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Surgical correction of dystocia via fetotomy in a goat.


The incidence of parturition related disorders in caprines was 38.6% (Purohit et al., 2006), whereas incidence of dystocia was 8.23% in another study (Mehta et al., 2002). The causes of dystocia in goats are fetal maldisposition, fetopelvic disproportion and obstruction of birth canal, fetal abnormalities, uterine inertia, uterine deviation and uterine torsion (Purohit, 2012). Fetal maldisposition is one of the biggest cause of dystocia in goat (Rahim and Arthur, 1982; Braun, 1997; Purohit et al., 2004) accounting for more than half of dystocia cases. Lateral deviation of head and neck and flexion of carpus and shoulder being frequent in goat (Braun, 1997; Purohit et al., 2006). The incidence of obstruction of birth canal due to insufficient cervical dilation is known to be around 12% (Rahim and Aurthur, 1982) to 15% (Phillip et al., 1985). According to Majeed and Taha (1989), incidence of cervical dilation failure accounts for 23.5% of dystocia in goats. In a recent study, cervical dilation failure accounted for 45.5% of does with dystocia of maternal origin (Purohit et al., 2005). Some of the other causes of obstruction of birth canal described for sheep and goat include small pelvic area (Kene, 1991), pelvic deformity (Bansod et al., 1993), lack of prelambing relaxation of vulva, vaginal obstruction by scar tissue/vaginal septum (Martin et al., 2001) or vaginal prolapse (Purohit, 2012), vaginal and vestibular fibrosis (Kumar et al., 2004) uterine torsion (Purohit, 2012) and deviation of uterus (Balasubramanian et al., 1991). Goat fetuses can be delivered manually but in cases with fetal maldisposition and narrower birth canal neccessitate partial fetotomy (Purohit, 2012). In present case, fetal had a lateral head deviation with poor space in birth canal and thus creating space fetotomy is done followed by manual correction of head.


A 6 year old goat in its fifth parity was presented with history of dystocia since last 5 hours. The water bags had ruptured and both fore fetal legs were protruding through vulva (Fig. 1). The animal was alert and active. The rectal temperature of animal was 1010 F and respiration rate was 35 per min.

Handling of Dystocia

After washing, external vaginal and fetal part the dilation of birth canal was evaluated. There was no space in birth canal and fetus could not be repelled in uterus. After locating a front limb, it was pulled out as far as possible and cut through the skin around leg above carpus using a surgical blade (Fig. 2). A second incision was made through skin at right angles to first in direction of elbow. With fingers, skin over leg up to shoulder blade was undermined and muscular and tendinous attachments of upper leg to chest wall were broken down. The front limb was then pulled out of body and removed from uterus. This procedure was then repeated on other front limb. Finally birth canal was lubricated and deviated head was corrected and fetus was removed by traction (Fig. 3).

After care of the animal included IV infusion of fluids (1/2 litres Ringer lactate, 1/2 litres 5% Dextrose, 150 ml Calcium borogluconate), imidazole derivatives (Tinidazole 100 mililitres IV) and administration of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic drugs. Antibiotics were also administered intrauterine. The animal had an uneventful recovery.


Deviation of fetal head in goat may vary in degree. It is most commonly deviated slightly but sometimes it may be deviated laterally to kids body (Purohit et al., 2006). Rarely it may be deviated downwards with only forelimbs presented. In delayed cases, fetal fluids are lost and uterine wall is tightly wrapped around fetus. Great care must be exercised in correction of such cases to avoid damaging the uterine wall (Purohit, 2012). Deviation of head may be sometimes coupled with flexion of extremities. Manual correction of deviation is possible in sheep/goat with sufficiently dilated birth canal and in animals presented early with live fetuses. It may be difficult in cases presented beyond 24 hours of 2nd stage of labor (Mehta et al, 2002) requiring removal of one of the limbs by fetotomy or in some cases even caesarean section when fetus is dead and emphysematous. Carpal and shoulder flexions may be corrected with ease manually and fetus delivered by traction after sufficient lubrication.

Dystocia can be corrected by mutation and caesarean section but only partial subcutaneous fetotomy of one or both limbs is possible in sheep and goat (Purohit et al., 2006). The main indication for fetotomy in sheep and goat were fetuses with postmortal edema and emphysema (80.0%) and deformity of kids (20.0%) respectively (Sobiraj, 1993). Dead emphysematous fetuses require partial subcutaneous fetotomy especially of limbs. A complete fetotomy, such as that performed in cows is rearly possible in goats.

Partial fetotomy of head or limbs in most of cases in sufficient to allow adequate room in vagina for further manipulation or passage of remaining fetal parts (Purohit, 2006). In goats, percutaneous fetotomy to remove front legs may help reduce size so that fetus may be manipulated through the pelvic canal. If two fetuses are wedged into pelvic canal and repulsion of one or both is not possible, partial fetotomy may be beneficial. Partial fetotomy is warranted when fetus has been dead for sometime and female's uterus is very fragile. The birth canal of parturient goat is very fragile and undue force in pulling out a maldisposed fetus results in uterine rupture with subsequent prolapse of abdominal organs and hence care must be exercised in manual delivery (Purohit, 2006).


It is concluded that if it is possible to place a hand through the cervix then it may be possible to perform a fetotomy in a dead fetus along with manual manipulation to relive dystocia in goats.


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Pramod Kumar (1), G.N. Purohit and J.S. Mehta

Department of Veterinary Gynaecology and Obstetrics College of Veterinary and Animal Science Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (RAJUVAS) Bikaner--334001 (Rajasthan)

(1.) Corresponding author. E-mail:
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Kumar, Pramod; Purohit, G.N.; Mehta, J.S.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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