Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cow foaming at the mouth

Here is one of the questions I received by email today. I thought it was interesting enough to share in a blog post about a cow foaming at the mouth. It is not something you see everyday, but is not uncommon.


This really isn't about a calf, but it's still a question I wish to have answered. To begin, I check my herd (they are calving) twice a day, morning and evenings and do round checks to ensure the entire herd is there, and all is well. Last night I did the same, counted every one and all was fine, this morning I went out to the herd and found one of my cows dead, frosted over, but she was highly foamed over at the mouth and I'm wondering as to what may be her cause of death? As well as if it could affect the rest of my herd? Much thanks if you can be of any help. Have a nice day


There are several reasons a cow would be foaming at the mouth and does not have to be an indication of the cow being ill. When calves nurse they will foam from the mouth wither on a cow or by hand. It aids in digestion. When I feed my herds range meal cakes (cubes) they will start to foam at the mouth. Some will slobber a mouth full of foam down their sides as they lick themselves waiting for me to put the range cubes out.

Now there are several reasons that a cow foaming at the mouth will indicate a problem or illness.

If a cow is suffering from wooden tongue (fungus making the tongue hard as wood) she will have excessive foaming or slobbering from the mouth. Not the case here. Wooden tongue takes along time to kill the cow, basically she starves to death by not being able to pull grass or hay in her mouth with her tongue.

If a cow is overheated, Not likely. The question stated she was frosted over.

If a cow has fever, it can cause her to foam at the mouth. She will not die overnight from fever, but it could be possible she had fever which would suggest infection.

The cow could have bloated. The bloat would have killed her overnight, but I think you have noticed.

If the cow choked, she would have foamed at the mouth. If the blockage was down the wind pipe, then she would have just foamed at the mouth and died showing no other signs.

Now there are infections that bloom up in less than a hour. If bacteria get in the lungs, heart, or brain and blooms, it can kill a cow  in 30 minutes. Blackleg. The blackleg bacteria can happen anywhere in the body. It is known as blackleg because that was the easiest way to tell. One leg will swell up and a calf or cow will be dead in few hours or longer. If the blackleg infection was inside, you wouldn't noticed any swelling.

Vaccines are not 100% but if you are not already vaccinating for blackleg you should.

I would say the cow either choked or had blackleg (or a similar bacteria). If you found the cow sitting up with it’s legs under it, then chances are it choked. If her legs where straight out then it could be either.
-There are some good advice on caring for a calf in this web site, but always refer to your veterinarian for proper treatment of sick animals. Some home remedies work, but veterinarians know best, and can save you money and heartache with exact treatment For this sites Terms and Conditions click here.