The Caesarean Section in the Cow
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Obstetrics, Reproduction and Herd Health
Prof. Dr. A. de Kruif, Sarne De Vhiegher, Olivier Aspeslagh
In the early part of the 20th. century, veterinary surgeons began to perform Caesarean Section (CS) in cows. At first, it was a final remedy to save the calf and/or the cow in more complicated obstetrical cases.
As in Belgium, the Belgian Blue (BB) breed has become the predominant beef breed, CS are currently performed on a routine basis in daily practice. The overwhelming success of the breed is based on its hypermuscularity and exceptional carcass characteristics with high killing out. These and other characteristics made the breed popular and newborn animals valuable.
Consequently, farmers do not want to take any risk of losing the calf during birth. This, together with the fact that bovine practitioners perform CS successfully on a routine basis, has made CS an elective operation. It is, however, important to remember that CS is still a major abdominal operation and that complications are not uncommon both during and after the operation. To end up with a good success rate, it is very important to follow a high-quality and sterile surgical procedure.
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