The other day, dad came home very excited to share a calving adventure he had early that morning.
A heifer was trying to calve, but couldn’t. Dad realized that her calf was trying to come out backwards. A calf is supposed to come out front feet and head first, but this one was coming out back feet first. Dad quickly got her into the barn and put her into a head catch. Pulling a calf backwards is no big deal; the only problem is that he had to get the calf out quick. Why? Once the umbilical cord breaks, the calf won’t be able to breathe until he’s out of the cow, and his face comes out last. So, dad efficiently pulled the calf out. He set to work to make sure it was healthy and could breathe. When he looked back up at the cow, her whole uterus had come out. The cow had prolapsed.
How does a cow prolapse? It happened because the cow was straining too hard through the whole event and in the end, the uterus came out. Luckily, it had just happened. When it is still fresh, it is easy (or easier) to stick the uterus back in. Dad said that there are times that a prolapse isn’t found until the next day. When this happens, the uterus can get really swelled up and dirty, making it much harder to put it back in its place. There are even times when it is bad enough that the vet has to amputate the uterus.
Dad said the first thing he did was clean up the uterus and detach the placenta. With this done, he could push it right back in the cow, making sure it has no folds in it. He also said that sometimes the cow will strain some more and the uterus could come out again. So, he held it in until she stopped straining, then he waited around for awhile just to make sure the cow didn’t try to prolapse again. When she didn’t, dad called the vet to see what else he needed to do. The vet suggested giving the cow an injection of Oxytocin, just to help the uterus in starting to shrink down to its normal size. He also gave it a dose of LA 300 antibiotic to help fight infection.
Now, the cow and calf both seem to be healthy and doing well! The cow and her calf got turned out to pasture with the rest of the pairs. A potential disaster became a success!