Thursday, March 21, 2013

Horseshoes - Important In Vet Work

So spring has started, not because there is massive amounts of (frozen, crystallized) water laying, but since the stork has been seen flying about.  Now, as a large animal vet, when you get a call this time of year, it could be anything related to the reproduction tract - being things not falling out of it like they should, or things falling out of it like they shouldn't.  The season started with a few cesarean sections, a few calves thought they would stick around and wait for spring, and others decided it was better to head for the light to the spring pastures in the sky. If you are in the racket long enough, you will see many things, and find out that it never is replicated as in the text books - funny how they never had any vet in the books with blood sprayed onto their face, or cow dung down their bra (yes, it happens quite a lot).
On one particular day, it was full of several different calls - not just the run of the mill calving calls.  First there was a little dog that thought eating a whole lot of wieners would be a good thing - but like drinking, it would seem to be a good idea at the time, but there would be payback.  As the little tyke was put on IV to give his pancreas a break, there was a rash of 4-D cows occurring (dead, diseased, down or...oh damn, can't remember the last, I am getting distressed...wait, that's it - distressed).  Let those heads roll!  After one lobotomy (yes, I do class myself as a brain surgeon for these jobs), a puppy with a limp had to be looked at, and after that a cow that had seen hard times - and I thought that this gal too would have to have a future lobotomy done.
By this time, I was thinking it was the end of the day - but wait, yet another call came in.  This one was a prolapse.  Now, it is important to always ask if the cow has calved - since some prolapses will be a basketball (vagina) sitting out.  This makes me remember in my younger days when an emergency calving was called in, and said that the water bag was out, but not progressing.  By the time I got there, the fellow had tried to slice open the water bag so the calf could come.  You see where this is heading?  No head was in sight, just the prolapsed vagina, which had several cuts on it.  But I digress.  The prolapse in question was the uterus, and I gathered my materials and went on my merry way. Now, as I was driving, I was thinking of all the horrific things that could happen - the cow could be down, in the field, in the dark (which has happened before, but add in the middle of a rose thicket while it was raining - this is when I looked up into the starry sky and proclaimed "I LOVE my job!") Some prolapses take a whole lot of grunting to put them in, and sometimes the cow is grunting to pop it back out.  I got to the place, and was pleased to see the heifer could stand - my preference.  We got her in the head gate and gave her epidural.  I don't know if the human anesthesiologists feel the same way when they find that perfect spot when doing an epidural -but in the bovine, I found the sweet spot and.. pphhsst ..the freezing was getting sucked in.  I had asked the rancher to get me some water, and I managed to get the organ back into its proper place, with minimal grunting on my..or the heifer's...behalf in the time it took him to get the water.  Having done a tough one the year before at the same place, I do believe he had expected a longer visit from me.
After finishing the job, I then started to go home for supper - the chili I had put in the crock pot was calling my name - when yet another call came in.  This time, it was a hip locked calf (that is when the calf is out to its hips, and can't come any more).  Three grown men had worked on it for a couple of hours, and they wanted me to come cut off the calf and get it out.  This also reminds me of the time of a similar experience, and I did cut the calf...but then I had to do a cesarean to retrieve the other half since I couldn't reach it.  I gathered everything which I needed, and dreaded the worst.  When I got there, I mentioned that I would just like to try a special maneuver to see if I can get the calf out.  The rancher made it understood that he had calved a lot of cows in his past, and there was no way this calf was coming out.  My horseshoe must have been extra shiny that day - the calf was pulled out and I was back in my truck within 10 minutes-they even wrote down my number on their calving cupboard for the next time (not like a number on a bathroom wall, but close!).  I eventually made it home and had a late night supper.

The click-clack of horseshoes will continue in the next blog.


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