Calving detours

Cesarean section

  • Margaret A. Masterson Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43040
Keywords: bovine, dystocia, cesarean section, surgery


Many times, it is not possible to deliver a calf vaginally. Veterinarians need to be familiar with the indications for a cesarean section (C-section), how to perform the surgery, and to move on to this option in a timely manner to achieve the best results. This paper will cover the indications for a C-section. There are several surgical approaches, but in general the left flank approach is the easiest to perform. Anesthesia is typically achieved with a paravertebral block of inverted ā€œLā€. Once the abdomen is open, the uterus is brought to the incision. A uterine incision starting at the hock and extending to and around the hoof is made through which the calf is delivered. If the uterus cannot be brought to the incision, it can be opened in the abdomen with the aid of a letter opener. Severely contaminated calvings may require a special approach. Once the calf is delivered, the uterus is closed with an inverting pattern, and the body wall is closed in a standard manner. Knowing how to perform a C-section in the field will give the veterinarian another option when a calving detour is indicated.

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