How to treat bloat in cattle

Written by robert fears
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How to treat bloat in cattle
Good corrals and handling facilities are important for bloat treatment. (NA/ Images)

Treating bloat in cattle requires expertise and practice. Working with your veterinarian on the first few cases should provide sufficient training. A cow creates gas during her digestive process and usually this gas is released from the animal's body. If it is not, bloat occurs. Dr. Max Irsik of the University of Florida says that if bloat is not treated, the continued build up of gases causes compression of the heart and lungs and eventually death. North Dakota State University lists equipment necessary for bloat treatment and recommends treatment methods.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Good corrals and handling facilities
  • Rubber hose (3/4 to 1 inch in diameter by 3 feet long)
  • Defoaming agent
  • Large trocar
  • Sharp knife

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  1. 1

    Insert a rubber hose through the cow's mouth into her stomach if bloat is severe. Watch to see if gas is dispelled.

  2. 2

    Pour defoaming agent through the tube as per instructions on the label, if immediate relief is not provided by the tube along. The defoaming agent frequently breaks the bloat foam and a large amount of gas is released through the tube or by belching.

  3. 3

    Insert a large bloat needle halfway between the cow's last rib and hip (or hook) bone on the side three to four inches below the edge of the loin, if bloat is still present. For this procedure, it is important to understand the cow's morphology. If you do not possess this knowledge, ask your veterinarian to help you.

  4. 4

    Cut a slit in the cow's rumen with a sharp knife, if bloat still persists. Make the slit large enough to release the foamy, gas contents and insert a trocar. If this procedure does not relieve the bloat, call your veterinarian.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not attempt to administer defoaming agent as a drench. Drenching a bloating animal will cause choking.

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