Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mad Cow Syndrome!

Confrontation Re-Enacted
(Photograph by Tim Bray, of Ongoing)

In an email yesterday, my Uncle Cran owned up to his "ineptitude as a veterinarian practitioner" in his attempts at dealing with a very pregnant cow whose 'inner calf' was turned around the wrong way in the uterus and needed some redirecting toward the light of reality.

Now, birth is never an easy process, and my personal view is that the doctor should be professional, the midwife should be experienced, and the father may be present . . . but should the doctor invite his own family? Well, that's what 'Doc' Cran did -- despite not even requesting the father-bull's presence as a comfort to the mother-cow -- so the following 'procedure' took place under the curious eyes of Aunt Gay and four grandkids:
The grandkids helped me get . . . [the cow] into the barn lot, and watched while I hemmed her up in the working chute and ran my hand up inside her to my arm pit, and couldn't reach the calf. It was lodged way back, and usually that means a dead calf and cow. I may have grossed the kids out as it is a messy operation. The cows refuse to cooperate, and start doing number ones and number twos and you have to get the soap and water to clean up the area before reaching inside. Usually you can find a head or feet and get them turned, but it was too far back.
During Doc Cran's nonprofessional intrusion -- along with grandkid #1, Haden, a mere child forced to silently lug the soap and water -- in what should have been a very private time for the poor cow, Doc Cran and the observers discussed the difficult complications openly -- even though the cow was fully alert and must have overheard every word! For instance, Doc Cran tells us that he "got a lot of encouragement during the process":
Grandkid #2 (Zach): "Grandpa, do you know what you're doing?"

Grandkid #3 (Bradly): "Grandpa, are you sure you have the right cow?"

Grandkid #4 (Tiffany): "Grandma, I think Grandpa violated the poor cow."

Aunt Gay: "Now what do we do?

Doc Cran: "I hope she goes back into the woods to die, not out in the field where we can see it happen."
That doesn't sound much like encouragement to me. I realize that the term 'encouragement' was meant ironically, but birth is a mysterious event and should be treated with reverence. Doc Cran is perhaps fortunate that the father-bull was not present to see all this! Still, despite all the pessimism and negativity in Doc Cran's bedside manner, which concluded in the Doc's unprofessional and even murderous wish, the 'violated' cow survived:
I looked out this morning and the cow that had been trying to have a calf was lying alone in the middle of the field . . . . [S]he had finally got the calf turned properly inside her and it was delivered without any help. I drove the 4-wheeler over to check and it was up and nursing.
Yes, everything turned out well enough in the end, but you'll be lucky to avoid a lawsuit from an uncowed cow, for -- as shown by the above photo re-enactment of your recent encounter "in the middle of the field" -- we see that this cow has not forgotten your death wish!

Better watch your back, Uncle Cran.

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At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the cow was "Mad" in the sense of "angry," also fearful, apprehensive, uncooperative, and any other apt descriptions. The cow was unhappy, Gay was unhappy, the grandkids were unhappy, even I was unhappy. I have had a number of successful calf deliveries, but this was unique. Upon reflection, I realize the calf bed was twisted, and that was the reason I couldn't reach it. You failed to note grandkid #4, (Haden) who was busy carrying soap and water that he didn't have time to stand and offer constructive (?) criticism. No one was invited. The grands invited themselves to watch, even bringing a video cam. I have no desire to see what what was recorded. You can't get a vet to make farm calls,
so you have to load the cow on a trailor and go to the vet's office/workplace. I failed to note the procedure was out in the hot sun and 90 degree weather.
This is just a part of this easy country living.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I guess ever since my stepfather, Charles Miller, passed away, a farmer just cannot get a vet to show up. I used to help Charles a bit, but I never really leaned much -- you should get John to help, for he even learned surgery from Charles.

I don't recall your email mentioning Hayden, but if I could, I'd work him in.

I hope the blog entry was amusing.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:11 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I've now interpolated Haden's role in the whole sordid process.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what SPCA or PETA would do to me in this situation?
Well, I told you to "do your worst," You certainly did that...
and two slams in one week -------what happened to that cute sweet child, (who happened to have some
of the "biggest" issues in his physique)? Could this be the reason you love to pick on your pore-ole kinfolk? Alas, for you to turn out like this! Go ahead....kick an old guy when he's down and helpless.

At 8:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Me, a "cute sweet child"? As I recall, your memory was of me as bawling a lot through a 'squarish' sort of mouth.

I reckon that I was furnished with sharp edges from birth onward.

In other words . . . beyond my control.

Jeffery Hodges

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