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Category: Diseases and their Remedies

In natural labor--as has been suggested in a former part of this
work--the aid of man is rarely required in bringing away the calf. But
it not infrequently happens that, from malformation or wrong
presentation, our assistance is required in order to deliver the animal.

The brute force, which has been far too often heretofore resorted to,
should no longer be tolerated, since the lives of many valuable animals
have been sacrificed by such treatment. Very often, by gentle
manipulation with the greased hand, the womb can be so dilated as to
afford a comparatively easy exit for the foetus.

If, however, the calf is presented wrong, it must be pushed back and
placed in its proper position, if possible. In natural labor, the
fore-legs, with the head lying between them, are presented; in which
position--unless deformity, either in the pelvis of the cow, or in the
foetus, exists--the calf is passed with little difficulty, and
without assistance. It sometimes happens that the head of the foetus
is turned backward. When this happens, the attendant should at once
strip himself to the waist, bathe his arms, and hands with a little
sweet-oil, or lard, and introduce them into the vagina, placing a cord
around both fore-feet, and then, pushing them back, search for the head,
which is to be brought forward to its proper position. The feet are next
to be brought up with it. No force should be used, except when the cow
herself makes the effort to expel the calf; otherwise, more harm than
good may be done.

A case of this kind recently occurred in the author's practice, being
the third within a year. The subject was a cow belonging to William
Hance, Esq., of Bordentown, New Jersey. After she had been in labor for
some twenty hours, he was called upon to see her. Upon inquiry, he found
that several persons had been trying, without success, to relieve her.
She was very much prostrated, and would, doubtless, have died within two
or three hours, had no relief been afforded. The legs of the foetus
protruded as far as the knees; the head was turned backward, and with
the body, pressed firmly into the vagina, so that it was impossible to
return it, or to bring the head forward. The operation of embryotomy
was, therefore, at once performed, by cutting away the right shoulder,
which enabled the operator, with the aid of his appropriate hooks, to
bring the head forward, when the calf came away without further
trouble,--the whole operation not requiring fifteen minutes. The
uterus was then washed out, and the animal placed in as comfortable a
position as possible, and a stimulating draught given, composed of two
ounces of nitric ether, one ounce of tincture of opium, and a half pint
of water. This was followed with a few doses of Fleming's tincture of
aconite, ten drops in a little water, every few hours. In a few days the
animal had entirely recovered.

Occasionally, the head comes first, or the head and one leg. In such
cases, a cord should be slipped around the jaw and leg, and these then
pushed back, so as to allow the other leg to be brought up. When this
cannot be done, the foetus can, in most cases, be removed in the
original position.

Breech, side, back, and other presentations sometimes occur; in all of
which instances, the foetus must be turned in such a position that
it can be brought away with as little trouble as possible. When this
cannot be accomplished, the only resort is embryotomy, or cutting up of
the foetus, which operation can only be safely performed by the
qualified veterinary surgeon.

Since writing the above, another case has occurred in the author's
practice. The cow--belonging to Samuel Barton, Esq., near Bordentown,
New Jersey--had been in labor some eighteen hours; upon an examination
of the animal, the calf was found to be very much deformed, presenting
backwards,--one of the hind-legs having been pulled off by the person or
persons assisting her previous to the author's arrival. Finding it
impossible to deliver her in the usual way, embryotomy was in this
instance employed. By this means, after taking out the intestines,
lungs, etc., of the foetus, and cutting away its hind-quarters, the
fore-parts were brought away. The head presented a singular appearance;
the under jaw was so twisted as to bring the front teeth on the side of
the face; the spinal column or back-bone, was turned twice around,
resembling a spiral string; the front legs were over the back; the ribs
were much contorted; the hind-parts were as much deformed; and, taken
altogether, the deformity was the most singular which has been brought
under the author's observation.

FREE MARTINS.--It has long been supposed by stockbreeders, that if a cow
produce twins, one of which is a male and the other a female, the female
is incapable of producing young, but that the male may be a useful
animal for breeding purposes. Many instances have occurred when the twin
sister of a bull has never shown the least desire for the male.

This indifference to sexual commerce arises, doubtless, from the
animal's being but imperfectly developed in the organs of generation.
This fact has been established by the investigations of Mr. John Hunter,
who had three of these animals slaughtered for anatomical examination.
The result is thus reported: "The external parts were rather smaller
than is customary in the cow. The vagina passed on, as in the cow, to
the opening of the urethra, and then it began to contract into a small
canal, which passed on into the division of the uterus into the two
horns; each horn passed along the edge of the broad ligament laterally
toward the ovaria.

"At the termination of these horns were placed both the ovaries and the
testicles. Both were nearly of the same size, which was about as large
as a small nutmeg. To the ovaria, I could not find any Fallopian

"To the testicles were vasa deferentia, but they were imperfect. The
left one did not come near the testicle; the right one only came close
to it, but did not terminate in the body called the epididymis. They
were both pervious and opened into the vagina, near the opening of the

"On the posterior surface of the bladder, or between the uterus and
the bladder, were the two bags, called vesiculae seminales in the male,
but much smaller than they are in the bull. The ducts opened along with
the vasa deferentia. This animal, then, had a mixture of all the
parts, but all of them were imperfect."

Well-authenticated cases have, however, occurred where the female has
bred, and the offspring proved to be good milkers. There are several
instances on record of cows' giving birth to three, four, and even five
calves at a time. There were on exhibition, in 1862, at Bordentown, New
Jersey, three free martins, two sisters and a brother, which were
beautiful animals. These were from a cow belonging to Mr. Joab Mershon,
residing on Biles Island, situated in the Delaware River, a short
distance above Bordentown. They were calved November 1st, 1858, and were
therefore nearly four years of age. They had never shown the least
desire for copulation. Their aggregate weight was 4300 pounds.

We extract the following from the London Veterinarian, for 1854:--"A
cow, belonging to Mr. John Marshall, of Repton, on Wednesday last, gave
birth to five, live healthy calves, all of which are, at the time I
write, alive and vigorous, and have every appearance of continuing so.
They are all nearly of a size, and are larger and stronger than could be
supposed. Four of them are bull-calves.

"The dam is by no means a large one, is eleven years old, of a mongrel
breed, and has never produced more than one offspring at any previous
gestation. I saw her two days after she had calved, at which time she
was ruminating, and did not manifest any unusual symptoms of exhaustion.
I may mention that the first four calves presented naturally; the fifth
was a breech-presentation."

CLEANSING.--The placenta, or after-birth, by which the foetus is
nourished while in embryo, should be removed soon after calving.
Generally, it will come away without any assistance. This is what is
called "cleansing after calving." When, however, it remains for some
time, its function having been performed, it becomes a foreign body,
exciting uterine contractions, and therefore injurious. The sooner,
then, it is removed, the better for the animal as well as the owner. To
accomplish this, the hand should be introduced, and, by pulling gently
in various directions, it will soon yield and come away. Should it be
allowed to remain, it rapidly decomposes, producing a low, feverish
condition of the system, which greatly interferes with the general
health of the animal.

INVERSION OF THE UTERUS.--The uterus is sometimes turned inside out
after calving. This is, generally, the result of debility, or severe
labor. The uterus should be replaced as carefully as possible with the
hands, care being taken that no dirt, straw, or other foreign substance
adheres to it. Should it again be expelled, it would be advisable to
quiet the system by the use of an anaesthetic, as chloroform, or--which
is much safer--chloric ether. As soon as the animal is under the
influence of this, the uterus may be again replaced. The
hind-quarters should be raised as high as possible, in order to favor
its retention. The animal should have a little gruel and a bottle of
porter given to her every five or six hours, and the vulva should be
bathed frequently with cold water.

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Previous: Open Joints

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