Livestock

Disabled calf nursed by Strathy farmer

By Geoff Adams

A severely disabled Shorthorn calf has been given a new lease on life thanks to a Strathmerton farmer and a modified wheelchair.

Buttons, a six-week-old calf, had little hope of survival after her original owner found she was not able to support her hindquarters.

She had apparently suffered some sort of neurological damage at birth and couldn't move her hind legs.

Her owners despaired of any remedy until Kellie Payne, a noted animal rescuer, offered to take the disabled calf.

Ms Payne made a bed for Buttons in a sheltered spot in a shed, gives her massage therapy up to three times a day, and came up with an idea to modify a wheelchair to enable the calf to move about.

“She used to use a sling just to stand, then I thought a wheelchair would be better as she would be building up muscle in her legs at the front.

“She now has freedom to go wherever she wants.

“Bear, our three-year-old cavalier (King Charles spaniel), comes over every morning while I give her a bottle and clean her up and do her physio on her.

“After that we put her cream on her bottom, we get her in her wheelchair. She really loves it. She is very sociable and is able to go wherever she wants.”

Rescuer Kellie Payne with Buttons.

Ms Payne acknowledged that the long-term prognosis was not good, and the wheelchair would only be useful for a while — but she hoped Buttons would improve to the point where her legs could carry her weight.

“We will continue doing what we are doing with her until the time comes when she is too big or really not responding. But ‘til then I’m not giving up on her,” Ms Payne said.

Button uses the wheelchair to chase the two cavalier King Charles spaniels, Bobo and Bear, and the farm's four kelpies, Shocker, Tiny, Dusty and Rusty, as well as their pet sheep on the Strathmerton beef farm.

Ms Payne would like to hear from anyone who has any ideas to help with Buttons’ therapy.

You can contact Ms Payne via email at: [email protected]