United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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turbed circulation in the womb, fetal membranes, or fetus would cause
similar distortions and variations in the growing offspring. It is doubt-
less largely in the same way that certain mental disturbances of a very
susceptible dam affect the appearance of the progeny. The monstros-
ities which seriously interfere with calving are mainly such as consist
in extra members or head, which can not be admitted into the passages
at the same time; where some organ of the body has attained to extra
size ; where a blighted ovum has been inclosed in the body of a more
perfect one, or where the body or limbs are so contracted or twisted
that the calf must enter the passages doubled up.

Extraction is sometimes possible by straightening the distorted mem-
bers by the force of traction; in other cases the muscles or tendons
must be cut across on the side to which the body or limbs are bent, to
allow of such straightening. Thus the muscles on the concave side of
a wry neck, or the cords behind the shank bones of a contracted limb
may be cut to allow of these parts being brought into the passages, and
there will still be wanting the methods demanded for bringing up
missing limbs or head, for which see paragraphs below. In most cases
of monstrosity by excess of overgrowth it becomes necessary to cut off
the supernumerary or overdeveloped parts, and in this the same genera'
principles must be followed as laid down in Embryotomy.


Simultaneous presentation of twins.

Liuibs curved at the knee. Flexor tendons shortened.
Limb crossed over the hack of the neck.


Fore limbs , Limh bent 1)a<>] _ at lho


Limb bent back from tho shoulder.

Head bent downward on the neck.

Head and neck turned downward beneath the breast.

Head turned to one side upon the side of the neck.

Head and neck turned back on the side of the chest and

r Head turned upward au<l l>.u k\\ ;nl on the back.

[ Hind limbs rotated outward. Toes and stilles turned out-
Hind limbs | ward.

( Hind limbs bent forward, their feet resting in tl^' pelvis.

Transverse Hack of the calf turned to the right or left side.

i Hark of the calf turned to the floor of the pelvis and

Inverted i udder.

I Hind limb bent on itself at the hock. Hock and buttocks

^^ Hind limbs \ present.

I Hind limb bent at the hips. Huttocks present.

o I Transverse Hack of calf turned to tho right or left side.

\ Inverted Hack of calf turned to the Hour of the pel\ is and udder.


{Head up toward the spint,
croup toward ndder.
Head down toward ndder.
croup toward spine.
!Head toward the right side,
croup toward the left.
, * ... , . . .

Head toward the left side,

(^ croup toward the right.

Breast ami abdo- ) toward left.

' Position of calf transverse.. '

( Head toward right side, croup

uieu presented. \ l j Head toward left side, croup

[ toward right.

These include all general presentations, yet other subsidiary ones
will at once occur to the attentive reader. Thus, in each anterior or
posterior presentation, with the back of the calf turned downward or
to one side, the case may be complicated by the bending back of
one or more members as a whole, or at the joint just above the shank-
bones (knee or hock). So also in such anterior presentation the head
may be turned back.


The calf has a greater diameter from above down (spiue to breast-
bone) than it has from side to side, and the same is true of the passage
of the pelvis of the cow, which measures, on an average, 8^ inches
from above downward, and 7-j - inches from side to side. Hence, the
calf passes most easily with its back upward, and when turned with its
back to one side calving is always tardy and may be difficult or impos-
sible. The obvious remedy is to rotate the calf on its own axis until
its spine turns towards the spine of the cow. The operation is not
difficult if the body of the calf is not yet fixed in the passages. The
presenting feet are twisted over each other in the direction desired,
and this is continued until the head and spine have assumed their proper
place. If the body is firmly engaged in the passages the skin of the
whole engaged portion should be freely lubricated with lard, and the
limbs and head twisted over each other as above. The limbs may be
twisted by an assistant where the head is manipulated by the operator,
who drags on the rope turned halfway round the limbs, and assists in
the rotation with his other hand in the passages.



This position (Plate xvi, Fig. 6) is unnatural, and the parturition is
difficult for two reasons: first, the natural curvature of the. fetus is op-
posed to the natural curvature of the passages; and, second, the thick-
est pirt of the body of the calf (the upper) is engaged in the narrowest
part of the passage of the pelvis (the lower.) Yet unless the calf is
especially large and the pelvis of the cow narrow, parturition may
usually be accomplished in this way spontaneously, or with very little


ranee in the way of traction on the limbs. If this can not be
accomplished two courses are open: first, to take the calf as when the
back is turned to one side, and, second, to push back the presenting fore
limbs and head, and search for and bring up the hind limbs, when the
presentation will be a natural posterior one.



These are the exact counterparts of the two conditions last described,
are beset with similar drawbacks, and are to be dealt with on the same
general principles. (Plate xvn, Fig. 4.) With the back turned to one
side, the body should be rotated until the back turns toward the spine
of the dam, and with the back turned down it must be extracted in
that position (care being taken that the feet do not perforate the roof
of the vagina), or it must be rotated on its own axis until the back
turns upward, or the hind limbs must be pushed back and the fore
limbs and head advanced, when the presentation will be a natural
anterior one.


It is very rare to have twins enter the passages together so as to
become firmly impacted. As a rule each of the twins has its own sep-
arate membranes, and as the water-bags of the one will naturally first
enter and be the first to burst, so the calf which occupied those mem-
branes will be the first to enter the passage and the other will be
thereby excluded. When the membranes of both twins have burst
without either calf having become engaged in the pelvis, it becomes
possible for the fore legs of the one and the hind legs of the other to
enter at one time, and if the straining is very violent they may become
firmly impacted. (Plate xviu, Fig. 1.) The condition may be recognized
by the fact that two of the presenting feet have their fronts turned for-
ward, while the two others have their fronts turned backward. If the
four feet belonged to one natural calf they would all have the same di-
rection, liy means of this difference in direction we can easily select
the t\vo feet of one calf, place running nooses upon them just above the
hoofs or fetlocks, and have an assistant drag upon the ropes while the
feet of the other calf are pushed back. In selecting one of the twins
to come first several considerations should have weight. The one that
is mortt advanced in the passage is, of course, the first choice. Though
the forefeet of one are presented, yet if the head is not in place, the call
presenting by its hind feet is to be chosen as Wing less likely to
obstruct. Again, if for either calf one limb only in presented and the,
other missing, the one presenting two feet should be selected to come
first. AH soon as the one calf has been advanced so as to occupy the
pelvis, the other will be crowded back so that it will not seriously



Iii this case not only are the knees somewhat bent in a curve but the
calf has a position as if it rested on its breastbone, while the legs were
drawn apart and directed to the right and left. The shoulder blades
being drawn outward from the chest and the elbows turned out, the
muscles extending from the trunk to the limb are unduly stretched and
keep the knees bent and the feet directed outward so as to press on the
sides of the passages. They become retarded in their progress as com-
pared with the more rapidly advancing head, and may bruise or even
lacerate the Avails of the vagina. It would seem easy to rectify this by
extending the legs, but the already tense and overstretched muscles
operate against extension in the present position, and it is not easy to
rotate the limbs so as to apply the shoulder flat against the side of the
chest. Under these circumstances a repeller (Plate xx, Fig. 7) may be
planted in the breast, and the body of the calf pushed backward into
the womb, when the limbs will extend easily under traction and the
presentation becomes at once natural.


Iii this case the feet will press against the floor of the pelvis though
the limb has no outward direction, and the shoulder meanwhile presses
against the roof of the same passage. Unless the knees can be suffi-
ciently straightened by force a knife must be employed to cut across the
cords behind the knee, when the limbs may be straightened sufficiently.


This is mostly seen in cases in which the body ot the calf is in the
proper position, its back being turned up toward the back of the dam,
and in cows with a drooping abdomen. The feet have been supposed
to catch beneath the brim of the pelvis and being retarded while the
head advances into the passages they get bent at the knee, and the
nose and knees present. (Plate x vi, Fig. 2. ) The calf, however, is not an
inanimate body advanced by the mere contraction of the womb, but it
moves its limbs freely under the stimulus of the unwonted compression,
and in moving the feet as they are advanced they slip down over the
pelvic brim and finding no other firm support they bend back until,
under the impulsion, they can no longer straighten out again. The
knees, therefore, advance with the neck and head, but the feet remain
bent back. The result is that the upper part of the limb is also flexed,
and the shoulder blade and arm bone with their masses of investing
muscles are carried backward and applied on the side of the chest,
greatly increasing the bulk of this already bulky part. As the elbow
is carried back on the side of the chest, the forearm from elbow to knee
further increases the superadded masses of the shoulder and renders
it difficult or impossible to drag the mass through the passages. When


the fore limbs are fully extended, on the contrary, the shoulder blade is
extended forward ou the smallest and narrowest part of the chest; the
arm bone with its muscles is In great part applied against the side of
the back part of the neck, and the forearm is continued forward by the
side of the head so that the nose lies between the knees. In this natu-
ral presentation the presenting body of the calf forms a long wedge or
cone, the increase of which is slow and gradual until it reaches the
middle of the chest.

The difficulty of extending the fore limbs will be in proportion to
the advance of the head through the pelvic cavity. In the early stage
all that is necessary may be to introduce the oiled hand, the left one
for the right leg or the right one for the left, and passing the hand from
the knee on to the foot to seize the foot in the palm, bend it forcibly on
the fetlock, and lift it up over the brim of the pelvis, the knee being,
of course, pressed upward against the spine. As soon as the foot has
been raised above the brim of the pelvis (into the passage) the limb
can be straightened out with the greatest ease.

When, however, the shoulders are already engaging in the pelvis
the feet can not thus be lifted up, and to gain room a repeller (Plate xx,
Fig. 7) must be used to push back the body of the calf. This is an
instrument with a long straight stem, divided at the end into two short
in -inches (2 to 3 inches long) united to the stem by hinges so that they
can be brought into a line with the stem for introduction into the womb
and then spread to be implanted in the breast. In the absence of a
it jM-ller a smooth round fork-handle maybe used, the prongs having
been removed from the other end. A third device is to have an assist-
ant strip his arm to the shoulder and, standing back to back with the
operator, to introduce his right arm into the passages along with the
operator's left (or vice versa) and push back the body of the calf while
the operator seeks to bring up a limb. The repeller or staff having
been planted safely in the breast of the calf, an assistant pushes upon
it in a direction either forward or slightly upward so as not only to fol-
low the natural curve of the body and favor its turning in the line of
that curve within the womb, but also to carry the shoulders upward
toward the Hpine and secure more room for bringing up the missing
feet. It is good policy to first put a halter (Plate xxi. Figs. 4n and 4/>) on
the head or a noose (Plate xxi, Fig. 3) on the lower jaw and a rope round
each limb at the knee so as to provide against the loss of any of these
p:n ts when the body is pushed back into the womb. This offers the
further advantage that by dragging upon these ropes the body can be
advanced in the passage until the foot is reached, when the rope must
be slackened and the repeller used to secure room for bringing up the
foot. If the cow is lying, the operator should flrst secure the foot on
the upper side and then, if necessary, turn the cow on its opposite side
so as to bring up the other.

In using the instruments some precautions are demanded. They
24097 U


must be invariably -warmed before they are introduced, and they should
be smeared with lard or oil to make them pass easily and without fric-
tion. The assistant who is pushing on the instrument must be warned
to stop if at any time resistance gives way. This may mean the turning
of the fetus, in which case the object of repulsion has been accomplished ;
but much more probably it implies the displacement of the instrument
from the body of the fetus, and unguarded pressure may drive it through
the walls of the womb.

When the calf entered the passage with its back turned down toward
the belly and udder, the bending back of the fore limbs is rare, prob-
ably because the feet can find a straighter and more uniform surface of
resistance in the upper wall of the womb and the backbone, and do not
slide over a crest into an open cavity as they do over the brim of the
pelvis. The weight of the calf, too, gravitating downward, leaves more
room for the straightening of the bent limbs, so that the desired relief
is much more easily secured. The manipulation is the same in prin-
ciple, only one must add the precaution of a steady traction on the feet
in extraction, lest, owing to the adverse curvature of the fetus, the
hoofs be suddenly forced through the roof of the vagina., and, perhaps,
the rectum as well, during a specially powerful labor pain.

When the back of the calf is turned to the right side or the left, the
main difference is that in addition to straightening the limbs the fetus
must be rotated to turn its back upward before extraction is attempted.
In this case, too, it may be difficult to bring up and straighten the lower
of the two limbs until the body has been rotated into its proper posi-
tion. Cord the upper straightened limb and head, then rotate the body,
and search for the second missing limb.


This is an exaggeration of the condition just named, and is much
more difficult to remedy, owing to the distance and inaccessibility of the
missing limb. It usually happens with the proper position of the body,
the back of the calf being turned toward the back of the mother. The
head presents in the passage, and may even protrude from the vulva
during an active labor pain, but it starts back like a spring when the
straining ceases. Examination with the oiled hand in the intervals
between the pains fails to detect the missing limb or limbs. (Plate xvr,
Fig. 1.) If, however, the hand can be introduced during a pain it may
be possible to reach the elbow or upper part of the fore arm. In the
absence of a pain a halter or noose on the head maj^beused to advance
the whole body until the forearm can be seized just below the elbow.
This being firmly held, and the head or body pushed back into the
womb, room may be secured for bringing up the knee. The forearm is
used as a lever, its upper part being strongly forced back while its
lower part is pressed forward. If a pain supervenes the hold must be
retained, and whatever gain has been made must be held if possible.


Then during the next pain, by pushing back the body and continuing
to operate the forearm as a lever, a still farther advance' may be made.
As the knee is brought up in this way, the hand is slid down from the
* 1 1. \v ;i rd the knee, which is finally brought up over the brim of the
pelvis and into the passage. It is now corded at the knee, and the
subsequent procedure is as described in the last article. In a large
roomy cow with a small calf the latter may pass with one or both fore
legs bent back, but this is a very exceptional case, and as early assist-
ance is the most successful, there should never be delay in hope of such
a result.


This is a rare obstacle to calving, but one that is not altogether
unknown. The hand introduced into the passage feels the head and
one fore foot, and farther back on the same side the other foot, from
which the limb can be traced obliquely across the back of the neck.
(Plate xvi, Fig. 3.) This foot projecting transversely is liable to bruise
or tear the vagina. If still deeply engaged in the vagina, it may be
seized and pushed across to the opposite side of the neck, when the
presentation will be natural.


In this case, with drooping belly and womb allowing the brim of the
pelvis to form a ridge, the advancing calf having unduly depressed its
nose strikes it on the brim of the pelvis, and the neck advancing, the
head is bent back and the poll and ears either enter the pelvis or strike
:i x ainst its brim. The two fore feet present, but they make no progress,
and the oiled hand introduced can detect no head until the poll is felt
at the entrance of the pelvis, between the fore arms. The two fore feet
must be fixed with running nooses, and dragged on moderately while
the oiled hand seeks to bring up the head. The hand is slid down over
the forehead and brim of the pelvis until the nose is reached, when it
is passed into the mouth, the muzzle resting in the palm of the hand.
The legs are now pushed upon, and in the space thus gained the muzzle
is drawn up so as to enter it into the i>elvis. In doing this the operator
must carefully sec that the mouth does not drop open so that the sharp
front teeth cut through the floor of the womb. Should this danger
threaten, the hand should be made to cover the lower jaw as well. The
lessened security of the hold is more than compensated by the safety
of the procedure. With the nose in the pelvis it has only to be drawn
forward and the parturition is natural.


This is an exaggerated condition of that last named. The head
arrested by the bi im of the pelvis and already bent back on the neck, is


pivssod farther with each successive throe until it has passed between
the fore legs and lodges beneath the breast bone. (Plate xvr, Fig. 4.) On
examination the narrow upper border of the neck is felt between the
fore arms, but as a rule the head is out of reach below. Keeping the
hand on the neck and dragging on the feet by the aid of ropes, the
hand may come to touch and seize the ear, or still better, one or two fin-
gers may be inserted into the orbit of the eye. Then, in pushing back
upon the limbs, with or without the aid of a repeller applied against
the shoulder, space may be secured to draw the head into a vertical
position, and even to slip down the hand so as to seize the nose. Should
it prove impossible to draw up the head with the unassisted fingers, a
blunt hook (Plate xxi, Fig. 6) may be inserted into the orbit, on which,
an assistant may drag while another pushes upon the limbs or repeller.
Meanwhile the operator may secure an opportunity of reacliing and
seizing the nose or of passing a blunt hook into the angle of the mouth.
Success will be better assured if two hooks (Plate xxi, Fig. 7) are in-
serted in the two orbits so as to draw up the head more evenly. In other
cases a noose may be placed on the upper jaw, or even around both
jaws, and traction made upon this and on the hooks in the orbits while
the legs are pushed back, and while the operator pushes back on the
poll or forehead. In still more difficult cases in which even the orbits
can not be reached a sharp hook on the end of a straight iron rod (Plate
xx, Fig. 2) may be inserted over the lower jaw as far forward as it can
be reached, and by dragging upon this while the body is pushed back
the head will be brought up sufficiently to allow the operator to reach
the orbit or nose. If even the jaw can not be reached the hook may be
inserted in the neck as near to the head as possible and traction em-
ployed so as to bring the head within peach.

In all such cases the cow's head should be turned downhill, and in
case of special difficulty she should be turned on her back and held
there until the head is secured. In old standing cases, with the womb
closely clasping the body of the calf, relaxation may be sought by the
use of chloroform or a full dose of chloral hydrate, 2 ounces; and the
free injection of warm water into the womb will also be useful.


With a natural anterior presentation this may happen because of the
imperfect dilatation of the mouth of the womb. Under the throes of
the mother the fore feet pass through the narrow opening into the
vagina, while the nose striking against it, and unable to enter, is pressed
backward into the womb and turns aside on the right or left shoulder.
The broad muzzle of the calf forms an especial obstacle to entrance
and favors this deviation of the head. The worst form of this devia-
tion is the old standing one with shortening of the muscles of the neck
on that side, and oftentimes distortion of the face and neck bones, as
noticed under monstrosities.


When the head is bent on the shoulder the feet appear in the natural
way, but no progress is made, and examination reveals the absence of
the nose from between the knees, and farther back from above and
between the elbows a smooth rounded mass is felt extending to the
right or left, which further examination will identify with the neck.
Following the upper border of this the hand reaches the crown of the
head witli the ears, and still farther the eyes, or even in a small calf
the nose.

As the bulky head of the calf can not be extracted along with the
shoulders it becomes necessary to push back the body of the fetus and
straighten out the head and neck. The cow should be laid with its
head downhill and with that side up toward which the head is turned.
If the throes are very violent, or the womb strongly contracted on the
calf, it may be best to seek relaxation by giving chloroform, or 2 ounces
of laudanum, or 2 ounces chloral hydrate. If the calf or the passages
are dry, sweet oil may be injected, or the whole may be liberally smeared
with fresh lard. In the absence of these, warm water rendered slightly
slippery by castile soap may be injected into the womb in quantity.
Ropes with running nooses are placed on the presenting feet and the
oiled hand introduced to find the head. If, now, the fingers can be
passed inside the lower jaw bone, and drag the head upward and toward
the passage, it unwinds the spiral turn given to the neck in bending

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 24 of 56)