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Oh, Baby, baby....

This time of year, everything is having babies!.... We are going to focus mostly on the bovine side, but we are definitely in the thick of sheep and goats as well.

Dystocia- difficult parturition; sign of either maternal or fetal conditions affecting fetal passage through the birth canal. These can be emergency situations, where early intervention, allows for better outcome of dam and fetus. Dystocias can be corrected by repositioning, traction, fetotomy, or cesarean. Heifers/cows tend to calve within 4hrs of seeing membranes ('waterbag') . Ewes and does tend to be a little quicker (1/2hr- 2hrs) and mares tend to be very fast (20mins) (Large Animal Internal Medicine, Smith). Positioning of fetus in all of these species, should be two feet, with hooves pointed down, and a nose. Common malposition finding with a calf: head back, one leg back, or breech (tail first), twins (both coming at once). If attempting to correct on your own, please be prepared with aseptic techniques of cleaning the dam and using OB sleeves and adequate OB lube. If you are not having any luck with the dystocia, please call your veterinarian. If you are new to raising production animals, take time to educate yourself and have a working relationship with a veterinarian.

Animals that have experienced dystocia, must be monitored closely. Babies don't tend to get up and move and nurse as readily. Dams can have calving paralysis, from inflammation of obturator nerve. Most newborns should be up within 30mins to 2hrs. Ideally they should have colostrum within 2-6hrs, at 6hrs their ability to absorb starts to decrease. By 24hrs, calves are unable to absorb IgG. If you are finding neonates, that are struggling, that were born outside in a blizzard or in the mud... unsure if nursed and hypothermic... Warm them up! If the calf is recumbent (unable to stand) and not shivering (shivering is a mechanism to warm us when we are cold)... place them in a warm water bath (something that works great in MN.... plastic snow sled). Once they are shivering, you can tube feed them. If they have had no colostrum, or unsure of amount, they need at least 100g of IgG.

A few useful things to have on hand as calving is upon us. (All of which we keep on hand or can order for you, at the clinic)

OB Sleeves

OB Lube

Chlorhexidine Solution

OB chains and handles

Head Snare


Esophageal Feeder

Dry Bedding

Lambing and kidding

Red Rubber catheter and syringe

Colostrum (we have feeding charts for dividing a bag)

Happy calving, lambing, kidding, foaling, farrowing, whelping, queening!....

Gestation Length

Horse......345 days

Cow.........283 days

Sheep.....152 days

Goat.......150 days

Pig..........115 days

Dog........ 65 days

Cat......... 65 days

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