Cattle Dystocia

The pregnant animal is supposed to deliver its calf on its own when it has completed its full term of pregnancy. But sometimes the animal may not be able to deliver the calf without assistance. If such animals are taken to quacks for any reason, they may mishandle the case and it may lead to death of the calf or cow or both. The veterinary hospital attached to the Veterinary College, Puducherry (located at Mettupalyam) has been receiving many such mishandled cases and the experts are finding difficult to save the cow and the calf. Due to mishandling the death of the calf is certain and in addition, cow may suffer with injuries to the reproductive organs and it becomes weak. The case gets complicated and the animal may not be fit for performing operation to take out the calf.

If the animal is brought to the veterinary hospital in time both the calf and cow can be saved as it has got experts to deal with such cases in addition to the sophisticated equipments and infrastructure facilities. The farmers must know when the pregnant cow has to be taken for expert examination.

Care of pregnant cow

  • The pregnant cow should be given concentrates and mineral mixture for the development of calf.
  • The required quantity of fodder should also be fed to the cow.
  • At 7 to 8 months of pregnancy the milking should be stopped and the cow should be given a dry period of at least 2 months.
  • During the last 10 days before parturition the cow should be tied separately and maintained in a clean place.

Signs of delivery/ parturition

  • Always note down and keep the proper record of date of insemination so that the calving date can be calculated approximately.
  • Udders fill with milk( within 24hrs of calving)
  • Swollen  and clear mucus like discharge from vulva
  • Base of the tail may sink as the hips widen for calving
  • Cow may move away from rest of the herd
  • Signs of physical distress due to contractions, including repeatedly lying down and getting up again, turning in circles, kicking, and swishing of the tail.
  • Just before giving birth, the cow may stand with its tail raised and sticking out.
  • A yellowy water bag will come out before the calf, and may burst leaving the cows hind quarters wet.
  • Calves front hooves will be the first thing to come out. If only one hoof appears or the nose appears first, assistance will be required to complete the birth safely.

Reasons for dystocia

  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Malpresentation of the foetus
  • Overweight of the calf
  • Mishandling during the previous parturition

When to take the cow to veterinary hospital?

  • If the cow doesn’t deliver the calf even 4 hrs after the rupture of the water bag.
  • The cow will kick its abdomen with its limbs.
  • The animal tries to deliver but gets exhausted.
  • In case of retention of placenta even after 8-12 hrs of calving.

Precautions to be taken while transporting the cow

  • Proper bedding material should be kept in the vehicle in which the cow is transported.
  • The cow should be gently loaded on to the truck.
  • The driver should drive in optimum speed so that the cow is not stressed or hurt.

Dr. S. V. N. Rao

(Retired) Professor & Head
Dept. of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, RIVER, Puducherry