it, but by Saturday morning the tube prolapse was swollen, split on two sides and totally impossible to push back inside with the tube that we had.
Another after hours vet call out and I'm thinking I need to sell both kidneys and maybe a lung while being eternally grateful that this brilliant vet was still willing to come out on his rostered Saturday off to fix my poor broken cow.
I forgot to mention in the previous post that there is a 14 day withholding period on the milk and Bangers has to be weaned as of his last meal before the injury (so last Thursday afternoon). I can continue to milk her and there is no reason to dry her off - which is great because we also had her preg tested and she is definitely not due with a Murray Grey calf in September. Considering all this I think I am probably relieved about that, but still gutted that this injury has happened to her highest producing quarter and the mastitis risk we are going to have to fight every lactation.
The vet was unable to insert a regular cow teat cannula into the teat, so had to make do with inserting a horse neck IV cannula to open the canal and drain the teat. It is hopefully securely bandaged on and stitched around the teat and the best case scenario is that the bandage and cannula will remain in place for two weeks, at which time a regular cow teat cannula should be able to be inserted and bandaged on. If it comes off before then it may be necessary to actually stitch it too the teat - something that we really, really want to avoid having to do.
We also separated Bangers and put him in with the Dexters down in the second paddock - I also put a weaning nose ring on him in the unlikely event that he or Holly decided to go through fences to get back together because if he does nurse from the injured teat it will destroy that quarter permanently. Of course, he and Holly are both mooing forlornly at each other fairly constantly. This is likely to go on for 3-4 days and I am really hoping the stress does not make Holly lose any more weight as she has lost the weight she has gained since being here and is looking terribly thin.
All through this, Holly has been so good, not once has she tried to hurt me or the vets even though this is clearly very painful - she has lifted her leg and half kicked a few times, but only kicked in the direction of her udder not the people causing the pain. If she wasn't so good, treating this injury would not be possible. And if she was in a commercial herd it wouldn't be possible either - a cow with this type of injury would normally be sent to slaughter. We are doing everything possible to save the quarter, but there are so many things that could go wrong. Given the minimal amount of milk from the other three quarters combined, the consequences of losing this quarter are something that I can't bear thinking about.
The vet also checked Raj again, he has not passed the oil, but the sand is moving in his gut, so things are progressing as they should.
Milk production from remaining three quarters post injury (estimated volumes):
Saturday (day 2): 1.75lts am, .5lts pm.
Sunday (day 3): 2lts am, 1 lt pm.
Monday (day 4): 2.5lts am, 1lt pm
I have a list of vitamins, minerals and supplements that I am trying to track down to start giving Holly as soon as possible to build her immune system and help her gain weight - I'm also hoping that weaning her heffalump sized calf will help with the weight gain. In addition to the free choice hay, I'm gradually increasing the speedibeet, oats and lupins that she is getting twice a day and planning on adding in black sunflower seeds, kelp, apple cider vinegar, garlic granules, brewers yeast and a loose mineral mix (as well as free choice hay). It's taken two weeks, but Holly is finally enjoying the dollop of molasses in her feed but still insists that chopped up apple, carrot and beetroot are some kind of foreign poison. Yesterday when I was moving her food bucket around she proceeded to give my face and hair cow kisses with her raspy tongue, so I think she is starting to appreciate being a spoilt house cow (even if we can't drink her milk for the next few weeks).
It does sound like a lot, but getting her healthy and in better condition as quickly as is safe is important - and with illness in the family, making sure the milk she gives us is healthy is also a very important consideration.
In between all of this, we had the first frost for winter last Thursday (24th May), with not having any rains since the beginning of the month, this is starting to damage the pasture that has already germinated. The long range forecast doesn't indicate rain until Wednesday at the earliest - and that is supposed to be a storm, so I guess we shall see if the weatherman is right for a change. After carting numerous wheelbarrow loads of compost and manure to prepare the vegie beds for planting winter vegetables (better late than never!) I finally managed to plant a few seeds yesterday, only snowpeas and sugarsnap peas, as well as transplanting the capsicum bushes to see if I can get them to over-winter under the growcover.
The right time for planting (according to the moon cycle) is between 23rd May and 5th June, so I am trying to get everything else planted during that time. I don't know what it is but no matter how much I prepare to be ready for these 11 days of prolific growth, *something* always happens to delay my plans. Those plans include planting carrots, garlic, lettuce, onion, oregano, Pak Choy, Parsley, more peas and snowpeas, silverbeet, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. I've also got some spinach, a different type of silverbeet and some broad beans to plant...and if none of the humans like them, I am sure the chickens, ducks and cows will.