Beef Magazine is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Splint a broken leg before the vet even arrives

Calves with broken bones need quick treatment; splinting might be necessary while you wait for the veterinarian to arrive.

A broken leg is something ranchers wish wouldn’t happen to one of their calves, but it’s a common accident that can occur if a cow steps on a newborn calf, if the calf suffered through a difficult labor with improper assistance, or a calf gets trampled or hurt during transportation, branding or by cattle that are spooked by coyotes.

When calves suffer fractured limbs, they should be cast or splinted quickly for proper healing, even before the veterinarian arrives.

Robert Callan, Colorado State University, says he sees largely-avoidable limb fractures in young calves each year from calving-dystocia incidents.

“These can happen when calving chains or straps are placed as a single loop around the foot," he says. "We recommend a double loop, with one loop above the fetlock and a half hitch below the fetlock. This spreads pressure so it isn’t all on one area. We see more fractures when mechanical assistance is used to pull the calf.”

Read more about how to quickly stabilize a broken leg by clicking here.

You might also like:

How to control sucking & biting lice on cattle

When is the best time to wean? It might be younger than you think

Late-gestation trace mineral supplementation shows promise

7 tips for limiting the spread of invasive species in your pastures

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.