Gabriel, Grills & Associates

The caring compassionate Veterinary practice serving the South Hams

Dramatic Recovery of a Cow

Amarylis, a Devon Ruby Red cow at Fowlescombe, was trying to have a calf in the middle of the night during July 2006. Unfortunately the calf died in the process and had to be pulled off. But the problem was made worse by the cow somehow doing the splits and being unable to get up and walk. She was fed and watered lying down, but no joy. I (Steve Grills) checked her out thoroughly and thought the worst - if she did not get up on her own we would have to put her down.

Amarylis in her net And later leaning against the post to keep her balance

John Hart and Richard Barker thought that they would have a go at saving her. From a previous problem with another cow they had a special net cradle. They used that to hold the cow up with the JCB and forks such that she could just touch the floor and with the back legs hobbled so that she could not do the splits again, as I had dicussed with them. I told them 'it would require a lot of patience, time and the right equipment to pull her though. They did this three or four times per day for an hour or so each time. (It took them 20 minutes to get her in it each time!) Each time they forced her to take fractionally more weight. At last when they tried to get her out, she was lowered a couple of inches further, and she just walked forward, then fell. After untangling her from the net, they gave her encouragement at which point she stood up and tried to walk. John hung on to her tail to help her balance as she walked about 20 metres. After that she was able to get up and walk on her own. For the first day, she very sensibly would lean against a tree guard.

Everyone in the farm and the practice were delighted at the recovery.

PostScript - you will be glad to hear that she has made a full recovery and went in with the bull in mid Oct - three and a half months or so after the event.



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