Why the cow does not drink water, refuses to eat

Why the cow does not drink water, refuses to eat

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The health of the cow is one of the main concerns of its owner. You cannot get milk from an animal that is not feeling well. Even the lack of desire to feed can affect milk yield. And if you feel unwell, milk may disappear altogether. If the cow does not eat, drink, or gum, this means that it is necessary to find out the cause as soon as possible. Even if the animal looks healthy on the outside, something is wrong with it. And this "not so" is very serious. Lack of chewing gum in cows always means gastrointestinal problems.

What is "chewing gum" in cows

According to the Huck brothers, the extinct tour did not fundamentally differ from the domesticated cattle: a large body on short legs, a powerful neck and a broad-headed head. Such an animal is not adapted for a long run while rescuing from predators. His weapon is stealth, and in open confrontation - enormous physical strength.

Tours lived on the edges of forests and tried not to be seen by predators. But the latter are divided into day and night. The former can see well during the day, the latter at night. But at dusk, vision fails both groups. Thus, the foraging tours had only short pre-dawn and pre-dusk minutes.

Evolution has gone along the path of "collecting as much food as possible and eating it calmly in a safe shelter." The scar, the largest section of the stomach, acts as a backpack. Although it is rather an enlarged pocket of the esophagus.

Quickly picking up whole stalks of grass, the tour retired into the undergrowth at the edge. It is difficult to notice a motionless dark animal in the bushes. There, lying down, the tour calmly ate everything that it quickly grabbed during herding at dusk. To do this, he regurgitated the plucked grass in small portions and chewed it again. It is this process that is called chewing gum today.

No one has changed the principles of digestion in domesticated cattle. The cow does not eat short grass because it has no incisors in the upper jaw. She grabs the plants with her tongue, "winds" them and plucked them as it goes. Sometimes with roots and earth. Having stuffed the rumen with food, the cow lies down on the chewing gum.

The work of the proventriculus is structured in such a way that regurgitation occurs due to the contraction of the walls of the scar. The food crushed during the chewing process goes to another part of the stomach. Only there does the real digestion of feed begin.

The true stomach of a cow is one: abomasum, the other 3 sections are the proventriculus

Checklist of reasons why a cow doesn't have gum

Any illness affecting the cow's digestive tract will result in cessation of gum. In infectious diseases, there are other symptoms that can be used to establish a preliminary diagnosis. But sometimes a cow loses weight for no apparent reason. This usually means that the disease is not contagious. But it does not become less dangerous.

The absence of chewing gum is caused by:

  • traumatic reticulitis;
  • tympany;
  • scar atony;
  • rumen acidosis;
  • poisoning;
  • calving;
  • a lot of other reasons.

It is possible to immediately recognize the cause of the problem only in two cases: it is known that the cow is about to calve, and the swollen sides of the animal can be seen with the naked eye. In all other cases, if the cow suddenly lost appetite and chewing gum, you need to call the veterinarian.

Traumatic reticulitis

Capturing grass along with the earth and everything that a person can throw out to graze, the cow often swallows sharp solid objects. But you can do without damaging the mucous membrane. To disrupt the functioning of the rumen, the animal only needs to swallow a certain amount of bearing balls. The heaviness in the rumen will prevent the muscles from contracting properly and the proventriculus will stop working.

In traumatic reticulitis, the symptoms are very varied, which makes the diagnosis often difficult. With the accumulation of blunt objects in the scar, the disease develops gradually. The cow loses weight, eats poorly, her milk yield decreases. But all this is happening slowly.

In the acute course of reticulitis, that is, a foreign body pierced the rumen wall, the deterioration of the cow's condition occurs quickly:

  • the temperature rises briefly;
  • observe general oppression;
  • the gum disappears due to the weakening of the contractions of the scar;
  • soreness appears.

Treatment of traumatic reticulitis is carried out using a magnetic probe, which is pushed into the scar. Before the procedure, the cow is kept on a starvation diet, but they give plenty of drink. The liquid helps to clear the rumen from the feed.

The introduction of the probe, in the absence of the necessary skills, it is better to entrust the veterinarian. More than one such procedure may be required, as a whole warehouse of scrap metal sometimes accumulates in the rumen of a cow.

If it is not possible to remove the problematic item, the cattle are usually slaughtered. Surgery is expensive and impractical because it is difficult to locate the puncture site. An exception is animals that are valuable in breeding terms.

All metal and other debris eaten by a cow along with feed is deposited in the largest proventriculus - the rumen


There is only one option, when tympania is a disease, not a symptom. It is called primary. It occurs as a result of a cow eating a large amount of easily fermenting or spoiled feed. In calves during the transition from dairy to plant foods. In all other cases, this is a symptom of another disease, which is called secondary tympania.

Attention! Tympania is one of the signs of anthrax.

Scar swelling can be acute or chronic.

In acute cases, the cow eats and drinks poorly, the volume of the rumen rapidly increases, and the chewing gum disappears. The latter disappears due to the fact that the walls of the scar expand as a result of the accumulation of gases and cannot contract normally. Primary acute tympania develops due to poor-quality and fermenting feed, secondary - with blockage of the esophagus, infectious diseases and poisoning.

Chronic tympania is always secondary. Occurs due to other types of diseases. The scar periodically swells, but the symptoms are blurred. The cow eats and drinks, but gradually loses weight.


The difference between hypotension and scar atony is in the degree of symptoms. With the first, the number and strength of contractions of the scar walls decrease, and with the second, they disappear altogether. One of the causes of primary atony may be that the cow drinks little water.

The rest is "traditional":

  • spoiled food;
  • an excess of straw and twigs in the diet;
  • feeding a large amount of fermentation waste;
  • excess concentrates;
  • lack of exercise;
  • crowding;
  • long-term transportation;
  • other inappropriate conditions of detention.

In acute hypotension, scar contractions are weak. The gum can be lethargic, short, sparse, or absent altogether. In acute atony, the scar stops shrinking completely. The cow does not drink water well, which leads to a mild degree of dehydration. You can notice this by the dryness of the manure. Bowel movements are rare. Symptoms of the disease may not be noticed if you rarely contact the cow. According to other signs, temperature, pulse and respiration, it is impossible to determine acute atony. These indicators are almost normal.

In chronic atony, deterioration of the cow's condition alternates with improvement. Diarrhea gives way to constipation. Exhaustion is progressing.

Treatment begins only after the cause of the disease has been established, since otherwise attempts to help can be harmful. The veterinarian prescribes therapy.

Rumen acidosis

This is the name for increased acidity in the rumen. Acidosis is chronic or subacute.

The reasons for the development of the disease are feeding a large amount of carbonaceous feed:

  • apples;
  • sugar beet;
  • corn;
  • silo;
  • grain concentrates.

All of these feeds are considered "milk-producing", and owners sometimes increase their proportion to the detriment of high-fiber foods such as hay and straw. Such unbalanced feeding leads to a change in the composition of microflora in the rumen, an increase in the concentration of fatty acids and the development of metabolic acidosis.

The cow refuses to eat, but may drink a lot of water in an attempt to reduce acidity. The state of the animal is depressed, the gait is shaky. The feces are liquid, gray or yellow-green in color.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of anamnesis and laboratory tests of cicatricial juice, so you cannot do without a veterinarian. Treatment is carried out with drugs that reduce acidity. Be sure to change the cow's diet. With the elimination of the causes and timely treatment, the prognosis for acidosis is favorable.


In case of poisoning, cows are not always depressed. Some poisons cause excitation of the nervous system. Most often, the main symptom of food poisoning is intestinal upset. With almost all types of poisoning, cows stop eating, but they can drink more than usual. Atony of the scar or tympanum is often observed, which automatically means the absence of chewing gum.

Attention! Most often, when poisoned, the cow does not feel anxiety, but weakness and lethargy.

In case of poisoning, cows often cannot get to their feet


Chewing gum is a sign of a calm, relaxed state of the cow. With any distractions, fear, pain, and the like, the gum stops. Before calving, not only hormonal changes in the body take place, preparing the cow for milk production. About a day before the birth of the calf, the position of the internal organs begins to change: the abdomen drops, the ligaments of the hip joint become elastic. The anticipation of labor begins, which also does not add peace of mind to the cow. The cow often does not eat or even drink before calving.

In case of complications after calving, there will also be:

  • bad feeling;
  • refusal to feed;
  • unwillingness to drink;
  • lack of gum;
  • the urge to lie.

Increased temperature is possible with the development of inflammatory processes.

But even without complications, at first the cow will only drink water. A warm and preferably sweetened drink should be offered to the animal immediately after calving. Whether a cow will eat willingly on the first day depends on her health and well-being.

But these cows are few. Basically, the first time gum appears when a calf standing on its legs begins to suck on the udder. In the first 2-3 days after calving, the chewing gum may be mild. At this time, the cow's internal organs are still "in place". This does not contribute to a relaxed state.

It is worse if the cow refuses to eat, does not drink, does not try to get up and does not chew gum. With a high degree of probability, she has complications.

Postpartum complications

By and large, all postpartum complications, one way or another, lead to the fact that the cow does not eat or drink or does it reluctantly. Almost all of these problems are accompanied by severe pain, in which there is always no chewing gum. The development of inflammatory processes with the onset of fever can increase thirst, but not appetite.

Most often, calving goes well, but it is better that it is not on a trampled, dirty pasture, but in a special box with a clean bedding

Postpartum hemoglobinuria in cows

It develops most often in high-yielding cows soon after calving. In Russia, it is most common in the Asian part. Presumably, it can occur in other regions of the country, but there it is mistaken for food poisoning, leptospirosis, piroplasmosis or the common cold.

The etiology of the disease is not fully understood. Observations have shown that, with a high degree of probability, the main reason is phosphorus deficiency. Hemoglobinuria developed in cows that were fed large amounts of feed rich in oxalic acid.

At the initial stage of the disease, cows experience depression. The animal does not eat well, but drinks a lot of water, since it has a slight fever. Diarrhea and hypotension develop. The gum becomes less intense or disappears altogether. Milk yield is declining. Obvious signs of hemoglobinuria appear only at the second stage of development: dark cherry urine containing protein and decay products of blood and kidneys.

The prognosis is usually poor. Death or forced slaughter of up to 70% of sick cows is possible within 3 days. Since the disease is caused by feeding disorders, immunity is not developed.

When treating, feeds that cause disease are first of all excluded. They give a solution of sodium bicarbonate to drink, 100 g per day for a course of 3-4 days. Supportive therapy is also given.

Milk fever

This problem is hard to miss. Most often it develops when feeding high-yielding cows with a large amount of concentrates. Signs may appear even before calving, although the "standard" development of the disease occurs 2-3 days after the birth of the calf. In non-standard ones - during calving or 1-3 weeks after it.

Since paresis is a paralysis of the limbs, gastrointestinal tract and other organs, the cow does not eat or drink. There is no chewing gum. It is difficult to do something if the muscles are paralyzed. The owner will easily notice the disease, since the cow cannot stand, and the neck is S-shaped.

The treatment is carried out therapeutically, but you cannot do without a veterinarian. The method of treatment includes pumping the udder with air using the Evers apparatus. It is unlikely that this machine will be in the personal possession of a small farmer. It is easier to take preventive measures by providing the cow with a balanced diet. Before calving and immediately after it is given to drink sweet water.

Judging by the protruding bones, this cow is not the only problem with paresis.

Prolapse of the uterus

With this complication, the cow does not eat or drink, and does not remember the chewing gum. She has a hefty bag of red flesh dangling in the back, pulling on her insides, inflicting intense pain. In this situation, there is no question of food, drink, or chewing gum. But the owner is unlikely to pay attention to such trifles at such a moment. Reduction of the uterus will require a veterinarian with pain relievers and several people.

One of the reasons for the subsequent prolapse of the uterus in a cow is heavy calving, forced pulling of the calf and dry birth canal

What to do if a cow doesn't have gum

Eliminate the cause. The chewing gum will appear on its own when the cow's condition returns to normal, she starts eating, drinking and no longer experiencing pain. There was an experience of "despair therapy" in a remote village during tympania: remove the gum from the mouth of a healthy cow and feed it to the sick one. This will help restore the bacterial balance in the rumen. Or maybe not. But it won't get any worse.

Why does a cow refuse to eat

She has a lot of reasons for this:

  • infectious diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract;
  • non-communicable diseases caused by disturbances in the maintenance and unbalanced diet;
  • mechanical blockage anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract.

The most common problems with an unbalanced diet for dairy cows are ketosis and calcium deficiency.


It occurs when there is a lack of glucose and an excess of fat and protein in the diet. But an important role in the development of ketosis is played by a chronic lack of a complex of macronutrients in feed:

  • cobalt;
  • copper;
  • iodine;
  • zinc;
  • manganese.

The subclinical form of the disease does not externally manifest itself, therefore, this stage is missed in private and small farms. At the initial stage of clinical manifestations, the cow is reluctant to eat, the chewing gum periodically disappears due to hypotension of the scar, the appetite is perverted. As milk yield is also declining, the owner becomes worried. But milk yield goes down with every sneeze.

Severe ketosis is characterized by the cow not eating or drinking. The gum disappears completely due to the atony of the scar. The state of excitement is replaced by oppression. The body temperature is lowered. In addition, observe:

  • constipation;
  • diarrhea;
  • an enlarged liver;
  • decreased urine output;
  • acidic reaction of urine and rumen contents;
  • mastitis;
  • reproductive dysfunction;
  • postpartum complications.

Treatment of the disease is carried out with the help of injections of glucose, insulin, Sharabrin liquid and other necessary drugs. Depending on the type of medication, something is injected intravenously, something subcutaneously, and Sharabrin's fluid is injected into the abdominal cavity. So you can't do without a veterinarian.

In addition to drug therapy, symptomatic treatment of the disease is carried out with drugs that stimulate chewing gum, heart and sedatives.

Easily digestible carbohydrates are introduced into the cow's diet, bringing their ratio to protein to 1.5: 1. They give sweet water to drink. A complex of micro- and macroelements is also added to the feed.

Ketosis in a cow can occur even with free grazing if the grasses are poor in macronutrients.

Lack of calcium

He's hypocalcemia. Other names:

  • postpartum paresis;
  • hypocalcemic fever;
  • birth paresis;
  • labor apoplexy;
  • childbirth coma;
  • milk fever.

The signs of calcium deficiency are described above in the section "Maternity paresis".

Other reasons

In addition to vitamin deficiencies, a lack of various elements and the listed problems with the gastrointestinal tract, the cow often does not eat or drink for other reasons. One of them: mechanical blockage of the esophagus.

This is a common disease in cows that ingest food for the first time without chewing. May be complete or incomplete. If the blockage is incomplete, the animal drinks a little, but does not eat. The chewing gum also stops. There is a problem when swallowing pieces of wire, nails and other objects that get stuck in the esophagus, but do not completely block the passage.

With a complete blockage, the cow does not eat, drink, or chew gum. She is anxious. Drooling, frequent swallowing movements, and rumen flatulence are observed.

With timely assistance, the cow will recover. But if the blockage is complete, and no treatment is provided, then the animal suffocates for several hours. So it is impossible to hesitate when the esophagus is blocked.

What to do if a cow eats poorly

Check the state of her health and oral cavity. Under certain circumstances, cattle may refuse to drink but not eat. If a cow has lost a lot of weight, but willingly, at first glance, eats and drinks, she has stomatitis with a high degree of probability. The animal is hungry and tries to eat, but cannot chew food.


It is a common disease in domesticated herbivores that cannot live naturally and eat a wide variety of foods.

Causes of stomatitis:

  • improper erasure of molars;
  • inept giving of drugs that cause burns to the mucous membrane of the tongue and oral cavity;
  • feeding very roughage;
  • eating poisonous plants;
  • diseases of the scar and pharynx;
  • infectious diseases.

With stomatitis, the cow may first swallow the feed, which gives the impression of a good appetite. But there is no chewing gum, and the unprocessed food is sent back to the rumen. When feeding with compound feed pellets, the already soaked concentrate can pass into the stomach. But with a lack of roughage, gastrointestinal diseases and metabolic disorders develop.

Stomatitis, due to which the cow does not eat or drink very little, can be a symptom of foot and mouth disease.

Why the cow doesn't drink

If only a sick animal does not eat, then an absolutely healthy cow cannot drink either. Reasons why livestock refuses to drink:

  • enough water in the lush grass in the pasture;
  • the water in the drinker is dirty;
  • in winter the water is too cold to drink.

In summer, when grazing on succulent grass, the cow may not drink water for 2-3 days. Although sometimes she probably drinks a little, but this is almost imperceptible compared to the usual rate.

In winter, cows should be given water to drink at least + 10-15 ° C. Otherwise, after a couple of sips, the animal will refuse water. And with a lack of fluid, saliva will be too little to properly soak the gum.

A thirsty cow will drink even stinking water with worms, but then you should not be surprised that she refuses to eat, and she does not have chewing gum due to problems with the gastrointestinal tract

Prevention measures

It is always easier to prevent any diseases than to cure later. Or not to heal, but to slaughter the cow right away. In addition, preventive measures for most diseases are very simple. It is enough just to keep livestock with dignity:

  • provide a full exercise;
  • monitor the cow receiving the required amount of ultraviolet radiation (in other words, he walked all daylight hours);
  • do not give spoiled feed;
  • do not feed with moldy hay;
  • observe the necessary proportions in the diet between different types of feed;
  • monitor the purity and temperature of the water.

To prevent infectious diseases, it is necessary to vaccinate the cow on time and follow the usual sanitary and veterinary rules.


If the cow does not eat, drink, or gum, this is an excuse to fall into a slight panic and start calling the veterinarian. It can be considered lucky if it is "just" tympania, and the home medicine cabinet has some remedies for it. In all other cases, the cow needs the help of a veterinarian.

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