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My Jersey bull ate some Wal-Mart plastic bags, what can I do to help him get rid of them?

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Cattle tend to eat all sorts of strange things. This type of plastic should not be too serious, but that depends on how many were eaten. If just 2-5, he should pass them okay, eventually. If more than that, it is possible they could form a "ball" of plastic in the rumen and remain there for quite some time, and cause some indigestion (off feed). The greatest hazard is that one portion of the plastic get trapped in one section of intestine while another portion move on down and then the "string" of plastic between the two "balls" of plastic can act like a saw and cut through the intestine as it is making its normal movements to move feed down the intestine.

 If he ate a lot, you could consider having a veterinarian do a rumenotomy to remove the plastic from the rumen (first stomach). But, since this was sent on April 3, it is probably too late for that anyway as the plastic has probably moved further into the digestive tract. So, if he is eating okay, I would do nothing and just watch the feces for evidence that the plastic is passing on through.  If he becomes ill, you had better contact a local veterinarian for an exam and evaluation.  I don't know of anything else that can be done to help them pass on through.

Posted on 15 May 2007

Clell Bagley
Extension vetrinarian

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