Uterine Prolapse: The name just sounds terrible. In short uterine prolapse, is when a female uterus is expelled from her body before/during/after birth, (Please note, this is not a condition I have.)
A few weeks ago, Kyle noticed a cow getting ready to calve. She seemed to be having a hard time, they moved her up with the new mama's so we could watch her more closely. It was the weirdest thing, she would lay down like she was going to have her baby, push laboriously, then get up and go eat hay. She did this for almost a week.
Toward the end of the week when she would do this we noticed that she may be making some progress. But, it still didn't look quite right.
Normally when a cow Calv's the first thing you see is the water bag. The water bag can range in color from almost clear to a deep pinky-red. This soon breaks and then you will see the feet (hopefully front feet), labor then progresses, and the cow will push front feet, nose/head, neck & shoulders etc... you get the idea.
With this cow however, Where we should have seen a water bag or front feet (if we had missed the water bag because it had already broken.) We would see a large round protrusion, it looked solid in mass, which was confusing because a water bag is noticeably fluid filled. It was also a fleshy pink color. We where all baffled.
I had read about prolapse recently on the Pioneer woman's blog. It sounded like a terrible ordeal. I wondered about the possibility, Kyle and Mr. H wondered too. But typically with prolapse you deal with it after the fact, not before, and rarely are you aware of any symptoms leading to it, other than a difficult labor.
Thankfully we already had the vet scheduled to come to test bulls that week. While he was here, Kyle and Mr. H had him look at her. Sure enough she was beginning to prolapse.
In most cases this is not caught in time, and turns into a terrible ordeal, The cow can bleed to death very quickly, and even if it is caught and treated early (ie. right after birth) the risk of infection is very high. The calf is also at risk.
Well, like I said we had been watching her very closely, ( I had been praying for her and the calf inside a lot as well) and she had managed to make it until the vet arrived.
We were thrilled to learn there is a treatment for uterine prolapse before it happens if you can get to it. I'll see if I can explain what he did: First he took this purple disk approximately 3-4 inches in diameter, it had a long wire attached to it. He threaded it through her pelvis and uterus and out the other side. Where another purple disk was attached. This device was meant to block the uterus from being expelled while she was in labor. He also checked and the calf was alive which was a great relief, however, he did say it was a very large calf, which could still complicate things.
Over the next couple days we watched her like a hawk. Then Saturday morning, Kyle couldn't find her out with the other cows (She had been the only one without a calf). He went out and to his great surprise was E22 (that's her tag #) with one of the biggest bull calves he had ever seen. Both Mama, and calf are doing well. And there was no mess whatsoever! Now, of course this will have to be her last calf, and she will have to stay home for the summer to raise her calf. Also, sometime next week they will have to stitch her up just so everything stays in place.
I know that this may be a stomach churning subject for some of you. But, I found this supremely fascinating. I praise God that we did not have to deal with the horrors of a uterine prolapse after the fact.
If you want to read how the Pioneer Woman documented the ordeal on their ranch you can click on the link below:
And of course here is a Picture of E22 and her amazing calf. She is a good mama too.