February 02, 2015

Hey folks, Dr. Dan here, thanks for joining us today on DocTalk. We’re gonna have a great show. It’s one of those shows that we enjoy doing, is talking about calving disorders. Dr. Matt Miesner from Kansas State’s Veterinary Health Center is gonna be here. It’s gonna be a great show. You’re gonna learn lots. I’m gonna learn lots. We’ll see you after the break.

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(Dan) Matt, welcome to the show. (Matt) Glad to be here. (Dan) Folks, this is Dr. Matt Miesner. He’s here at the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine. He’s over in Veterinary Health Center, where he is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences. And Matt, we’re gonna talk about calving and we’re gonna talk about… that’s alright, you’re a clinician… (Matt) Yea. (Dan)…the beeper’s supposed to go off. That’s when we get somebody that’s in live, in action, he’s on call. It’s probably a dystocia. We’re gonna have to take a break. No, just joking. (Matt) Sound check is all. (Dan) Let’s talk about calving and normal calving as things progress. You know I think that the one thing we always kind of lose track of time, we lose track of what’s going on with that heifer. But there are different stages, right? (Matt) Right. None of them can read. Never met a cow that can read a book yet. But there are some predicted times that we need to look at and times we need to act and times when we just need to leave ’em alone as well. So, we go through stages and there’s three stages of calving. And the whole process is what I would call is prep, push and placenta. So the first stage is stage one which is prep phase and that’s leading up to it and all the things are getting relaxed and the cows getting ready to make enough opening to get this calf ready to go. And then there’s the push phase, which is the actual labor. And then that should be pretty quickly. And then the third one is the placenta. And so after that the placenta should pass and we should have some time for the cow to get ready to raise a calf. (Dan) So, let’s get into that prep phase. I assume that’s when she’s starting to go off by herself, different behavior. (Matt) Yea. Isolation. You know some people if you see ’em in a stall if they’re confined, they’ll kind of nest. They’ll kind of do those kind of things. Cows are experienced at this thing. And it’s pretty fast. And sometimes we don’t even notice it. One day she looks OK, next day she’s got a pretty good udder and everything is starting to look relaxed and man, you’re ready to go. Heifers you know, learning the ropes, it can take weeks sometimes for this to prep – udder filling, ligament solutioning, all that stuff. So, it takes time. (Dan) And then, so that has a real varied response and there’s no hurry there cause we’re getting cervix dilation and once the cervix gets dilated then we enter that push phase. Is there more of a time once they start pushing? (Matt) Yes, so again cows most of the time, sometimes it’s just cough, out comes the calf. So, within a half an hour, once they start, that water bag breaks and they start pushing and the cow, they should be out pretty quickly, within a half an hour usually. The heifers, you know, they take a little time. Dilate and loosen things up and it could take up to an hour. But the bottom line is in that push phase, if things aren’t happening pretty abruptly within an hour we need to intervene. And sometimes it takes a heifer longer to get it out, but I like that hour, kind of cut off. (Dan) Well, now that we’ve kind of gone through normal calving that leads us in, right after the break we’ll talk about some of the dystocias. (Matt) Right.

(Dan) Alright folks. Thanks for watching DocTalk. We’re with Dr. Matt Miesner, on call, after this. (Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Matt Miesner and we’re talking about calving disorders, normal calving, and now let’s move into dystocia, cause we got to the push phase, we’ve waited 30 minutes and nothing’s happened and as a producer or a rancher, what’s the first we need to do? (Matt) Frequent checks, I mean having a plan. I mean is it gonna be now we’ve watched her and seems she’s gonna have problems. Is she showing signs of stress? Is she really laboring on this situation or is she just kind of pacing? But having a plan for restraint, you know getting her caught, squeeze chute, set of panels or rail that can be opened up. Some place to safely get her restrained and then do a good exam. And most of that is having a good visual and maybe even palpate an exam, kind of cleaning her up and making sure that everything is coming through the birth canal OK, if you’re comfortable with that. If not, that’s the time to say, “It’s time to call the veterinarian.” And have them do that. But you know, having that ability to have her restrained safely certainly helps the veterinarian be more efficient if need be at that point in time. And you can get a good exam. Make sure everything’s positioned right- nose, front feet and everything’s coming through the canal. Sometimes intervening there is the easy way to go. (Dan) Yeah and that’s the other thing. I think that we overlook the restraint part because there’s nothing more frustrating than a cow that’s she’s trying to have a calf, she doesn’t know what’s going on, she’s getting up, she’s pushing, she’s getting up looking around to see where the calf is and then when you show up as a veterinarian or as a producer you’re trying to figure out, how am I even gonna check this thing? (Matt) Yea. (Dan) And the safety of you, your family, your practitioner and the cow is important. (Matt) Right, yep and you know having a way to easily, efficiently get her in there too. Not having to work her too hard to get her to a point to restrain her. So, planning ahead, that’s part of the calving problems that we’re looking at as far as these dystocias go. And then you know there’s plenty of producers out there that delivered tons of calves. But then there’s gonna be that one that you’re gonna go, “Something’s not right.” And things that we see as veterinarians, especially in the clinic is the odd ones, and we see things, we’ve had twisted uteruses or uterine torsions and some of these conjoined twins and the bizarre things that you know, they’re still the most experienced producers and then goes in and just says, “Whoa!” At that point in time if you have the ability and you have a good relationship with your veterinarian, probably a good idea to call them too. (Dan) I thought they just…the experienced ones called us when it was snowing or when it was raining, (Matt) Yea. And it’s always good to call early cause veterinarians this time of year, might be traveling the ridges doing a lot of this. And so it’s nice to have them be able to make a plan, they might be by that direction. (Dan) So when you reach in there you wanna feel two feet and a head. (Matt) Right. Yep. And then we gotta figure out which feet they are and look at the way that feet bend, the fronts, knees, and fetlocks being the same way and the backs are opposite. And so there’s a bunch of just systematic exams that we do at that point. Knowing if that calf’s gonna make it through that birth canal, might just be a joined calf, or head turn around. There’s a whole bunch of different situations that we can get into and make a plan. And at that point we want to see progressions. And so once we start, then I go half an hour time. (Dan) Cool. We’re gonna take a break folks, when we come back, more with Dr. Matt Miesner on calving problems.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Matt Miesner and we’re from the College of Vet Med at Kansas State University. We’re talking about calving disorders or getting that live calf on the ground. And we talked during the break you have three goals. (Matt) Right. Number one is to get me a live, viable calf. So, we want this to be efficient and easy on the calf. Number two is preservation and welfare of the cow. So, pain, welfare, distraughtness, all that kind of stuff. And then third is maintaining her future reproductive soundness. So we don’t want to injure things bad enough that she’s not able to breed back. So, I had those three goals going into each one of these situations. (Dan) Yep. And we want to keep her in the herd. And then the feedlot dystocias, we’re worried about the heifer, not necessarily the calf. (Matt) Yep. Right. (Dan) Cause, we’re in the business of producing beef. (Matt) Right. So the best way to do this is to be efficient. And so I usually…I look at my watch and time flies when you’re having a good time and I want to be having some sort of progress about every 15 to 30 minutes. So, if I need to get a leg up, or a leg or head turned around, I want to have that in 15 minutes or half an hour. And each stage whether it’s breech, we have a tail, we have a posterior. I just want to be sure that I’m getting things moving out the back end efficiently. And if I’m not, then it’s already been discussed as to what is Plan B? Is it a live calf, is it a dead calf? When do we go to a caesarean? And it’s been shown pretty often if we have a decent facility a sooner decision for a caesarean is usually a good one. Cow’s in better shape, calf is in better shape, if we have the right situation for caesarean. (Dan) Well, when we’re talking about the beef prices… (Matt) Yea. (Dan) where they’re… a caesarean section folks, is nothing on the cost for what getting a live viable calf that you’re gonna sell that’s gonna be $1,500, $1,600 dollars at the time it weans. (Matt) Right. And if you’re able to do a good efficient C-section with the cow in better shape, her chances of breeding back are a lot better. than waiting too long. So, keep it going. (Dan) So, caesarean doesn’t necessarily preclude or decrease the reproductive efficiency. (Matt) Right. Not in… if it’s done efficiently and the decision’s made a little bit earlier on. And you know you have the right set up to do it, it doesn’t do that to her. (Dan) And a lot of times, if you’re wanting to help that veterinarian or help the cow, sometimes just loading her up and bringing her to the veterinarian you know they’re gonna have the right facility, you know they’re gonna have the equipment there, you know you’re dealing more on your time schedule. It’s something that I see more and more is the haul in clinic. (Matt) Right and more efficiency, so a veterinarian can do more at once. We have all the medical equipment that you need to revive that calf. You know a whole bunch of different medical interventions that you can do at the clinic plus everybody’s warmer and drier and all that kind of stuff. But in the end, everybody benefits from that. And you do see more haul in type situations. (Dan) Cool. Well, let’s take a break. When we come back, let’s talk about taking care of that cow and that calf after the calf hits the ground. (Matt) Good. (Dan) Thanks Matt. Thank you for watching DocTalk, more here after the break.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome to Doc Talk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Matt Miesner. And we’re talking about getting the calf out of the cow. And calving season is upon us. There’s a lot of excitement. Dr. Miesner is an Associate Clinical Professor here at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State’s University’s College of Veterinary Medicine where he sees hundreds of cows a year, teaches this. We’re fortunate to have him as a guest. It’s always good to have you on the show. (Matt) Thanks. (Dan) You bring great wisdom and you do a good job, not only with our clients and their animals, but I’m very thankful for what you do for our students. (Matt) Appreciate it. (Dan) Appreciate you. Let’s talk a little bit about Matt about the post calving care. And we’ve got to get to that third stage, right? (Matt) Right. So, you know we’ve got the calf on the ground and sometimes there’s some intervention that needs to be done right then and there as far as resuscitating that calf. And even a slight delay through that pelvis can get them short on oxygen and different things. And so there’s a situation sometimes where we’ve gotta intervene within that first five minutes. And we have various drugs and treatment protocols that we kind of follow with that. Get ’em breathing, get some air passage, and then kind of watching the cow as well. Did we have some rough birthing where we have to address some injuries to the cow? So, address those right then and there. So, that first five minutes to an hour is just getting that calf viable and able to sustain itself. And then after that, down the road several hours, the cow should be passing her placenta, within 6 to 12 hours, but sometimes they’ll retain. And then within that first hour or two, we really want that calf have it’s first meal of colostrum too. So, either he’s gonna be viable enough to get up and do it himself, or there’s sometimes, it’s just easier to just go ahead and strip her out and tube it right then and then and get him to take a bottle. (Dan) And the sooner the better on colostrum, right? (Matt) You’re within a 24 hour window long window. Ideally, within 6 or 8 they need to have that first bit of colostrum be absorbed. And then after that things start shutting down and they don’t absorb it systemically after that. So, within that first 6 to 8 hours. (Dan) When… what’s the… your stance on retained placentas? Cause I mean my Granddad and Dad, we made a hundred calls a years on retained placentas. (Matt) Right. We want her to pass it on her own at all costs. We don’t really want to force it out and strip it. That still shows that hat causes quite a bit of inflammation. So she might retain it, we treat her, support her, antibiotics sometimes, depending on how healthy she is. But most cows will eventually get that to loosen up, and for a lot it can be pretty horrendous by the time it comes out. But as long as she’s healthy, I let her do it on her own, we can do some gentle help, but we don’t want to clean ’em. (Dan) Cool. Well thanks for being on the show today. (Matt) Thanks for being here. (Dan) Folks, thanks for watching DocTalk. And if you want to know more about what Dr. Miesner and I do here at Kansas State University, you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. Remember always work with your local practitioner on many of these issues. Thanks for watching DocTalk today. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’ll see you down the road.

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