With our crazy winter weather we here at Louisa Vet Service have seen an increased number of frostbitten tissues on animals. Newborn babies are wet and if they are exposed to extremely cold temperatures and cold wind they can get frostbite on their extremities, usually feet and ears, very quickly. It is very important in extreme winter weather to make sure your pregnant animals have access to dry ground and windbreaks. If you find a baby that is hypothermic (<99 degrees Fahrenheit) try to dry it off, place it by a woodstove, and give it a feeding of warm colostrum or milk.
Adults can get frostbite too. This usually happens when they prolapse various tissues. Young bulls tend to prolapse their rectum from persistently riding the heifers and cows. Cows that are heavily pregnant tend to prolapse their vaginas close to calving, and older cows tend to prolapse their cervix post-calving. If these tissues go out and back in-no problem.
If the tissues get stuck out and in the bitter cold they dry out and bleed and eventually get frostbitten, usually once the tissue is frostbitten only salvage procedures can be performed.
Our best advice to prevent frostbite is to be good managers of your livestock: castrate your young bulls in a timely fashion, cull old cattle before problems arise, keep a close check on your heavily pregnant animals and set them up for success.
Call us here at Louisa Vet Service if you think you have an issue with your animal’s tissue!