Friday, March 26, 2010

All Guts No Glory

WARNING!! GRAPHIC PICTURES AHEAD!!


We had our first cow c-section today. J and I are usually able to take care of most calving problems. We have only called in help a couple of times. Today was something totally different. I was on my way out to a Career Day at a local high school when J came in and said he had a cow up that was calving and only one leg was out. I said I had 15 minutes but ended up spending about 45 trying to sort out the problem. Instead of 1 leg coming out it was 3 and an upside down head. Usually when more than 2 legs are coming out it means twins so you find 2 legs that match and pull. This technique didn't work. Shifting things around and pulling different combinations didn't work either. I had to leave so J called a large animal vet. I actually got back home from the career day before Dr. T came.
After much struggling and pulling different combinations of legs and head we decided on a c-section.
He sedated her for this procedure.
It is quite a messy business.
This is what came out.
It is called a Schistosomus Reflexus. The ventral body wall didn't join so the back muscles contract pulling the fetus in a very tight back bend with all of the internal organs exposed. The limbs are also deformed and the joints mostly fused. I have pulled a lot of calves but this is the first one of these that I have seen. I hope it is the last.

2 comments:

JSJ said...

We had a malformed calf born yesterday. It was out of a 6 yr.old cow that has always produced a good calf. We had already fed the big bunch and were headed to town. My husband noticed something black at the edge of the pasture away from the road. It was one of those times you knew what it was but didn't want to admit it. We drove up there and of course it was a dead cow. She had prolapsed and bled out. Our next concern was where was the calf and was it alive yet. We walked and walked and finally gave up. We drove across another part of the pasture and found the calf. Huge head that was malformed and no visible eyes. The rest of the body was much, much smaller with badly deformed hooves. We have never had one like that before. No wonder the cow prolapsed, pushing that huge head out. Don't know if we could have saved her or not. We normally do our own prolapses with pretty good success. I need to call my BIL who is a large animal vet about 100 miles from us and see what his thoughts are. We were using two bulls new to our herd last summer. Hope it is just "one of those things" and nothing more.

David said...

Sounds like you had a hydrocephalic calf (google it for interest - make sure you type in calf unless you want to see human babies with the condition). It basically occurs when the fluid in the brain is unable to naturally drain away and pressure builds within the skull. As a growing calf's skull is very soft you end up with hugely deformed skull and often undergrown bodies. As far as I am aware there hasn't been a hereditary link shown.

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