United States. Bureau of Animal Industry.

Special report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding online

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even days after labor pains and the escape of the waters intimate the
danger of delay, and not seldom the lorig delay has been filled up with
unintelligent and injurious attempts at rendering assistance, violent
pulling when resistence is insurmountable without change of position,
injuries to the vagina and womb by ill-considered but too forcibly exe-
cuted attempts to change the position, the repeated and long continued
contact with rough hands and rougher ropes and hooks, the gashes
with knives and lacerations with instruments in ignorant hands, the
infecting material introduced on filthy hands and instruments, and the
septic inflammations started in the now diy and tender passages and
womb, and not (infrequently the death, putrefaction, and bloating of
the calf in the womb, rendering the case extremely unpromising, and
making it impossible to successfully apply many of the measures above
recommended. The labor pains of the cow may have practically ceased
from exhaustion ; the passages of the vagina may be so dry, tender,
friable, red, and swollen that it requires considerable eft'ort even to pass
the oiled hand through them, and the extraction of the calf or any por-
tion of it through .inch a channel seemn a hopeless tusk; the womb


way be equally dry and inflamed and swollen, so tlu.t its lining- mem-
brane or even its entire thickness is easily torn,- the fetal membranes
have lost their natural unctuous and slippery character, and cling
firmly to the dry walls of the womb, to the dry skin of the calf, or to
the hands of the operator; the dead and putrefying calf may be so
bloated with gases that the womb has been overdistended by its pres-
ence, and the two adhere so closely that the motion of the one on the
other is practically impovssible. In other cases reckless attempts to
cut the calf in pieces have left raw surfaces with projecting bones
which dangerously scratch and tear the womb and passages.

In many cases the extreme resort must be had of cutting the fetus
to pieces (embryotomy), or the still more redoubtable one of Csesarean
section (extraction through the flank).


In some cases the dissection of the calf is the only feasible means of
delivering it through the natural passages, and while it is especially
applicable to the dead calf, it is also on occasions called for in the case
of the living. As a rule, a living calf should be preserved if possible,
but if this threatens to entail the death of the cow, it is only in the case
of offspring of rare value that its presentation is to be preferred. To
those acquainted with the toil, fatigue, and discomfort of embryotomy,
no dissuasion is necessary so long as there is a prospect of success from
the simple and generally easier method of rectifying the faulty position
of the calf. But when the correction of the position is manifestly
impossible, when distortions and monstrosities of the fetus successfully
obstruct delivery; when the pelvic passages are seriously contracted
by fractures and bony growths; when the passages are virtually almost
closed by swelling, or when the calf is dead and excessively swollen,
no other resort may be available. In many cases of distortion and
displacement the dismemberment of the entire calf is unnecessary, the
removal of the offending member being all that is required. It will be
convenient, therefore, to describe the various suboperations one by
one, and in the order in which they are usually demanded.


In cutting off a fore limb it is the one presenting that should be
selected, since it is much nu>re easily operated on, and its complete
removal from the side of the chest affords so much more space for
manipulation that it is not often difficult to bring the missing limb or
head into position. The first consideration is to skin the limb from the
fetlock up and leave the skin attached to the body. The reasons for
tli is are: (a) That the skin is the most resistant structure of the limb,
and when it has been removed the entire limb can be easily detached ;
(b) the tough skir left from the amputated limb may be used as a cord


in subsequent traction on the body of the calf; (c) the dissection and
separation of the limb are far more safely accomplished under the pro-
tection of the enveloping skin than if the operator's hands and instru-
ments were in direct contact with the walls of the passages or womb;
(d) the dissection can be much more easily effected while the skin is
stretched by the left hand so as to form a comparatively firmer resist-
ant point for the knife than when it is attempted to cut the soft, yield-
ing, and elastic tissues which naturally offer little solid resistance,
but constantly recede before the cutting edge of the instrument The
pivM'i-vafion of the skin is, therefore, & cardinal principle in the ampu-
tation of all parts in winch it is at all feasible.

The presenting foot is inclosed in a noose and drawn well out of the
pomgM. Then a circular incision through :':< skmfeBUfe ;ir;n:d
the limb just above the fetlock. From this the skin is slit up on the
inner side of the limb to the breast. Then the projecting part of the
limb is skinned up to the vulva, traction being made on the foot by an
-tant so as to expose as much as possible. The embryotomy knife
may now be taken (Plate xxi, Fig. 2), and a small hole having been cut
in the free end of the detached portion of skin, that is seized by the left
hand and extended while its firm connections with the deeper struc-
tures are cut through. The looser connections can be more quickly
torn through with the closed fist, or the tips of the four fingers held
firmly together in a line, or with the spud, of which there are several
kinds. Much of the upper "part of the limb can be skinned more
lily without the knife, but that must be resorted to to cut across
toiiirh bands whenever these interrupt the progress. The skinning
should bo carried upward on the outer side of the shoulder blade to
the spine, or nearly so. Then with the knife the muscles attaching the
elbow and shoulder to the breastbone are cut across, together with
those on the inner side of the shoulder joint, and in front and behind
it so far as these can be reached. Steady traction is now made upon
the foot, the remaining muscles attaching the shoulder blade to the
trunk are torn through with a crackling noise, and the whole limb,
including the shoulder blade and its investing muscles, comes away.
If the shoulder blade is left the bulk of the chest is not diminished,
and nothing has been gained. Before going farther it is well to see
whether the great additional space thus secured in the passages will
allow of the missing limb or head to be brought into position. If not,
the other presenting part limb or head, is to be amputated and
extracted. For the limb the procedure is a repetition of that just


The head is first seized and drawn well forward, or even outside the
vulva, by a rope with a running noose placed around the lower jaw just
behind the incisor teeth, by a sharp hook inserted in the arch of the


lower jaw behind the union of its two branches and bi'XJk of the incisor
teeth, or by hooks inserted in the orbits, or, finally, in case the whole
head protrudes, by a halter. (Plate xxi, Fig. 4 and 4fe.)

In case the whole head protrudes, a circular incision through the skin
is made just back of the ear, and the cut edge being held firmly by the
left hand, the neck is skinned as far as it can be reached. Then the
great ligamentous cord above the spine is cut across at the farthest
available point, together with the muscles above and below the spine.
Strong traction on the head will then detach it at this point and bring
it away, but should there still be too much resistance the knife is
inserted between the bodies of two vertebrae just behind one of the
prominent points felt in the median line below, and their connecting
fibrous cartilage is cut through, after which comparatively moderate
pulling will bring it away. The detached neck and body at once slip
back into the womb, and if the fore limbs are now brought up and
pulled they are advanced so far upon the chest that the transverse
diameter of that is greatly diminished, and delivery correspondingly

If the head is still inclosed in the vagina two methods are availa-
ble: (1) The removal of the lower jaw and subsequent separation of
the head from the neck ; (2) the skinning of the whole head and its
separation from the neck.

To remove the lower jaw the skin is dissected away from it until the
throat is reached. Then the muscles of the cheeks and side of the jaw
(masseters) are cut through and those connecting the jaw with the
neck. When traction is made on the rope round the lower jaw it will
usually come away with little trouble. Should it resist, its posterior
extremity on each side (behind the grinding teeth) may be cut through
with bone forceps, or with a guarded bone chisel. (Plate xx, Fig. 8.)
After the removal of the lower jaw the way will be open to separate
the head from the neck, the knife being used to cut into the first or
second joint from below, or the bone forceps or chisel being employed
to cut through the bones of the neck. Then traction is made on the
head by means of hooks in the orbits, and the hand, armed with an
embryotomy knife, is introduced to cut through the tense resisting
ligament and muscles above the bones. The skin and the strong liga-
mentous cord attached to the poll are the essential things to cut, as the
muscles can easily be torn across. Unless there are great difficulties
in the way it is well to skin the head from the eyes back, and on reach-
ing the poll to cut through the ligament and then bring the head away
by pulling.

If it is decided to remove the entire head at once, it may be skinned
from the front of the eyes back to behind the lower jaw below and the
poll above, then cut through the muscles and ligaments around the
first joint and pull the head away, assisting, if need be in the separa-
tion of the head, Ly using the knife on the ligament of the joint.


If the calf i.s si double-headed monster the skimiiiig of the head must
be carried backward until the point has been reached where both heads
branch from the single neck, and the separation must be made at that
point. The muscles and ligaments are first to be cut through, and if
the part cannot then be detached by pulling, the bodies of the vertebrae
may be separated by passing the knife through the joint. The second
head may now be secured by a noose round the lower jaw or hooks in
the orbits and brought up into place, the body being pushed back to ward
the other side by a repeller so as to make room.

Jt should be added that, excepting in the case of a double-headed
monster, or in case of the head protruding or nearly so, and one or both
fore limbs presenting, it is rarely desirable to undertake amputation of
the head. The space desirable in the passages can usually be seemed
by the much simpler and easier procedure of removing one or both fore


This is sometimes demanded on the one extended limb when the other
can not be brought up and delivery can not be effected ; also in case of
monsters having extra hind limbs; in cases where the calf is dead,
putrid, and bloated with gas, and in some cases of breech presentation
as described under that head.

When the limb is extended the guiding principles are as in the case
of the fore limbs. The skin is cut through circularly sibove the fetlock
and slit up beneath the pelvic bones on the inner side of the thigh. It
is then dissected from the other parts as high as it has been slit on the
inner side and to above the prominence (trochanter major) on the upper
end of the thigh bone on the outer side of the joint. In this procedure
the hands and spud can do much, but owing to the firmer connections
the knife will be more frequently required than in the case of the fore
limb. The muscles are now cut through sill around the hip joint and
strong traction is made by two or three men on the limb. If there is
still too much resistance si knife .is inserted into the joint on the inner
Bide and its round ligsunent cut through, after which extraction will be
comparatively easy. This accomplished, it will often be possible to
extract the fetus with the other leg turned forward into the womb. If
the calf is bloated with gas it may be necessary to remove the other
leg in the same way, and even to cut open the chest and abdomen and
remove their contents before extraction esin be effected. In the case of
extra limbs it may be possible to bring them np into the passages after
the presenting hind limbs have been removed, if this is not practi-
cable they msvy be detached by cutting them through sit the hip joint
as described under Hreceh Presentation.

Another method of removing the hind limb is, sifter having skinned it
over the quarter, to cut through the pelvic IK>UCH from before bsickwsird,
in the median line below, by knife, saw, or long embryotonie (Plato
24G07 15


xx, Fig. 1), and then disjoint the bones of the spine (mcrum) and the hip
bone (ilium) on that side with embryotome, knife, or saw, and then
drag away the entire limb, along with all the hip bones on that side.
This has the advantage of securing more room and thereby facilitating
subsequent operations. Both limbs may be removed in this way, but
on the removal of the second the operator is without any solid point to
drag upon in bringing away the remainder of the fetus.


Ill cases of extra size, monstrosity, or distortion of one end of the body,
it may be requisite to cut the body in two and return the half from the
passages into the womb, eVen after one half has been born. The pre-
senting members are dragged upon forcibly by assistants to bring as
much of the body as possible outside. Then cut through the skin
around the body at some distance from the vulva, and with hand, knife,
and spud detach it from the trunk as far back into the passages as can
be reached. Next cut across the body at the point reached, beginning
at the lower part (breast, belly) and proceeding up toward the spine.
This greatly favors the separation of the backbone when reached, and
further allows of its being extended so that it can be divided higher up.
When the backbone is reached, the knife is passed between the two
bones, the prominent ridges across their ends acting as guides, and by
dragging and twisting the one is easily detached from the other. With
an anterior presentation the separation should, if possible, be made
behind the last rib, while with a posterior presentation as many of the
ribs should be brought away as can be accomplished. Having removed
one half of the body, the remaining half is to be pushed back into the
womb, the feet sought and secured with nooses, and the second half
removed in one piece, if possible, and, if not, then after the removal of
the extra limb or other cause of obstruction.


If the body of the calf sticks fast in the passages by reason of the
mere dryness of its skin and of the passages, the obstacle may be
removed by injecting sweet oil past the fetus into the womb through a
rubber or other tube, and smearing the passages freely with lard.
When the obstruction depends on excess of size of the chest or abdo-
men, or thickening of the body from distorted spine, much advantage
may be derived from the removal of the contents of these great cavities
of the trunk. We have already seen how the haunches may be nar-
rowed by cutting the bones apart in the median line below and causing
their free edges to overlap each other. The abdomen can be cut open
by the enibryotomy knife or the long enibryotome in the median line,
or at any point, and the contents pulled out with the hand, the knife
being used in any case when especial resistance is encountered. If the
abdomen is so firmly impacted that it can not be dealt with in this way,


one bind limb and the hip bone on the same side may be removed as
described under Amputation of the Hind Limbs. This will allow the
introduction of the hand into the abdomen from behind, so as to pull out
the contents. By introducing an embryotomy knife in the palm of the
hand and cutting through the muscle of the diaphragm the interior of
the chest can be reached in the same way and the heart and lungs

When, in dealing with an anterior presentation, it becomes necessary
to remove the contents of the chest, the usual course is to cut through
the connections of the ribs with the breastbone (the costal cartilages)
close to the breastbone on each side, and from the abdomen forward to
the neck. Then cut through the muscles connecting the front of the
breastbone with the neck, and its hinder end with the belly, and pull
out the entire breastbone. Having torn out the heart and lungs with
tin- hand, make the rib cartilages on the one side overlap those on the
other, so as to lessen the thickness of the chest, and proceed to extract
the body. If it seems needful to empty the abdomen as well, it is easy
to reach it by cutting through the diaphragm, which separates it from
the chest.



This is sometimes demanded, when the distortion and narrowing of the
hip bones are such as to forbid the passage of the calf, or when inflam-
mation has practically closed the natural passages and the progeny is
more valuable and worthy of being saved than the dam; also in cases
in which the cow has been fatally injured, or is ill beyond possibility of
recovery and yet carries a living calf. It is too often a last resort after
long and fruitless efforts to deliver by the natural channels, and in such
cases the saving of the calf is all that can be expected, the exhausted
cow, already the subject of active inflammation, and too often also of
putrid poisoning, is virtually beyond hope. The hope of saving the
dam is greatest if she is in good health and not fatigued, in cases, for
example, in which the operation is resorted to on account of broken hip
bones or abnormally narrow passages.

The stork-owner will not attempt such a serious operation as this.
Yet, where the mother has just died or is to be immediately sacrificed, no
one should hesitate at resorting to it in order to save the calf. If alive
it is important to have the cow perfectly still. Her left fore leg being
bent at the knee by one person, another may so.ize the loft horn and nose
and turn the head to the right until the nose rests on the spine just
above the shoulder. The cow will sink down gently on her left side
without shock or struggle. One may now hold the head firmly to the
ground, while a second, carrying the end of the tail from behind for-
ward on the insi<! of the right thigh, pulls upon it so as to keep the
right hind limb veil raised from the ground. If time presses she may


be operated on in this position, or if the cow is to be sacrificed a blow
on the head with an ax will secure quietude. Then the prompt cutting
into the abdomen and womb and the extraction of the calf requires no
skill. If, however, the cow is to be preserved, her two fore feet and the
lower hind one should be safely fastened together and the upper hind
one drawn back. Two ounces chloral hydrate, given by injection,
should induce sleep in twenty minutes, and the operation may proceed.
In case the cow is to be preserved, wash the right flank and apply a
solution of 4 grains of corrosive sublimate in a pint of water. Then,
with an ordinary scalpel or knife dipped in the above solution, make an
incision from 2 inches below and in front of the outer angle of the
hip bone in a direction downward and slightly forward to a distance of
12 inches. Cut through the muscles, and more carefully through the
transparent lining membrane of the abdomen (peritoneum), letting the
point of the knife lie in the groove between the first two fingers of the
left hand as they are slid down inside the membrane and with their
back to the intestines. An assistant, whose hands, like those of the
operator, have been dipped in the sublimate solution, may press his
hands on the wound behind the knife to prevent the protrusion of the
intestines. The operator now feels for and brings up to the wound the
gravid womb, allowing it to bulge well through the abdominal wound,
so as to keep back the bowels and prevent any escape of water into the
abdomen. This is seconded by two assistants, who press the lips of
the wound against the womb. Then an incision 12 inches long is made
into the womb at its most prominent point, deep enough to penetrate
its walls, but not so as to cut into the water bags. In cutting, care-
fully avoid the cotyledons, which may be felt as hard masses inside.
By pressure the latter may be made to bulge out as in natural parturi-
tion, and this projecting portion may be torn or cut so as to let the
liquid flow down outside of the belly. The operator now plunges his
hand into the womb, seizes the fore or hind limbs, and quickly extracts
the calf and gives it to an attendant to convey to a safe place. The
womb may be drawn out, but not until all the liquid has flowed out, and
the fetal membranes must be separated from the natural cotyledons,
one by one, and the membranes removed. The womb is now emptied
with a sponge, which has been boiled or squeezed out of a sublimate
solution, and if any liquid has fallen into the abdomen it may be
removed in the same way. A few stitches are now placed in the wound
in the womb, using carbolized catgut. They need not be very close
together, as the wound will diminish greatly when the womb contracts.
Should the womb not contract at once it may have applied against it a
sponge squeezed out of a cold sublimate solution, or it may be drawn
out of the abdominal wound and exposed to the cold air uqtil it con-
tracts. Its contraction is necessary to prevent bleeding from its enor-
mous network of veins. When contracted the womb is returned into
the abdomen and the abdominal wound sewed up. One set of stitches,


to be placed at intervals of 2 inches, are passed through the entire
thickness of skin and muscles and tied around two quills or little rollers
resting on the skin. (Plate xxvm, Fig. 7.) These should be of silver,
and may be cut at one end and pulled out after the wound has healed.
The superficial stitches are put in every half inch and passed through
the skin only. They, too, may be of silver; or pins maybe inserted
through the lips and a fine cord twisted round their ends like a figure
eight. (Plate xxvin, 9.) The points of the pins may be snipped off
with pliers. The edges may be still further held together by the appli-
cation of Venice turpentine, melted so as to become firmly adherent,
and covered with a layer of cotton wool. Then the whole should be
supported by a bandage fixed around the loins and abdomen.



Fetus with its membranes at mid term. The uterus is opened on the left side.
In the uterus the fetus is surrounded by several membrane's, which are known
as the amnion or inner layer, the allantois or central layer, and the chorion
or outer layer. The amnion or inner membrane is nearest the fetus, and
forms a closed sac around it, filled with a fluid known as liquor arnnii, in
which the fetus floats.

The allantois is the central membrane, and is composed of two layers which form
a closed sac in connection with the urachus or the tube which extends from
the fetal bladder through the umbilical cord. The one layer of the allan-
tois is spread over the outer surface of the amnion, and the other over the
inner surface of chorion. The allautois also contains a fluid which is known
as the allantoic liquid.

The chorion is the outer envelope or membrane of the fetus, completely inclos-
ing the fetus with its other membranes. On the outer surface of this mem-
brane are found the fetal placentulte or cotyledons, which, through their
attachment to the maternal cotyledons, furnish the fetus with the means of
sustaining life. The relation of the fetal and maternal cotyledons to each

Online LibraryUnited States. Bureau of Animal IndustrySpecial report on diseases of cattle and on cattle feeding → online text (page 26 of 56)