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Handling Calving Difficulties

Handling Calving Difficulties

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Handling Calving Difficulties

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  1. Handling Calving Difficulties This presentation is from Virginia Tech and has not been edited by Georgia Curriculum Office.

  2. Objectives • Define Dystocia and Parturition • Briefly describe late gestation management practices • Explain common causes of dystocia • Describe signs of Dystocia • Define stages of Parturition • Describe the calving positions • Show application of calving equipment • Describe preparation for calving assistance • Describe post-partum care practices.

  3. What is Dystocia? • Dystocia is calving difficulty

  4. What is parturition? • Parturition is the act of giving birth.

  5. Facts and Stats of calving • 3.5 million losses annually • 45% of losses are from Dystocia • 16% of losses are out of mature cows

  6. Factors of Dystocia • There are 2 factors that contribute to dystocia: • 1) Size of Calf • 2) Age of Cow

  7. Question • What are the 3 effects of dystocia? • Calf effect • Cow effect • Fetal Position

  8. Effects of Dystocia • The effects of dystocia are placed in to 3 categories: • 1) Calf effect • birth weight - most common • nutrition • shape • 2) Cow effect • pelvic size • 1st calf heifer • 3) Fetal Position • 5% are in abnormal position • many positions

  9. Late Gestation Management • Incorporating late gestation management practices into to your calving program will eliminate many problems that can arise. • Some of the following practices will make your life easier: • Put all cows/heifers within 2 weeks of due date into a lot that is accessible to barn or calving facility. • Make sure late gestation female receive 7-8% CP daily

  10. Late Gestation Management, cont. • Make sure pastures are clean - no mud or manure piles • No lactating cows with calving cows • MOST IMPORTANT- always have calving equipment and supplies in an accessible place. It also should be clean and ready to use. • Keep a close eye on cows - maybe even around the clock.

  11. Stages of Parturition • Keep an eye on calving cows will help you recognize the stages of parturition. • Knowing the stages will help you decided if there is a problem occurring. • There are 3 stages in parturition: • 1) Preparation • 2) Parturition • 3) Cleaning

  12. Preparation Stage • It is in this stage when the calf will rotate into position • Contractions will begin • Water bag will be expelled and broken • This stage generally should last between 2-6 hours (can be longer for heifers)

  13. Parturition Stage • The calf will enter the birth canal in this stage • The cow become very restless - she will lie down and stand back up many times • Contractions are more frequent and are stronger • If progress is being made, two feet (pads down) should be visible. The head will follow.

  14. Parturition Stage • Delivery will take place if there are no problems • This is the most critical stage to watch. • This stage should last 2 hours or less. It may take longer for heifers. • If no progress is being made or there are visible problematic signs, or it has been over 2 hours then intervention should take place ASAP.

  15. Cleaning Stage • At this point the calf will be out of the cow and the cow should be cleaning and nursing the calf. • The placental membranes will be expelled within 2 to 8 hours after stage 2. If not, treatments should be considered.

  16. Question • How do you know when to assist a cow in the calving process?

  17. Signs of Dystocia • There are many ‘tell-tell’ signs of dystocia. They are as follows: • cow actively in labor and no progress • No progress after 2 hours • presence of head and no feet • Cow too relaxed – calf is likely dead at this point • feet protrude and go back into cow • feet pads are facing up

  18. Fetal Positions • If the calf is visible and it is not in its normal delivery presentation then the calf is most likely in an abnormal position. • There are many abnormal positions that the calf can assume before delivery. Some examples are:

  19. Fetal Positions • Normal • Posterior • Breech • Anterior w/ rear legs under body (dog sitting position) • Up-side-down posterior • Anterior w/ head turned back, front feet in position • Anterior w/ head in place and front legs under calf’s body.

  20. Preparing for Assistance • If any situation arises that calls for calving assistance, you should be prepared and act quick. • The first step is getting the cow to the barn and in the chute • Next you should clean her posterior end with a mixture or warm water and disinfect • With clean, lubricated hands examine to determine the position and state of the calf

  21. Preparing for Assistance • Once position is determined then the chains can be applied while any corrections are being made. • Continue to apply lubrication

  22. Applying Equipment • Now a practical experience awaits you:

  23. Applying the chains, twine, or rope • 1) Make a loop • 2) Place on leg just above pastern (or wrist) on the cannon bone • 3) Make a half-hitch/cinch • 4) Place on same leg just below the pastern (or wrist) and above dew claws.

  24. Applying the chains, twine, or rope • 5) repeat for second leg • 6) Attach handles to chains • 7) Pull calf with even pressure or alternate pressure

  25. Cautions to be aware of • Correct placement will minimize pressure and swelling • Single loop will break leg • If chains are not in correct place, joint separation can occur. This is permanent damage • Incorrect placement can also cause hooves to break off

  26. When do you call the Vet? • Rule of thumb… • If 2 strong people can’t move the calf • If fetlock joint is 10 cm or larger • Shoulder lock • hip lock • Posterior presentation with a hip lock • Up-side-down posterior presentation • “Down cow”

  27. Cow-Calf Aftercare • Calf: • Make sure calf is breathing • Stimulate by rubbing chest and spine vigorously • Clear mouth with finger to remove any debris • Stick straw up calf’s nostrils to initiate sneezing or blowing

  28. Cow-Calf Aftercare • Calf: • Hang calf up-side-down if necessary to allow fluids to drain • Blow into calf’s nose to stimulate air flow • Once calf is breathing and moving allow mother to lick and bond with calf

  29. Cow-Calf Aftercare • Calf: • Make sure calf is able to suck mother independently, it needs colostrum with in first 3 hours; will die w/in 24 hours w/o colostrum. • If can’t suck mother – nurse cow and tube or hand nurse calf • Treat navel with 7% iodine to prevent infection entering the navel

  30. Cow-Calf Aftercare • Cow: • Make sure cow is moving around – this will help preventing uterine prolapse • Administer Penicillin or Tetracycline to prevent infection • Make sure placenta is delivered, if not within 12 hours administer a LH hormone and also continue antibiotic treatment.

  31. Review • The effect of Dystocia are cow, calf and fetal • The contributing common causes are birth, excessive nutrition, and shape of calf • The 3 stages of parturition are preparation, parturition, and cleaning • Some of the recognizable signs of dystocia are no progress in stage 2 and visible signs of abnormal fetal position.

  32. Review • Applying chains correctly is important to calf’s well being • Know when to call the vet • Don’t forget the cow-calf aftercare procedures

  33. Summary • The number and severity of dystocia can be minimized by incorporating sound management decisions and practices into breeding, herd health and nutrition of the cow herd. No matter what precautions are taken some calving difficulties will occur. In order to minimize your losses the herdsman should :

  34. Summary • closely observe cows during calving • recognize when there is a problem and • know when to assist • have functional handling facilities • know the technicalities of delivery • know when to call the vet