The only "pre-surgical" preparation that was needed was to give the cows each a dose of Dexamethasone about 24 hours prior to surgery. This is a steroid that is commonly used to induce cows that are beyond their due date. It is necessary to give the steroid even when performing a planned C-section because the lungs are the very last thing to be fully developed and functional at the time of birth. The injection of Dexamethasone to the cow, causes the production of the last components of the calf's fully functional lungs so that when the umbilical cord of the calf breaks, the calf is able to take a breath and take in oxygen via the lungs.
As with every surgery, the cow is sedated, clipped, sterile scrubbed and blocked (numbed) with Lidocaine. Luckily I had enough help with these two C-sections, we were able to have a photographer. So this is a post of pictures! I'll explain what we are doing where needed. Both surgeries went very smoothly and there were two happy, BIG, healthy girls born!
|Opening the skin and muscle layers of the cow.|
|Moving the uterus from the right hand side of the cow to the incision.|
|Opening the uterus while my assistant holds the uterus at the incision.|
|Getting the head and legs of the calf out of the uterus.|
|Two other helpers pulling the calf up and out of the uterus.|
|Trying to get the large hips of the calf out without tearing the uterus.|
|The hole the calf just came out of.|
|The empty uterus before being sewn up.|
|Suturing the first layer of the uterus.|
|Suturing the second layer of the uterus. The uterus is closed in 2 layers to prevent leakage.|
|Washing, washing and washing the uterus.|
|More washing of the uterus. Need to get all "extra" stuff off to prevent scarring of the uterus and infection.|
|The uterus back in it's rightful place.|
|Closing the muscle layers of the cow.|
|Closing the skin of the cow.|
|Put back together!|
Both cows were very good patients and stood very well during the entire procedure. Because the body was not yet prepared to have the baby, the placenta was still very strongly attached to the uterus, and I was not able to remove it. Both cows were started on antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick from the surgery or from the retained placenta. They will be checked again at their routine herd check on Friday to be sure they are on the right path to healing. The calves were given 1 gallon of colostrum within 5 minutes of being born, an oral vaccination to prevent colonization of pathogenic E. Coli, and the umbilicus was dipped with 7% tincture iodine to prevent infection entering the body from the open umbilical stump. Both calves were already trying to stand up before I even had their mom sewn up!!! C-sections are a bit harder on the cow than a natural birth, and require a longer recovery time. However, in this situation, based on the size of the calves, these C-sections were the right decision for both the cow and the calf!
|The new addition to the farm!!!|