Now, when I think of the word ‘cute’, a bull doesn’t immediately come to mind. But an adorable calf named Lil’ Bill has recently taken the internet by storm.
This past October, a pair of long-time Simmental breeders discovered a tiny calf laying in their pasture. After caring for the baby for a couple of days, they brought him to the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine (MSU-CVM) to receive advanced medical care.
From what the MSU-CVM vets can ascertain, Lil’ Bill was born approximately one month premature. Like many preterm calves, he was having trouble breathing because his lungs hadn’t finished developing. But there was another thing that made Lil’ Bill very special.
Being born at a mere 7.5 pounds, Lil’ Bill could be the world’s smallest bull.
Vets are planning genetic tests to check for dwarfism, but as of this moment, they have no idea why he’s so small. For comparison purposes, the average baby calf weighs anywhere from 50 to 80 pounds. Lil’ Bill weighs 7.5 pounds (or 3.5 kilograms)— the size of your average domestic housecat.
Aside from respiratory issues, Lil’ Bill appears to be completely normal. “Other than sleeping a lot, which is normal for preemies, Lil’ Bill behaves much like most five-week-old calves,” said Dr. Gretchen Grissett, the bull’s attending vet.
“Once awake he trots around looking for attention, often head-butting team members to demand more milk!”
Currently, Lil’ Bill is under 24/7 veterinary care, being provided with therapeutic oxygen and, at times, a feeding tube. His legs aren’t completely developed, so he needs to wear leg splits.
Dr. Grissett told the MSU Newsroom:
“Many of the issues we are facing with him are, in fact, very similar to those experienced with premature babies.”
“It often takes them months to grow and become as strong as they should have been at birth, and they commonly face development delays and other such problems— if they’re fortunate enough to survive.”
While the vet is growing increasingly confident that Lil’ Bill will make it, she does want to emphasize that he still faces challenges on the road to recovery. “Lil’ Bill has already beaten the odds by making it past his one-month mark,” she noted.
“He certainly has the will to survive. Our goal is to make sure he has the opportunity to do so.”
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Lil’ Bill has taken the internet by storm and is capturing our hearts along the way. Here’s some behind the scenes footage of the amazing bull and the MSU veterinarian who works with staff and students to nurse him back to health. #WeRingTrue
Posted by Mississippi State University on Thursday, December 13, 2018