Tequila Update

For those of you who read my last post “Caring for Tequila,” I wanted to hop back on and give an update.


We saw no signs of improvement so the vet came out to take a second look. This time the vet brought a squeeze chute with them. This type of chute squeezes the cow gently to keep them from moving around. The vet needed to take a closer look and our chute just wasn’t keeping her still enough. We didn’t receive good news. From the sounds of it, she has quite the wound. Something likely punctured her in-between her toes, causing damage to her bone and joints. To learn what our options are we need to take her somewhere; but the problem is we can’t get her to walk farther than a couple feet, let alone onto a trailer and into a vet’s office. The vet gave her another dose of antibiotics which has a withdrawal period of 45 days. This antibiotic helps with pain and infection. We are currently doing our best to keep Tequila comfortable. It is important to keep her wound clean. We are hoping she improves enough in the next week or so to take steps to help cure her but if she doesn’t we might need to make the tough decision to cull her following the 45 day withdrawal period.


We have continued the Epsom salt foot baths. We are pretty lucky that Tequila is tame. We would not be able to do this with most cows. Each evening dad, Megan, Tyler or I catch her with a halter and soak her foot for 10 minutes. We finish by spraying her wound with Iodine. This helps keep flies from bothering it. If you look closely in the photo above, you will notice her ankle is swollen. The swelling has actually gone down but there is still a noticeable difference.


Meet her calf! Her calf is just as healthy and spunky as ever and he takes the opportunity to nurse while we soak her foot. He has become quite tame himself over the last few weeks. Tequila is still providing him with milk but he is getting close to weaning so our calves get supplemented with hay, grass and creep feed (feed for calves). Tequila isn’t moving very far so we have her in a pen with water and hay.


The other cows are out on pasture but as you can see they were ready to move to the next pen! Soon they will be receiving hay as the grass growth is slowing down for the season.

I know this wasn’t the update on Tequila you were probably hoping for but I want to be 100% transparent with all of you. It is important to me that we share the real story of agriculture… both the good and bad days. And on all days we do our best to care for our animals.

I love the new Iowa Farm Bureau campaign and partnership with Fareway!  #RealFarmers, #RealMeat #RealFood! If you have questions about antibiotics, livestock footprint, hormones, etc. Please ask! I will do my best to answer any questions you might have!


Caring for Tequila

Happy Friday Picking Wildflowers! I hope the title for todays post made you click on the link because I have an important topic to talk about today! Tequila is a past show heifer of ours. She was given a name that complemented the dam’s (cow) name which was Vegas. Our show calves always had a name that went with a theme. We don’t name all of cows, just the ones we showed.


A couple weeks ago we found Tequila limping on her front right foot. She would barely put any weight on it. Megan and I were doing chores that weekend while Dad was out of town so we decided to see how it looked when dad got back on Sunday. It is currently breeding season so we thought there was a chance she just twisted it or landed on it wrong when the bull mounted her but she continued to limp so we decided to get her in to take a look. We noticed that she had a cut on her pastern (right above the hoof). The cows are grazing in a pasture with a pond so she may have received the cut on a rock or next to a fence but either way we knew she was in pain so we needed to help.


This is where I get passionate about this topic. At this point in the story, we know Tequila was in pain and we needed to do something. We called the vet and the next available non-emergency appointment was three days away. So in the meantime we got her in the chute and treated her with an Epsom salt foot bath to clean the wound. We also gave her a shot of Norocillin which is a generic brand of penicillin. Penicillin is an antibiotic. There is a fear with some consumers about the use of antibiotics. Personally I believe in providing the best care for our animals and if that means treating them with an antibiotic then that is what I will do. Every antibiotic has a withdrawal period meaning the farmer has to wait a required amount of time before taking the animal to market. Most farmers will only give antibiotics when necessary.


I was at the grocery store and saw meat that had a label “never received antibiotics.” I would rather know the meat I purchased came from a healthy and happy animal that might have been given an antibiotic once in it’s life; than to know I was eating meat that came from an animal that “never received antibiotics” but could have been a sick animal that the farmer didn’t provide care to. Just a side note, it is against the law to feed pigs and poultry antibiotics so if you see a label on meat that says “antibiotic free” all pork and chicken products are tested for antibiotic residue and the label is a marketing tactic.  


A cow weighs between 1200-1500 lbs and Tequila only received 1 ml per 100 lb of her body weight which was approximately 12 ml. The antibiotic is given for infection and pain. There is a withdrawal period of 14 days. We hope Tequila recovers from this infection but if we did have to take her to market we would wait 14 days. Just like people, antibiotics leave the cows system.


Tequila’s recovery continues. The infection has healed a bit but we may need to have the vet take another look. She still won’t put any weight on it. We continue to do the Epsom salt bath. I hope this weekend she feels a bit better. Our ultimate goal is to make her comfortable while she heals! We have her in a pen with her calf, hay and water.