Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Calving aids: correct use

Contributor(s): Paddy Gordon , Keith Cutler

Shepton Vets Farm logo

Introduction

  • This article identifies best practice for the use of calving aids.
  • Calving aids are mechanical devices to apply traction to the calf to aid delivery.
    • This may be simply to aid delivery by preventing the calf slipping backwards and losing any progress that has been gained, but often involves the application of moderate traction to aid delivery in the face of uterine inertia or due to feto-maternal disproportion.
    • It is essential that the operator has training in obstetrics, applies any traction considering the force applied and has full regard for the welfare of cow and calf.
  • Calving aids consist of:
    • A part that abuts the cow (frame or T-piece).
    • A pole and ratchet system to apply traction during delivery.
    • Hooks to link the calving ropes or chains to the aid.
    • A handle to adjust the force applied.
  • Calving aids are used because they allow one assistant to calve a cow and allow the application of controlled traction.
  • The force generated during parturition is believed to be equivalent to the weight of two adults:
    • With a calving aid the force potentially applied is up to that of five people, so considerable traction can be applied.
    • Force must be used in a controlled manner to avoid trauma to cow and calf.
  • The most commonly used type in the UK, and the type with which the author is most familiar, is the Vink design. (Other makes are available, such as the HK models).
    • The Vink design has a frame that is applied over the rump of the cow, while other designs consist of a simple T-piece.
    • The lower part of the aid abuts the cow below the vagina.
    • Other approaches such as block and tackle pulleys have fallen out of favor and are rare in the authors’ experience.
    • Choice of calving aid is very much down to personal preference.
  • This article describes the use of calving aids in normal anterior and posterior presentations. Malpresentations are not covered, but information on how to manage these can be found by following this link Dystocia.

Considerations

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Technique

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Feto-maternal disproportion

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Risks

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Lack of calving aid

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers


ADDED