Tuesday, April 26, 2016

RIP Stella

The decision was made to euthanise Stella today as she was showing no improvements.
Professor Mudron, head of the Ruminants clinic, looked at her blood results from last year which showed high white blood cells which indicated a chronic systemic infection and said that if she was not able to stand that the prognosis would be poor.
Pathological Anatomy are going to perform a necropsy and several tests to ascertain a diagnosis.

RIP Stella...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Stella Update

Stella the cow is still down in sternal recumbancy with paralysis of her right hind limb. She is being kept comfortable on deep straw, turned regularly and milked twice a day.
Her IV catheter has been taken out but she is still being given Menbutone and Novasul as well as Dexamethasone, an antiinflammatory steroid.
When she is lifted for milking she is able to stand supported in the sling and has sensation in the leg but is unable to bear weight on it so when the lift tension is loosened she soon drops back down.
They've hobbled her hind legs together with a thick belt about 2 feet apart so that if she tries to stand she doesn't do the splits and cause even more damage.
Some students in my class commented that it was cruel keeping her legs hobbled together and wanted to take it off but it is more to stop her injuring herself and she didn't seem to notice it was on.

Good news is that she was ruminating today when we went down to see her so I guess the rumen fluid transplant helped!
There were no vets down there to speak to so we're not really sure what was going on and what her prognosis is...

Bernie the calf

This week in Clinical Diagnostics we were each given a patient to look after for the week.
I was given Bernie, a calf from the university farm, who we did a full examination of checking his TPR (temperature, pulse, respiration), auscultating his heart, lungs, digestive tract and a neurological examination.
So he was given antibiotics, vitamins and expectorants which promote the secretion of sputum to treat his cough as we suspected a bacterial respiratory infection.

On the second day he was pretty much the same but on Wednesday he was looking much better. Temperature had come down and he wasn't coughing so hopefully the antibiotics are doing their job.
On Monday we also noticed he has swellings around the joint of his hindlimbs which had gone down by Thursday which indicates that was also a bacterial infection.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stella the Cow

Stella, one of the cows we use in Clinical Diagnostics, slipped over in the department earlier today and couldn't get back up. They thought she had slipped so took her some food and water but her appetite was low and still wasn't able to stand. She had a calf just over a month ago.
One of the vets gave her 40% glucose and Ca intravenously but it was pretty obvious that she wouldn't be able to stand so they put her on a trolley and moved her back to her stable. She was in sternal recumbency with her right hind leg out stretched unable to move it.
Rumen fluid samples were taken which showed she had 0 ruminal protozoa; these help digest food in the rumen. Students in my class collected rumen fluid from a healthy cow using PVC piping and gave Stella a rumen fluid transplant - something I'd never seen or heard of before.
She was given lots of fresh grass, hay and concentrates as well as access to fresh water.

Prof. Mudron the head of Ruminants clinic came and did a neurological exam and she couldn't feel anything in the leg with no response to superficial (pin prick test) or deep (with forceps) pain sensation tests. He was really worried it was damage to the femoral nerve with complete paralysis and a poor prognosis. Videos were taken so he could check progress over the next few days.
An IV catheter was placed into her left ear for 10 litres of isotonic solution NaCl+ with glucose as well as Novasul (containing metamizole, a spasmolytic and analgesic/pain relief) and Menbutone (to aid digestion) injections. 
The way the vet showed us the IV catheter was so clever. They attach a retractable dog lead to the bottle of saline and clip the end to the cows halter, the IV line is taped to the lead so that when the cow moves the line moves with her and she cannot pull it out.
An hour later and after the hoist was removed, she remained standing so Mudron repeated the reflex tests and sensation had returned to the leg as she was responding to the pin prick test which showed the femoral nerve pathways to the brain were still intact.
She is bedded down on lots of straw and will be turned several times throughout the day and lifted with a sling to be milked to keep her comfortable and reduce the risk of mastitis.

Blood samples were taken to look for markers in the blood indicating muscle damage to try and get an idea of what was going on; she has low serum protein, high Leukocytes (white blood cells) and low PCV.

If she can't stand up by herself in the next few days prognosis is poor for muscular and neurological damage.

Rectal Examination

Today we performed rectal examination of a cow following the embryonic death of her calf.
She came in from a local farm and the vets suspect her calf died as long as 7 weeks ago. She has a smelly mucopurulent discharge coming from her vagina which is a sign of infection and inflammation.

When I was palpating I could feel the calf inside her, on the right hand side. I was able to feel the bones of the calf and what felt like the head and mandible.
Around half an hour later one of my classmates performed a rectal and was able to feel the calf had moved more caudally, towards the birth canal.

Prostaglandins were given to induce parturition; if this doesn't work a cesarean will be done on Saturday.