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Management of malpositioned fetus by partial fetotomy in a primiparous cow.


Deviations of head and neck are common type of abnormal posture in anterior presentations causing dystocia in all species (Roberts, 1971). The incidence of dystocia in cattle is high compared to equines (Morrow, 1986).

History and Observation

A three year old cow in first parity with undersized body at full term was presented with history of onset of labour since more than 24hours. The animal was attended earlier by applying forced traction of fore limbs without considering the position of head and neck.

On general examination, the cow appeared dull, depressed and in recumbent posture. Udder engorgement and relaxation of sacrosciatic ligament were prominent. Both fore limbs were protruded out from the vulva. Conjuctival mucous membranes were normal. Vulva was swollen and edematous.

Per-vaginal examination revealed a dead fetus in anterior longitudinal presentation, dorso-sacral position with left lateral deviation of head and neck. The cervix was fully dilated and uterine cavity was dry and devoid of fetal fluids. The case was diagnosed as dystocia due to left lateral deviation of head and neck.


As birth canal was dry with inflamed vagina, the vagina was lubricated with 1% Carboxymethyl cellulose liquid. The lubricant was also infused into uterus with the help of catheter. Both fore limbs were pulled out of vulva and partial fetotomy was performed by cutting at knee joint of both limbs by retaining first row of carpal bones to radius and ulna (Fig.1). After amputation, obstetrical chain was applied to both limbs above knee joint and was repelled into uterus to create adequate space in the birth canal. Fetal head was located with help of obstetrician hand and obstetrical sharp eye hook was fixed into long handle is passed into uterus and hook is fixed to inner canthus of eye orbit and traction was applied. Slowly, fetal head was brought into birth canal. Both limbs were extended into birth canal by applying slow traction with the help of obstetrical chain.

Once the two limbs and head was pulled up to level of vulva, traction was applied on two limbs alternatively in downward and backward direction and simultaneously slight traction was applied on fetal head. Thus complete fetus was delivered by traction (Fig. 2).

Supportive treatment was given to cow after delivery of dead foetus by administering Inj.Calcium borogluconate-450ml, I/V; Inj. Rintose (a) -500ml, I/V; Anistamin (b) -10ml, I/M; Melonex (b) -10ml, I/M and a course of antibiotic Inj. Intacef (b) -2.5g was given I/M for 5 days. The cow recovered eventually without postpartum complications.


Underdeveloped pelvis, deviated head and neck were contributing factors for occurrence of dystocia. Application of traction on fetal fore limb without observing fetal head position resulted into complication of case further. Zaborski(2009) reported that cow body weight and condition, cow pelvic area, calf birth weight are contributing factors for dystocia. Nix and Spitzer (1998) reported that dystocia was greater in primiparous (17%) than multiparous dams (4%). Higher number of dystocia cases were delivered with fetotomies in cows when compared to buffaloes (Purohit and Mehta, 2006). Earlier reports document percentage of bovine dystocia cases due to feto-pelvic disproportion is 45% and fetal malpresentation is 28% among the total dystocia conditions in dairy cattle.The case was delivered by fetotomy operation because fetotomy is best operation for dead fetus and dam requires less care after fetotomy than cesarean section. Fertility and milk production are likely to be higher after fetotomy than cesarean section.


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M. Rajashri (1), K. Ram Chandra Reddy (2) and G. Srinivas (3)

Department of Veterinary Animal Reproduction, Gynaecology and Obstetrics College of Veterinary Science Shri P.V. Narsimha Rao University for Veterinary, Animal and Fishery Sciences Rajendranagar Hyderabad--500030 (Telangana)

(1.) Post Graduate Scholar and Corresponding author. E-mail:

(2.) Associate Professor

(3.) Post Graduate Scholar

(a)--Brand of Vetoquinol Animal Health, Mumbai

(b)--Brand of Intas Animal Health, Ahmedabad
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Rajashri, M.; Reddy, K. Ram Chandra; Srinivas, G.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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