Boyfriend has cattle. One of the them has been very non social with the rest for the past couple of days. Went down there today to move the cattle to a different pasture and it took an hour to move her from the bottom of the pasture to just halfway up the hill. She would take maybe 5 or 6 steps and then have to take a break. When she moved her hind quarters were swinging around as though she had very little control over her hind legs. We got her moving with a bucket of grain but eventually she stopped following that as well. She ate the grain but not in the normal pushy frivolous way this cow always does. The rest of his herd is just fine. She has also not gone down. They have access to plenty of water hay, protein, salt and grass.
Naturally the horse person in me thought "EPM!!!" when I saw the lack of coordination in the hind end, but can cattle get this? The vet will not be able to come out for a couple days. (Very rural area and lots of farms for him to go to)
No, cattle do not get EPM like horses. They can be infected with a Neospora species, but it doesn't cause neurologic problems (it causes rare abortions in pregnant cattle). They are an intermediate host for the protozoa.
Thiamine deficiency is one of the most common causes of neurological issues in ruminants, and easily fixed by administering thiamine. However, there are some very serious infectious neurological diseases in cattle that can be zoonotic, so best to have this properly diagnosed by a veterinarian.
Unfortunately the cow passed away before the vet could get there. Now here is the strange thing. Her calf was found dead not that far away from her. The strangest part is that the calf was perfectly fine and running around with the rest of the herd on the day that we tried moving momma cow up to the top pasture.
The vet will be coming out to look at the bodies and possibly draw blood from both the bodies and the rest of the herd.
Called the vet and it's to late to do any necropsy or blood work, it has to be done within a day or so of the the death. When we found the momma cow she was already torn up and when we located the calf something had already torn into him as well. We're still having the vet come out and do blood on the rest of the herd, for caution.