Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Cesarean section

Synonym(s): Surgical management of dystocia in cattle.

Contributor(s): Paul Wood , Adam Dunstan-Martin

Introduction

  • This article describes the technique used to perform a cesarean section and discusses the decision making processes involved in determining when a cesarean section is appropriate.  
  • Please be aware that this information is designed to be a useful guide for the veterinary surgeon, but is not prescriptive.  The decision making process will very much depend on the individual case and its unique circumstances. 

Uses

Maternal dystocia
  • Expulsive defect:
    • Myometrial defect:
      • Primary uterine inertia (inability of the uterus to contract sufficiently).
      • Secondary uterine inertia (decreased effectiveness of uterine contractions as parturition progresses).
    • Defective or inadeqate straining.
  • Inadequate birth canal:
    • Failure of cervix, soft tissues or ligaments to relax.
    • Uterine torsion; definitely if  complete torsion (>2700).
    • Obstruction of birth canal, eg pelvic fracture.
  • Inadequate pelvic diameter*
Fetal dystocia
  • Fetal oversize:
    • Normal but large*.
    • Defective or monster calf.
  • Faulty disposition or alignment:
    • Abnormal presentation.
    • Abnormal position.
    • Abnormal posture.
  • Fetal death.
  • Signs of fetal distress.
*these two factors combined or separately can be described as fetomaternal disproportion.

Elective cesarean
  • History of previous dystocia or cesarean.
  • Predictable dystocia due to breed predisposition, eg Belgian blue cattle Belgian blue cattle or misalliance, eg heifer too small when mated.

Advantages of performing the procedure

  • Increased chance of a live calf if intervention is performed early.
  • Reduced chance of secondary complications to cow, eg peripheral neuropathies.

Disadvantages

  • Cost.
  • Risk of surgical and post-surgical complications in the dam, including death.
  • May reduce subsequent fertility of dam.
  • Anesthetic depression of calf (if sedative used).

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Prognosis

  • Generally good but heavily dependent on case selection.
  • Dependent on individual animal, farm and surgeon.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
  • Hendrickson D A & Baird A N (2013) Cesarean Section in the Cow. In: Turner and McIlwraith’s Techniques in Large Animal Surgery. Wiley Blackwell. pp 258-265.
  • Lyons N A et al (2013) Aspects of bovine caesarean section associated with calf mortality, dam survival and subsequent fertility. The Veterinary Journal PubMed.
  • Newman K D (2008) Bovine caesarean section in the field. Veterinary Clin of North America: Food Anim Pract 24, 273-293 PubMed.
  • Schultz L G et al (2008) Surgical approaches for caesarean section in cattle. Canad Vet Jour 49, 565-568 PubMed.
  • Kolkman I et al (2007) Protocol of the caesarean section as performed in daily bovine practice in Belgium. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 42, 583-589 PubMed.
  • Newman K D & Anderson D E (2005) Cesarean section in cows. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 21, 73-100.
  • Fubini S L & Ducharme N G (2004) Cesarean Section. In: Farm Animal Surgery. Ed: Fathman E M. Saunders. pp 382-387.
  • Noakes D E, Parkinson T J & England G C W (2001) The caesarean operation. In: Arthur’s Veterinary Reproduction and Obstetrics. pp 341-363.
  • Dawson J C & Murray R (1992) Caesarean sections in cattle attended by a practice in Cheshire. Veterinary Record 131, 525-527 PubMed.
  • Barkema H W et al (1992) Fertility, production and culling following caesarean section in dairy cattle. Theriogenology 38, 589-599 PubMed.
  • Cattell J H & Dobson H (1990) A survey of caesarean operations on cattle in general veterinary practice. Veterinary Record 127, 395-399 PubMed.


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