Monday, July 11, 2016

Surgery on the farm - displaced abomasum

Sometimes in a cow, the abomasum can fill with gas and rise to the top of the abdomen.  This is called a displaced abomasum, or a DA.  This sometimes happens after calving, or it sometimes happens when a cow doesn't eat enough due to another issue, like a sickness.  

The cow then loses her appetite, stops giving as much milk, and has digestive issues in general.  

Today we treated a cow's DA by surgery.  The vet makes an incision, locates the abomasum, returns it to the correct area, tacks it to the body wall, and closes her back up.  

It's rare that we have a DA surgery - this is the fourth one we can remember having in our nine years here.  I was super excited to go see it, and Cole was too!

Becky Bean, a vet at Clinton Veterinary Services, came to do it.  She said she's done hundreds of DA surgeries.  Just the kind of person you want!  

After brushing the area, she clipped the cow's hair.

She cleaned it thoroughly and repeatedly.  Even though you're in a barn, you need a clean and sterile area.

She tied up her tail so she wouldn't switch it into the incision.

After numbing the area, she prepared her instruments, put on her gown and gloves, and prepped her materials for stitching.

She put a drape on the cow to isolate the area, and made the incision.  She carefully cut through the layers.

She found what she was looking for ...

Then with a hollow needle attached to a hose, she had to find the correct place from which to release gas.  She let me smell the gas coming out of the end of the hose.

Cole too.

Here's the abomasum!  Displaced no more!

It was really interesting watching her tack it to the body wall.  She said that your hands just have to remember what to do, and what tension you need, and how to make the stitches.  It reminded me of watching my mom try to teach me how to crochet.

She said it went really well.

Becky stitched her beautifully - it reminded me of a football.

Abomasum back in place.  Thanks, Becky!

We wish our dear cow a speedy recovery.  We'll be watching her extra carefully and hoping she's back to feeling her best soon.

No one wants a DA ... but we'll really do anything to try and take care of our cows.  We're thankful for great vets, employees, and the technology that allows us to care for our herd.

We're also thankful that there's another generation coming up that finds this all as interesting as we do.

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