United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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calf as far as it can be reached, with pure fresh lard 5 or pure sweet oil
may be run into the womb through a rubber tube (fountain syringe).
In dragging up the fetus apply strong traction only while the mother
is straining, and drag downward toward the hocks as well as back-
ward. You thus follow the natural curvature of both fetus and pas-
sages, and render the extraction easier.


Any of the various causes of abortion may bring on labor pains
before the time. Straining conies on days or weeks before the time,
and there is not the usual enlargement, swelling and mucous discharge
from the vulva. There is little or no falling in by the sides of the root
of the tail 5 the abdomen has not dropped to the usual extent, and the
udder is less developed and yields little or no milk. In spite of the
pains no water bags appear, and the oiled hand cautiously introduced


into the vagina finds the neck of the womb firmly closed, rigid, and
undilatable. If it is known that the cow has not reached her proper
time of calving, the examination through the vagina should be omitted
and the animal should be placed in a dark, quiet place by herself, and
be given 1 to 2 ounces laudanum. Viburnum prunifoliuin, 1 ounce, may
be added, if necessary, and repeated in three hours. The pains will
usually subside.

In some instances the external parts are relaxed and duly prepared,
but the neck of the womb remains rigidly closed. In such a case the
solid extract of belladonna should be smeared around the constricted
opening and the animal left quiet until it relaxes.


From previous lacerations or other injuries the neck of the womb may
have become the seat of fibrous hardening and constriction, so as to
prevent its dilatation when all other parts are fully prepared for calv-
ing. The enlarged, flabby vulva, the sinking at each side of the rump,
the full udder and drooping abdomen indicate the proper time for calv-
ing, but the labor pains secure no progress in the dilatation of the mouth
of the womb, and the oiled hand introduced detects the rigid, hard, and,
in some cases, nodular feeling of the margins of the closed orifice, which
no application of belladonna or other antispasinodie suffices to relax.
Sponge tents may be inserted or the mechanical dilator (Plate xx. Fig.
6) may be used if there is opening enough to admit it, and if not a
narrow-bladed probe- pointed knife (Plate xxiv, Fig. 2) may be passed
through the orifice and turned upward, downward, and to each side, cut-
ting to a depth not exceeding a quarter of an inch in each case. This
done a finger may be inserted, then two, three, and four, and finally all
four fingers and thumb brought together in the form of a (;one and made
to push in with rotary motion until the whole hand can be introduced.
After this the labor pains will induce further dilatation, and finally the
presenting members of the calf will complete the process.


This is not very uncommon in the cow, the length of the body of the
womb and the looseness of the broad ligaments that attach it to the
walls of the pelvis favoring the twisting. It is as if one were to take
a long sack rather loosely filled at the neck and turn over its closed
end so that its twisting should occur in the neck. The twist may be
one-quarter round, so that the upper surface, would come to look to one
side, or it may be half round, so that what was the upper surface
becomes the lower. The relation of the womb of the cow to the upper
and right side of the paunch favors the twisting. The paunch occu-
pies the whole left side of the abdomen and extends across its floor to
the right side. Its upper surface thus forms an inclined plane, sloping
from, the left downward and to the right, and on this sloping surface


lies the pregnant womb. It is easy to see how, in the constant move-
ments of the paunch upon its contents and the frequent changes of
position of the growing fetus within the womb, to say nothing of the
contractions of the adjacent bowels and the more or less active move-
ments of the cow, should lead the womb to roll downward to the right.
And yet, in many cases, the twist is toward the left, showing that it is not
the result of a simple rolling downward over the paunch, but rather of
other disturbances. The condition may be suspected Avhen labor pains
have continued for some time without any sign of the water-bags, and
it is confirmed when the oiled hand, introduced through the vagina,
finds the mouth of the womb soft and yielding, but furnished with
internal folds running forward in a spiral manner. If the folds on the
upper wall of the orifice run toward the right, the womb is twisted to
the right ; if, on the contrary, they turn toward the left it indicates
that the womb is turned over in that direction. The direction of the
twist must be known before treatment can be undertaken. Then, if
the twist is toward the right, the cow is laid upon her right side, with
her head down hill, the hand of the operator is introduced through the
spirally constricted neck of the womb, and a limb or other portion of
the body of the calf is seized and pressed firmly against the wall of
the womb. Meanwhile two or three assistants roll the cow from her
right side over her back to her left side. The object is to hold the
womb and calf still while the body of the cow rolls over. If success-
ful, the twist is undone, its grasp on the wrist is slackened, and the
water bags and calf press into the now open passage. If the first
attempt does not succeed it is to be repeated until success has been
attained. If the spiral folds on the upper wall of the opening turn
toward the left, the cow is laid on her left side and rolled over on her
back and on to the right side, the hand being, as before, within the
womb and holding the fetus, so that all may not rotate with the cow.
In introducing the hand it will usually be found needful to perforate
the membranes, so that a limb of the calf may be seized direct and
firmly held. Among my occasional causes of failure with these cases
have been, first, the previous death and decomposition of the fetus,
Jeading to such overdistension of the womb that it could not be made
to rotate within the abdomen; and. second, the occurrence of inflam-
mation and an exudate on the twisted neck of the womb, which hin-
dered it from untwisting.

In obstinate cases, in which the hand can be made to pass through
the neck of the womb easily, additional help may be had from the use
of the instrument shown in Plate xx. Fig. 5. Two cords, with running
nooses, are successively introduced and made fast on two limbs of the
calf; the cords are then passed through the two rings on the end of the
instrument, which is passed into the womb and the cords drawn tight
and fixed round the handle. Then, using the handle as a lever, it is
turned in the direction opposite to the twist. The hand should mean-


while be introduced into the womb and the snared limbs seized and
pressed against its .walls so as to secure the rotation of the uterus along
with the body of the fetus. The relaxation of the constriction and
the effacenient of the spiral folds will show when success has been
gained, and the different members at one end of the body should then
lie brought up so as to secure a natural presentation.


In a small cow the pelvis may be too small to pass a calf sired by a
bull of a large breed, but this is exceptional, as the fetus usually
accommodates itself to the size of the dam and makes its extra growth
after birth. When the pelvic bones have been fractured repair takes
pluce with the formation of a large permanent callus, which, projecting
internally, may be a serious obstacle to calving. Worse still, if the
edge of the broken bone projects internally as a sharp spike or ridge,
;i> the vaginal Avails are cut upon this during the passage of the calf,
with serious or fatal result. In other cases, where the cow has suffered
from fragility of bone (fragiliias ossium), the thickening of the bone
causes narrowing of the long passage of the pelvis and the crumb-
ling fractures poorly repaired, with an excess of brittle new material,
may form an insuperable obstacle to parturition. Cows affected in any
of these ways should never again be bred, but if they do get pregnant
and reach full time a careful examination will be necessary to determine
whether natural parturition can take place, or if the calf must be
extracted in pieces. (See Embryotoiny.)


This is not unknown in old cows of the beef breeds, the enormous
masses of fat upon and within the pelvis being associated with weak-
ness or fatty degeneration of the muscles. If the presentation is nat
tiral little more is wanted than a judicious traction upon the fetus to
compress and overcome the soft resisting masses.


In all cases of delayed or tardy parturition the evacuation of rectum
and bladder is iini>ortant, and it is no loss so in all difficult parturi-
tions. Stone in the bladder is fortunately rare in the cow, but when
present it should Ix* removed to obviate crushing and perhaps perfora-
tion of the organ during calving.


Ill a public fairground I have seen labor pains begin early in the day
and keep up in a weak and insufficient manner for many hours, until
the stall was thoroughly closed in and the cow secluded from the eon-
stant stream of visitors and the incessant noise, when at once the pains
became strong .nd oftective and the calf was soon born.



This is common after calving, but will sometimes occur before, as the
result of accidental injury. The mass may be recognized by its dark
hue and the doughy sensation to the touch. It may be cut into and
the mass turned out with the fingers, after which it should be washed
frequently with an antiseptic lotion (carbolic acid 1 dram, in 1 quart


In early fetal life the winding of the navel-string round a limb may
cause the latter to be slowly cut off by absorption under the constrict
ing cord. So, at calving, the cord wound round a presenting member
may retard progress somewhat, and though the calf may still be born
tardily by the unaided efforts of the mother, it is liable to come still-
born because the circulation in the cord is interrupted by compression
before the offspring can reach the open air and commence to breathe.
If, therefore, it is possible to anticipate and prevent this displacement
and compression of the navel string it should be done, but if this is no
longer possible, then the extraction of the calf should be effected as
rapidly as possible, and if breathing is not at once attempted it should
be started by artificial means.


This is an enormous distention of the cavity holding the brain, by
reason of the accumulation of liquid in the internal cavities (ventricles)
of the brain substance. The head back of the eyes rises into a great
rounded ball (Plate xix, Figs. 4 and 5), which proves an insuperable
obstacle to parturition. The fore feet and nose being the parts pre-
sented, no progress can be made, and even if the feet are pulled upon,
the nose can not by any means be made to appear. The oiled hand intro-
duced into the passages will feel the nose presenting between the fore
limbs, and on passing the hand back over the face the hard rounded
mass of the cranium is met with. A sharp pointed knife or a canula
and trocar should be introduced in the palm of the hand, and pushed
into the center of the rounded mass so as to evacuate the water. The
hand is now used to press together the hitherto distended but thin
and fragile walls, and the calf may be delivered in the natural way. If
the enlarged head is turned backward it must still be reached and
punctured, after which it must be brought up into position and the calf

If the hind feet present first, all may go well until the body and shoul-
ders have passed out, when further progress is suddenly arrested by the
great bulk of the head. If possible the hand, armed with a knife or tro-
car, must be passed along the side of the shoulder or neck so as to reach
and puncture the distended head. Failing in this the body may be
skinned up from ,3he belly and cut in two at the shoulder or neck, after


which the head can easily be reached and punctured. In such a case
the fore limbs have been left in the womb, and these may now be brought
up into the passage and when dragged upon, the collapsed head will

If the distention is not sufficient to have rendered the bony walls of
the cranium thin and fragile, so that they can be compressed with the
hand after puncture, a special method may be necessary. A long incision
should be made from behind forward in the median line of the cranium
with an embryo tomy knife (Plate xxi,Fig. 1) or with along einbryotoine
(Plate xx, Fig. 3). By this means the bones on the one side are com-
pletely separated from those on the other, and may be made to overlap
and perhaps to flatten down. If this fails they may be cut from the
head all around the base of the rounded cranial swelling, by means of
a guarded chisel (Plate xx, Fig. 8) and inallcjt, after which there will be
no difficulty in causing them to collapse.


This is less frequent than hydrocephalus, but no less difficult to deal
with. With an anterior presentation the fore limbs and head may come
away easily enough, but no effort will advance the calf beyond the
shoulders. The first thought should be dropsy of the belly, and the
oiled hand introduced by the side of the chest will detect the soft and
fluctuating yet tense sac of the abdomen. If there is space to allow of
the introduction of an einbryotomy knife the abdomen may be freely
cut with this, when the fluid will escape into the womb and parturition
may proceed naturally. If this can not be effected a long trocar and
c, 1 11 u In may be passed between the first two ribs and straight on beneath
the spine until it punctures the abdomen. (Plate xviu, Fig. 2.) Then
the trocar is to be withdrawn and the liquid will flow through the can-
ula and will be hastened by traction on the fore limbs. In the absence
of the trocar and canula, two or three of the first ribs may be cut
from the breastbone so that the hand may be introduced through the
chest to puncture the diaphragm with an embryotomy knife and allow
an escape of the water. In some slighter cases a tardy delivery may
take place without puncture, the liquid bulging forward into the chest
as the abdomen in compressed in the pelvic passages. With a posterior
presentation the abdomen may be pum-tured more easily either in the
flank or with a trocar and canula through the aims.


This occurs from watery blood or disease of some internal organ, like
the liver or kidney, and is recognized by the general putted up and
rounded condition of the body, which pits everywhere on pressure but
without crackling. If not too extreme a case the calf may bo extracted
after it has been very generally punctured over the body, but usually
the only resort ir to extract it in pieces. (See Kmbryotoiny).



This is usually the result of the death and decomposition of the fetus
wlKMi extraction has been delayed for a day or more after the escape of
the waters. It is impossible to extract it whole, owing to its large size
ami the dry state of the skin of the calf, the membranes, and the wall of
the womb. These dry surfaces stick with such tenacity that no attempt
at traction leads to any advance of the calf out of the womb or into the
passages. When the fetus is advanced the adherent womb advances
with it, and when the strain is relaxed both recede to where they were
at first. The condition may be helped somewhat by the free injection
of oil into the womb, but it remains impossible to extract the enormously
bloated body, and the only resort is to cut it in pieces and extract it by
degrees. (See Embryotomy).


Iii the development of the calf, as in after life, the muscles are subject
to cramps, and in certain cases given groups of muscles remain unnat-
urally short, so that even the bones grow in a twisted and distorted
way. In one case the head and neck are drawn round to one side and
can not be straightened out, even the bones of the face and the nose
being curved around to that side. In other cases the flexor muscles of
the fore legs are so shortened that the knees are kept constantly bent
and can not be extended by force. The bent neck may sometimes be
sufficiently straightened for extraction by cutting across the muscles
on the side to which it is turned, and the bent knees by cutting the
cords on the back of the shank bones just below the knees. If this
fails there remains the resort of cutting off the distorted limbs or head.
(See Embryotomy).


Tumors or new growths grow on the unborn calf as on the mature
animal, and by increasing the diameter of the body render its passage
through the passage of the pelvis impossible. In my experience with
large fleshy tumors of the abdomen, I have cut open the chest, removed
the lungs and heart, cut through the diaphragm with the knife, and
removed the tumor piecemeal by alternate tearing and cutting until the
volume of the body was sufficiently reduced to pass through. Where
this failed it would remain to cut off the anterior part of the body,
removing as much of the chest as possible, and cutting freely through
the diaphragm; then, pushing back the remainder of the body, the hind
limbs may be seized and brought into the passages, and the residue
extracted thus. The tumor, unless very large, will get displaced back-
ward so as not to prove an insuperable obstacle.

In many cases the apparent tumor is a blighted ovum which has
failed to develop, but has grafted itself on its more fortunate twin and


from it lias drawn its nourishment. These are usually sacs containing
hair, skin, muscle, bone, or other natural tissues, and only exceptionally
do they show the distinct outline of the animal.


As a monstrous development in the calf may hinder calving, it is
well to consider shortly the different directions in which these devi-
ations from the natural form appear. Their origin and significance
will be rendered clearer if we divide them according to the fault of
development in individual cases. Monsters are such

(1) From absence of parts absence of head, limb, or other organ
arrested development.

(2) From some organ being unnaturally small, as a dwarfed head, limb,
trunk, etc. arrested development.

(3) From unnatural division of parts cleft lips, palate, head, trunk,
limbs, etc. abnormal growth.

(4) From the absence of natural divisions absence of mouth, nose,
eye, anus, the cloven foot of ox or pig becomes solid like that of the
horse, etc. confluence of parts which are rightfully separate.

(5) From the fusion of parts both eyes replaced by central one, both
nostrils merged into one central opening, etc. confluence of parts.

(6) From unnatural position or form of parts curved nose, neck,
back, limbs, etc. lack of balance in the growth of muscles during

(7) From excessive growth of one or more organs enormous size of
head, double penis, superfluous digits, etc. redundancy of growth at
given points.

(8) From imperfect differentiation of the sexual organs hermaphro-
dites (organs intermediate between male and female), male organs with
certain feminine characters, female organs with certain well-marked
male characters.

(9) From the doubling of parts, or of the entire body double mon-
sters, double heads, double bodies, extra limbs, etc. redundant devel-
opment. (Plato xix, Figs. 1, 2, 3.)

The came* of monstrosities are varied. Some, like extra digits, lack
of horns, etc., nin in families, which produce them with absolute cer-
tainty when bred in the direct line, although they were originally
acquired j>ecnliarities, which have merely been fixed by long habit in
successive generations. The earliest horse had five toes, and even the
most recent fossil horse had three toes, of which the two lateral ones
are still represented in the modern horse by the two splint bones. Yet
if our horse develops an extra toe it is pronounced a monstrosity. A
more genuine monstrosity is the solid hoofed pig. in which two toes
have been merged into one. Another of the same kind is the solid
shank bone of the ox, which consists of two tamos united into one. but
which are still found apart in the early fotu.-. Though originally
acquired peculiarities, these now breed as invariably as color or form.


Other monstrosities seem to have started in too close breeding, by
which the powers of symmetrical development are impaired, just as the
procreative power weakens under continuous breeding from the closest
blood relations. A monstrosity consisting in the absence of an organ
often depends on a simple lack of development, the result of disease or
injury, as a young bone is permanently shortened by being broken
across the soft part between the shaft and the end, the only part where
increase in length can take place. As the result of the injury the soft
growing layer becomes prematurely hard and all increase in length at
that end of the bone ceases. This will account for some cases of
absence of eye, limb, or other organ.

Sometimes a monstrosity is due to the inclosure of one ovum in
another, while the latter is still but a soft mass of cells and can easily
close around the first. Here each ovum has an independent life, and
they develop simultaneously, only the outer one having direct connec-
tion with the womb, and being furnished with abundant nourishment
advances most rapidly and perfectly, while the inclosed and starved
ovum is dwarfed and imperfect often to the last degree.

In many cases of excess of parts, the extra part or member is mani-
festly derived from the same ovum, and even the same part of the
ovum, being merely effort of a redundancy and vagary of growth.
Such cases include most instances of extra digits or other organs,
and even of double monsters, as manifested by the fact that such extra
organs grow from the normal identical organs. Hence the extra
digit is attached to the normal digit, the extra head to the one
neck, and extra tail to the croup, extra teeth to the existing teeth,
and even two similarly formed bodies are attached by some point
common to both, as the navels, breastbones, back, etc. (Plate xix,
Figs. 1, 2, 3.) This shows that both have been derived from the same
primitive layer of the embryo, which possessed the plastic power of
building up a given structure or set of organs. An inclosed ovum, on
the other hand, has no such identity or similarity of structure to the
part with which it is connected, showing an evident primary inde-
pendence of both life and the power of building tissues and organs.
The power of determining extra growth along a given natural line is
very highly developed in the early embryo, and is equally manifest in
the mature example of some of the lower forms of animal life. Thus
a newt will grow a new tail when that member has been cut oft', and a
starfish will develop as many new starfishes as the pieces made by cutting
up the original one. This power of growth in the embryo and in the
lower forms of animals is comparable to the branching out again of
a tree at the places from which branches have been lopped. The
presence of this vegetable-like power of growth in the embryo accounts
for most double monsters.

The influence of disease in modifying growth in the early embryo,
increasing, decreasing, distorting, etc., is well illustrated in the experi-


ments of St. Hilaire and Valentine in varnishing, shaking, or otherwise
disturbing the connections of eggs, and thereby producing monstrosities.
One can easily understand how inflammations and other causes of dis-

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 23 of 56)