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    Signs of Sickness in Cows

    Just like other animal, cows need proper veterinary care to stay healthy. In between regular appointments, it’s important for you to watch for signs of illness in your herd. Cows aren’t always the most expressive, however, so it isn’t always easy to tell when they are sick. Here, a Brookings, SD lists some symptoms of sickness in cows.

    Abnormal Eye Appearance

    Healthy cows have clear, bright eyes. If Bessie’s eyes look red, glazed, dull, watery, or sunken, she could be sick.

    Unusual Behavior

    If Bessie is happy, she may sniff you or lick you when you approach, or wiggle her ears in greeting. However, if your normally-friendly cow seems unusually cranky or depressed, or just doesn’t seem like herself, she may be sick. Staggering or bellowing are also warning signs. Spending time observing your cows can help you understand what is and isn’t normal for them.

    Respiratory Issues

    Coughing and wheezing are also symptoms of sickness in cows, as are raspy or ragged breaths.

    Digestive Issues

    A lack of appetite is another sign of illness in cows. Difficulty urinating or defecating can also be indicative of sickness.

    Dirty Noses

    As you may know, cows clean their noses by licking them. (Bessie may also give you a friendly lick to say hello.) Just like people, cows often forego their usual beauty routines when they’re sick. Crusty, dry, hot, or runny noses can be signs of sickness in our bovine friends.

    Lethargy

    Healthy cows should be alert and active, and respond to stimuli. If Bessie seems listless or lethargic, she may be ill.

    Isolation

    Cows are social animals, and usually stay close to their herdmates. While Bessie may wander towards a tempting patch of grass while she’s out at pasture, she shouldn’t stray too far from the herd. Cows that are off by themselves and not interacting with their herds could be sick.

    Distended Belly

    Bloated or distended stomachs are a huge red flag. If Bessie’s stomach looks swollen, contact your vet right away.

    Unusual Posture

    Sick cows often hang their heads, hold their tails stiffly, or arch their backs. Bessie may also stand in an unusual position, or let her ears droop.

    If you notice any of these symptoms in your cows, immediately isolate that animal and call your vet. You can also call us, your Brookings, SD vet clinic, with any questions about cow care.

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