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Clinical management of omasal impaction in a cow.


Omasum in bovines is a spherical to ovoid organ situated, right of midline in middle third of abdomen (Nickel et al., 1987). Its position under the costal part of abdominal wall does not allow its easy accessibility for clinical examination by palpation, percussion or auscultation methods (Dirksen 1990). It can also not be palpated through the rectum. Majority of omasal impaction cases are found excessively enlarged and hard at postmortem examination. (Radostits et al., 2007). This makes the clinical diagnosis of omasal impaction difficult. The present case describes antemortem diagnosis and successful management of omasal impaction in a crossbred cow.

History, Clinical Observation and Diagnosis

A five year old Holstein Friesian crossbred cow was presented with history of inappetence, absence of rumination, tenesmus, reduced water intake and distended abdomen for last seven days. Clinical examination revealed rectal temperature (102.1[degrees]F), heart rate (58/min), respiratory rate (32/min). The rumen was impacted with absence of ruminal motility. Based on clinical signs and per rectal examination, obstruction in anterior part of gastrointestinal tract was suspected. T o verify the presence or absence of omasal motility, a 16 cm long needle was inserted at ninth intercostal space at the level of shoulder joint to a depth of 10-15 cm. The free end of needle did not rotate or move suggested absence of omasal motility. Normal saline mixed with methylene blue dye was injected into omasum to later confirm position of the needle (Slanina and Gdovin, 1963, Rosenberger, 1979). In the light of history, clinical examiation and omasal motility test, omasal impaction was diagnosed.

Before attempting rumenotomy, treatment to relieve impaction and stabilising the animal was attempted using intravenous fluid (Inj. Normal saline two lit I/V, Inj. Ringer's lactate one lit I/V, Inj. Calcium gluconolactobionate 15 ml I/M) and Liq Paraffin 2 lit. orally. However it did not help. Rumenotomy was then carried out under 2% Lignocaine local infilteration in a standing position with 5 inch long incision at left parlumbar fossa parallel to last rib. After opening the rumen, ruminal contents were removed. The omasum was then found impacted and palpated like hard stone. The omasal contents were softened by flushing with jet of water by passing a water pipe inside through the reticulo-omasal groove. The presence of dye was noted at this juncture in omasal contents. After sufficient evacuation of omasal contents manually, remaining contents were flushed towards abomasum to completely clear impaction.


Omasal impaction is difficult to diagnose clinically under field conditions. The present case of omasal impaction was characterized by complete anorexia, absence of defecation and empty rectum with mucous in addition to moderate dehydration, absence of rumen motility and initial abdominal pain. Similar observations have been recorded by Turkar and Uppal, 2007. Radostits et al., 2007 suggested that during advance state of pregnancy gravid uterus causes pressure on omasum and abomasum resulting omasal impaction. In the present case however, the animal had parturated two months back ruling out the possibility of pressure by gravid uterus. Poor quality dry feed or lack of sufficient water might be the reasons for impaction.

Since the affected cow did not respond to medical management with fluid and lubricant, exploratory rumenotomy was performed. Omasal impaction was then removed. Complete recovery in appetite and return of rumen motility was seen after seven days following removal of impaction.

The case report suggested that the prognosis for omasal impaction is good provided diagnosed and impaction is corrected timely.


Dirksen, G. (1990). Blattermagen (Omasus). In Die Klinische Untersuchung des Rindes. 3rd edn. Eds G. Dirksen, H. D. Grunder, M. Stober. Berlin, Paul Parey. p. 336-38.

Nickel, R., Schummer, A. and Seiferle, E. (1987). Blattermagen, Omasum. In Lehrbuch der Anatomie der Haustiere. Eingeweide. Vol II. 6th edn. Berlin, Hamburg, Paul Parey. p 163.

Slanina, L. and Gdovin, T. (1963). Neue Erkenntnisse in der Diagnostik der Vormagenkrankheiten beim Rind. Ber. 17.

Radostits, O.M., Gay, C.C., Hinchcliff, K.W. and Constable, P.D. (2007). Impaction of the omasum. In: O.M., Radostits, C.C., Gay, K.W., Hinchcliff, P.D. Constable (eds). Veterinary Medicine--A Textbook of the diseases of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and goats. 10th Ed. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, USA, p. 352-53.

Rosenberger, G. (1979). Special examination. In: Clinical Examination of Cattle. Berlin, Paul Parey. p. 80-423.

K.M. Jadhav, S.C. Undirwade and Sarita Devi (1)

Department of Veterinary Medicine Dr. V.M. Jhala Clinical Complex College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University (SDAU) Deesa--385535 (Gujarat)

(1.) Assistant Professor and Corresponding author. E-mail:
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Jadhav, K.M.; Undirwade, S.C.; Devi, Sarita
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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