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Calf knuckling forward on front Legs sine birth

  • 27-04-2023 2:33pm
    Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭

    I have a calf a little over a week old, fairly big calf out of a oldish cow, the problem is he's front legs cant fully straighten up, he's knuckling forward on them at joint just above the hoof, I had one of these before a few years ago and he came right after about two weeks, this fellow isn't making as good a progress, so just wondering what advice people would have to help him get up on his hoofs correctly, I have him in at night and out in a paddock during the day, he can kind of stand up almost correctly for a short time then he just drops forward after a short period. Any advice is appreciated.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,180 ✭✭✭✭Base price

    His tendons were restricted in the cows womb and that is why his is knuckling over. From memory a selenium injection helps to rectify it but they normally come straight themselves. Ask your Vet and they can advise better.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Is it joint evil?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,239 ✭✭✭Dunedin

    As above

    You could also try a bit of effectively physio on him , get him standing and massage the joints

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,441 ✭✭✭Jb1989

    I cut two Ash plants 5 inch long and taped them along the knuckle to keep them straight for a few days on the calf I had along with an injection. Although mine was only a few days old.

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭Irish Beef

    Ya its down to being stuck for space in the womb as you say. He's got the selenium and an intravenous injection to loosen up the tendons from a vet, he was born this way so its not joint ill. Its just taken a while to correct itself, just wondering has anyone any experience with this kind of problem and have they ever tried to support it with some form of bandage in the short term to give him some support and allow him to stand up correctly. I would be concerned about doing this as id be worried he wouldn't ever build up the strength then. What's your thoughts?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,806 ✭✭✭endainoz

    Had one myself a few years back, righted itself after a couple of weeks. Found they did better outside with a bit more movement.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,527 ✭✭✭Limestone Cowboy

    Actually have a calf the same here, had herd test today and got the vet to look at him, he's about 3 weeks old and getting worse if anything. He's going to have a go at casting him next week.

  • Registered Users Posts: 838 ✭✭✭dohc turbo2

    Had one born few weeks ago but it was his knees that were bent, pure gammy lad , massive bull, every day we have him physio for 10days or so, he flying now,

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,718 ✭✭✭50HX

    I had this 3 years ago, broke my melt with splints, stretching out the tendons twice a day she was a smashing blue heifer

    Kept her on a good 12-18" of bedding so she wouldn't get cuts/infections

    Took her nearly 10 weeks before they came right but they did straighten eventually....its a penance😀

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,668 ✭✭✭Lime Tree Farm

    had this one born prematurely on the day of a herd test in 2006. Didn't keep great notes back then, all it says it Vet gate antibiotic on day of reading. Vet called out again and put on cast. She came good following removal of the cast. Another note - she didn't have to be debudded.

    I don't have a date for the 2nd pic.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,239 ✭✭✭Dunedin

    I had one this year but it was actually his back leg. vet put a cast for 3 weeks and he came perfect afterwards.

  • Registered Users Posts: 48 The11Duff

    Happened me last year. Vet looked at him and said go in as often as you can and straighten out the affected joint, keep working the joint to get the muscles built up, like a physio. Did it for a week and he got stronger. Did not cost a penny. Would not know after a couple of weeks outside.

    Its sound like a less severe case

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,810 ✭✭✭893bet

    If only I had know this. Had a calf last year and all the vet gave was a shot. He is badly enough able to walk sometimes but able to gallop ok when suits him. Had to segregate him from the other weanlings though which is a nuisance as he was being bullied and I think got an extra hurt wi th a heifer bulling. It will be a challenge to get him away into something in the end. Both front legs, one worse than the other.

    Post edited by 893bet on

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭Irish Beef

    Calf doesn't seem to be improving on his own, from what I'm reading online and from here ill have to put some form of a split on his legs or he wont improve. A lot of people seem to be suggesting a small piece of water pipe cut length ways and put in on either side of his fetlock and bandaged up up to give him support for a few days. Ill have to give this a try.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,180 ✭✭✭✭Base price

    Be very careful splinting/bandaging an animal if you don't know what you are doing (and it sounds like you don't know) as it can cause more damage than good. If it needs a splint I recommend that you get your Vet to do it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭Irish Beef

    I Think as long as I put sufficient padding under the splints and make sure the two splints are not sharp at the edges and also not bandage the whole thing too tight I should be ok, I've seen a good few horses legs being bandaged up over the years, so id say ill be ok, I might call the vet just to get his take on it before I proceed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,180 ✭✭✭✭Base price

    Seeing a few horses getting bandaged and actually doing it yourself are two completely different things. I've bandaged horses and ponies since I was nine years old but I would never allow someone who has only watched let near one without my supervision let alone splinting a calf's leg with restricted tendons. As I posted previously, ask your Vet to do it. It will probably cost 30 odd euro if you can bring the calf to the Vet's surgery in a livestock trailer - better odds for the calf if your Vet does it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,239 ✭✭✭Dunedin

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,405 ✭✭✭hopeso

    I don't think this is anything similar, but I'll ask it here anyway.... I have a calf born 11 day ago. He seemed perfectly fine. I put a castration ring on him at 6 days old. The last few days I've noticed his back legs kind of going from under him. Sort of falling to the left when walking, but not actually falling. He's generally alert and playful, showing no real signs of discomfort or illness. Could the ring have trapped a nerve or anything? Is there any illness to cause such symptoms?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,527 ✭✭✭Limestone Cowboy

    See how this goes.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭Irish Beef

    Same contracted tendons issue is it, vet put those casts on did he? let us know how you get on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,117 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭Irish Beef

    He seems to be making progress anyway, spent a lot of time since the weekend stretching out the front hoofs, tried putting on a splint on on leg at a time for a few hours but unless its bandaged fairly tight its no good and a little worried about cutting off circulation with a tight bandage so mostly stretching him out, 20 mins at a time. He's walking around yesterday evening up on the hoofs correctly but fairly slowly falling forward every now and again but its progress.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,527 ✭✭✭Limestone Cowboy

    Ya that's it. Will do but I'm not that hopeful to be honest. Vet said it was worth a shot though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 107 ✭✭James2022

    Every few years I have to do this with a monster calf. I use thick but flexible pipe cut down the middle. I wrap that around the front legs. Then cut the bottom of socks and put them around the pipes. Duct tape tightly and lift the calf up on its feet. This will prevent knuckling and straighten out the tendons. It can take a while but it's always worked for me. I've moved away from the big Simmentals since.

    Be careful of bloat. I had a calf like that and was a day away from housing him. He got bad bloat from a rainy spell and couldn't stand because of his front legs. Ended up chocking. Better to sell or house early come late Autumn regardless of condition.

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭Irish Beef

    Do you only cut down one side of the pipe and leave it as one piece? What diameter is the pipe and how long would you leave it? Do you put anything on his legs first under the pipe as a kind of padding? My lad is slow and may still need something like this. Might bring him into vet again and get another shot to loosen the tendons and maybe pick his brain again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 828 ✭✭✭Sugarbowl

    How did you get on with your calf in the end? Did ye straighten up?

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭Irish Beef

    Ya he did he came right after nearly four weeks, spent a lot of time straighten his legs and holding straight, tried a makeshift splint for a while (few hours at a time) but maybe he was always going to come right, but at times it didn't look like it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,709 ✭✭✭✭patsy_mccabe

    Last week, I had a week old calf knuckling over like above, Shocked when I found him as he was literally on his front knees and wobbling when trying to correct himself. He was only slightly affected before this. Sorry I didn't take a video or pic at the time. I rang a neighbour who had the same a while back and had rang me for advice then. I told him do physio.

    Anyway I did what worked for him, namely stretching out the tendons on the legs. I did this for 4 days straight in the field while he was lying down and now he is perfect. Left hand pressure on front of knee and pull right hand under tip of hooves and moderate force and hold for maybe 10 secs. Repeat a few times. Surprised at how well it worked.

    'When I was a boy we were serfs, slave minded. Anyone who came along and lifted us out of that belittling, I looked on them as Gods.' - Dan Breen

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,117 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey