Update from Lindsay Oxby - June 26, 2014

Nothing beats newborn calves

My externship is rolling right along with only a couple weeks left! On Friday I went on call with one of the large animal emergency vets. I was hoping for some exciting calls! I was lucky enough to see two difficult calvings....emergencies that almost always occur in the middle of the night.

One of the calvings involved a beef cow that was in labour but no calf was coming out. When I reached my hand into her vagina I could feel a set of legs, a head, a tail, and another head!! Twins! (Normally calves present with their two front legs and head coming out first.)

Chains were put onto the two legs that were presented and it was decided that the closer head was connected to this set of legs. The bum of the second twin was pushed back into the uterus, which made lots of room for the first calf to be pulled out. Luckily the calf was alive, a tiny bull calf.

The second calf was not in as good of a position. When you reached in you could feel its spine and back. Luckily the calf was small enough to reposition it. Its’ legs were pulled forward. (It is important to always cup the feet with your hands when you are moving them so they don’t tear through the uterus.) I then pulled the head forward and put a head snare on the calf so that it stayed in the correct position and so that we didn’t lose it again. With the front legs and head now in a normal position the calf was pulled out. Another live bull calf was born!

Unfortunately vets only get to see the toughest calvings, often after the calf has already died. This was a great outcome to this calving. Nothing beats newborn calves!

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