Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Sweet Smell of Silage

I went riding with the large animal vets again today, and we ended up doing several neat things with cattle. After checking a mare, we went out to a small Wisconsin dairy farm (milking herd = about 50 head) to check on some of their cattle. One has been off feed and dropping in her milk production. Quick and easy diagnosis after the complex and technical "ping" test (you place a stethscope on their left flank and flick it with your finger. a high pitched pinging sound means you have a gas-filled organ right underneath, most likely a gas-filled and abnormally placed abomasum): she had a left displaced abomasum (LDA)! Surgery is needed to correct it, so after clipping, prepping and putting an inverted L block in her right paralumbar fossa, it was cut an in you go! The abomasum was found, decompressed, pexied into its appropriate position and the cow was sutured back up. She was eating voraciously before her abdomen was even closed! It is amazing how well cows do with such procedures. You wouldn't think of doing intra-abdominal surgery on any other species with them standing in their stall. Just goes to show you how amazingly tough these animals are!

Another cow was lame, so we checked her over. When checking for the source of a lameness, one should start at the foot and work their way up. In most cases - particularly with cattle - the source of the lameness is going to be found in the foot. This cow had a nasty abscess in one of her claws. After it was parred out and allowed to drain, the foot was packed in ichthammol and wrapped. I'm sure she felt a lot better with that taken care of.

Due to meetings, there were no more large animal calls today, so I spent the rest of the afternoon helping out on the small animal side. Everything was essentially routine. There is a cat who is very sick with hepatic lipidosis hospitalized at the moment, but it is quiet other than that.

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