Today was an unexpected rough day at our farm. Our morning began with a great blessing: cooler weather! We enjoyed milking, almost shivering. We did our chores, fed our cows and calves...and noticed that one of our dry cows was acting sluggish. Her name is Undies...(it's a long story) we acted quickly, calling the veterinarian as soon as we moved her to the milking barn for easier treatment. Our suspicions were correct...something was wrong...our girl was definitely feeling under the weather...but it was so much more than what we thought. Our awesome vet Dr. Nancy was on the scene, and diagnosed a Left Displaced Abomasum (she flipped her stomach to the wrong side of her body-can be painful & deadly, fixed only by surgery). BUT....after a thorough check up, Dr. Nancy also found that our dear Undies also twisted her uterus. It is as painful as it sounds. Dr. Nancy called it the worse case of cramps you can possibly think of. This completely changed that treatment that we needed to do....we now had an emergency on our hands. We needed to do the stomach surgery as well as a c-section for the calf, thereby untwisting the uterus. We had no idea what caused these ailments....but we needed to fix them for Undies.
We had a couple of risks to evaluate before we started the surgeries. If we did the c-sections, odds were not in our favor for a live calf. It was too soon for the calf to live, the lungs would not be developed enough to breathe easily. We wanted to save Undies...so we opted for the surgeries. The stomach surgery went well, and then Dr. Rich arrived to help with the c-section. Somewhat of a miracle happened though, Undies had started labor while we were working on her stomach and was able to deliver her calf normally. We were excited to try, since this would be better for the cow, but maybe not as good for the calf. Dr. Rich pulled out a backwards heifer calf, alive, but struggling to breathe, then Dr. Nancy yelled for help....there was a 2nd calf!!!!! Twins!!!!
Dr. Rich pulled the 2nd calf, also a heifer calf, but also struggling to breathe. We looked like an emergency delivery room: 2 doctors, each working on separate patients, with 2 assistants (Jon and I) working to help. With help we thought we had the calves breathing well, until the 1st born calf had a seizure of sorts and stopped breathing. Within 30 minutes the 2nd calf did the same....all that work and time and we couldn't save the calves, no matter how hard we worked. We had the best vets, providing the best care for our animals, but it wasn't enough. It's with joy I can report that Undies is doing ok, BUT she's no where near out of the woods...she's got a long road ahead, but we'll be with her every step of the way.
Today, even though the results were not all great, we are grateful for the excellent veterinarians that we get to work with. Being a large animal vet is a hard job, but we are blessed to have some very qualified vets to help us when our cows are in need. So today...we pay tribute to some great veterinarians! They are the BEST!