Gabriel, Grills & Associates

The caring compassionate Veterinary practice serving the South Hams

Bull gets scanned at the Centre

Fergal, the senior stock bull at Fowlescombe Farm, was a bit too amorous and must have slipped off when serving one of his lady cows. His resulting limp was suspected to be a torn ligament, so after a week of rest and 'wait and see' it was decided to take him to the Filham Park Veterinary Centre to use the equine facilities to give him a scan. Fergal is halter trained, having won a few rosettes at the Devon County and other shows. He was gently walked into the stock trailer and taken to the centre.

Fergal walks down off the trailer Preparing the scanner
Examination of upper left rear leg Manupilating the leg
Checking the scan A closer look
'region of disruption in the medial collateral ligament' areas of vacuolation and damage in the medial meniscus
after 50 minutes, off he goes  


At the centre he walked into the equine treatment centre and stood there while the vets, David Gabriel and Steve Grills, manipulated his rear left leg, and then scanned it. Scanning was initially done with probe that gave a high resolution view of just below the surface of the skin. A second scan was done that gave a much deeper view at lower resolution. The scans confirmed damage to the medial collateral ligament and the anterior cruciate ligament with associated damage to the medial meniscus of the stifle joint. This process took around 50 minutes, during which the bull patiently just stood there - sometimes held by John Hart (Senior Stockman) and sometimes by Richard Barker (owner) so that each of them could also have a good look at the process.

The conclusion was that time would be the only remedy possible, aided for the first couple of days by a pain killer. The notion of an operation was discussed with the Bristol Centre, but thought non-viable as the 900 kilograms bull would not easily survive any full anaesthetic. At the time of posting this web site entry the bull has been convalescing on a gentle field with a pregnant cow to keep him company. For the first few weeks there was little sign of progress, but now we have seen him gradually using the leg more so we are hopeful that he will recover after say a 6 - 9 month rest.

This exercise shows the value of a good working relationship between vets and farmers, the benefit of having trained gentle animals, and the value of a well equipped modern veterinary centre.

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