Hey all, I just wanted to keep y'all in the loop and let you know that Mattie is under the weather right now. I noticed that she seemed "off" this morning when she only picked at her grain (she normally inhales it so fast that your ears pop), but I decided to just keep an eye on her. By nightfall it was obvious something was wrong. She stood in a corner of the barn by herself breathing quickly and heavily, her pupils dilated abnormally, her ears cold to the touch, her heart rate racing, and she staggered around like a drunken sailor. My guess was that it was milk fever, but I called the vet to make sure. After telling him the symptoms of my poor cow, he agreed with me. Mattie dear has an onset case of the dreaded milk fever, which is when a cow's calcium levels are so depleted that their body begins to shut down and they will die if something is not done to increase the calcium in the body.
Thankfully I caught it early! I've also dealt with this before when Mattie came down with it last September. She recovered overnight that time, with just a big dose of molasses water. I'm praying that does the trick again this time. When I found her tonight, her heart rate was 100 beats per minute, when it should have been 55-80 beats. Her respiration rate was 60 breaths per minute when it should have been 30.
After a couple hours, and a couple gallons of molasses water, her heart and respiration rates are closer to normal, and she's no longer staggering around. Her ears are still pretty cold though, and she's still pretty lethargic, but I think she's stable enough to make it through the night. Hopefully she will be back to her normal self by morning.
Mattie dear, you're going to make me go gray before my time...