Help prevent dystocia by:
- Ensuring heifers are inseminated at the proper age and bodyweight.
- Selecting potential sires on the basis of known calving ease.
- Improving personnel training regarding proper timing and methods of intervention during calving, plus appropriate methods to care for compromised newborn calves.
TLC for the compromised calf
Good supportive care can go a long way for a compro-mised calf. Sheila McGuirk, DVM, PhD, says calves with difficult deliveries are high-risk calves and everything about their post-natal management is difficult. “Attentive, well-trained people who care make a difference,” McGuirk says.
Stimulation, clearing an airway, stopping navel bleeding and warming up that calf will make a differ-ence, McGuirk notes. She suggests sitting the calf in sternal recumbency, changing body positions and towel drying. Giving oxygen by mask is also useful.
Give the calf some time. “Delay colostrum feeding for the compromised calf for four hours, but if the nose and mucous membranes don’t turn pink, have your clients call a veterinarian for assistance,” McGuirk suggests. “There is no magic medication to make calves breathe or quick tricks that turn these calves around. Keep them sitting, warm and stimulated to breathe. Give warm colostrum and get assistance if needed.”