Dystocia has a direct negative impact on calves in the form of prolonged hypoxia (inadequate oxygen), significant acidosis, vigor and increased stillborn calves, says Gustavo Schuenemann, Ohio State University extension dairy veterinarian. And as you well know, difficult births also cause problems to cows — as with physical trauma, partial loss of movement or impaired movement, metritis, endometritis and so on — which can lead to future fertility issues.

Therefore, it’s essential that maternity area personnel know how and when to intervene at calving. Being able to recognize the calving stages (and signs) in a timely manner is critical for positive outcomes, says Schuenemann.

Use these guidelines  to define calving stages and assistance to help provide better calving care.

Several workshops will be held in Ohio later this year to train dairy personnel in calving assistance and techniques. (The information will be available in English and Spanish). Those dates will be listed on the Industry Calendar as they become available.

Meanwhile, one of the first ways to get a handle on dystocia on your dairy is to record the ease or difficulty of each birth. One of the most commonly used scales to make that assessment looks like this: 

1 = birth without assistance.
2 = required some intervention by one person.
3 = required assistance of two or more people.
4 = required mechanical extraction.
5 = required surgical procedure.
(See Lombard J.E., F.B. Garry, S.M. Tomlinson, and L.P. Garber. 2007 Impacts of dystocia on health and survival of dairy calves. J. Dairy Sci. 90:1751-1760.)

Source: March Buckeye Dairy News