Castrating gone wrong :(

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Oakshire_Farm, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Oakshire_Farm

    Oakshire_Farm Well-Known Member

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    I have always castrated calves by the elastic band method, it is quick and easy. The last bach of calves that I got I was talkng to a friends and he said I should do it with a knife, I said well I have seen it done but I would not attempt to do it my self untill I had seen it done more. He offered to come over and show me how to do it. Last week he came over we did 5 calves all went pretty well. But now almost 2 weeks later there sacks are all filled with fluid? I got my hubby to hold one for me last night and I squeezed the sack and bloody puss came out "yuck" so I got my blade and opened it up a bit more and got it all out. I put a call into the vet this mornig and the soonest he could make it out is tommorow afternoon. But I was just wondering what did we do wrong???

    Does anyone have pictures or videos of how to do ths?

    I think I am going to stick with the elastic bands, they are cheaper than vet bills :(
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Unsanitary tools and making an incision that would not/could not drain usually are the source of the problem.
     

  3. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

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    Agman's right on. Usually you'd want to cut at the base of the sack and a little up the side, not right at the side, so that the fluid can drain out. Plus, like agman said, you gotta make sure your knife is clean of dirt and crap.
     
  4. ArmyDoc

    ArmyDoc Well-Known Member

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    You did the right thing. Most abscesses will heal if you give them adequate drainage, so opening them up should get them back on track.

    The scrotum has a muscular layer, and it will constrict a hole pretty effectively, so as Agman and Karin said, if you incision wasn't at the bottom of the sack, and/or large enough, it wouln't drain properly. Dirty tools would certainly contribute, but even with clean tools, given the location, inadequate drainage would be enough to cause and abscess.
     
  5. Wally H

    Wally H New Member

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    Everything above is good info. When cutting calves, we prepare a 'cuttin bucket'. This is a plastic pail with a handle filled with water and disinfectant (lysol). The knife or scalpel is contained in this bucket when not being used. When cutting the calf, our practice is to 'wash' the bag with just enough lysol water to get it completely wet and then cut open the nutbag. This is an exact method done to thousands of calves in this area every year. Rubber Bands are also a very good method for castaration. If you are not comfortable cutting a calf, don't do it.
     
  6. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Oakshire, cutting calves went out with the ark, largely for the reasons you have stated. It takes longer to do and the risks of infection are much higher. When one thinks about it, it is quite an invasive little operation and a pair of elastrators and a rubber ring are every bit as effective.

    I would agree with the others - cut is to high to allow for drainage and is starting to heal with rubbish inside it. Also equipment used should be clean and cleaned between calves. Stick with rings. As you said, cheaper than vet bills:)

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  7. ErinP

    ErinP Too many fat quarters... Supporter

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    We've lived (and had family/friends) on ranches all over the High Plains of the US.
    I assure you, cutting calves with a knife is still a very common practice, and rarely does anything go wrong. :shrug: (and a decent branding crew can get a calf down, branded, vaxed and cut in less than a minute)
    However, like Wally, I would highly recommend not cutting if you don't know what you're doing! In the past 20 years, I've helped brand (cut/vax) tens of thousands of calves.
    I'm not sure I'd be willing to cut...

    At any branding, the most important job on the ground is the iron. The second the knife. But the knife has a much higher learning curve.

    We have a cutting bucket, too, with disinfectant in it for knives. We also have an old dishsoap bottle filled with the same disinfectant that a kid splashes on the wound after the "surgeon" is done.
     
  8. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 Well-Known Member

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    ya i just band them its simple and (knock on wood) we havnt ran in to any thing go wrong other than the band breaking every now and then

    we did have a calf with only one instead of the 2 that all the rest have had kinda weird but we felt around and couldnt feel another one so we waited till the next day and tried again and same thing so we just banded the one cause we are like 99% sure that he only had one but thats the first that i have done out of 1000s of calves i have banded so i was kinda worried id miss the other one but never did feel it so i guess we will see there about to fall off now any ways so ill check when it does fall off
     
  9. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    You're supposed to cut off about the bottom third of the sack to allow for drainage.
     
  10. Oakshire_Farm

    Oakshire_Farm Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys!

    WE did have a cleaning bucket, filled with warm water and iodine, washed the bottom of the sack, cleaned the knife between each calf, usually just left the knife in the bucket between calves. When He the fried that has done many before, but it has been about 20 years. He cut the bottom inch off the sack the testicles fell out, cut the little sack that hold the individual testicals, striped the cords around the blood vessle then cut the vessel. Sprayed the opening witth a anitiseptic, and let them go.

    I will be sticking with the bands, Although I have had problems with them before as well, I bought a bad bach of them a few years back and I didn't realise they were not very elasticly, they didn't go tigh enough at a few of the testicles got sucked up? I know check them all the next day to make sure I have "2 berries in the basket"

    Thanks for the advise I am so glad that I have stubbled across a site like this with so many people that are soo helpfull! You guys rock!
     
  11. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Oakshire_Farm
    Buy a bag of 100 bands from a vet supply off the internet. They will not be as old as stock bought from a local dealer that has few sales. Store the unused bands in the freezer. They will remain useful for a long time.
     
  12. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Agreed, that's the way I've always done it.
     
  13. Oakshire_Farm

    Oakshire_Farm Well-Known Member

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    Well the vet said that the problem was caused by 2 things, 1) not enought of the sack was cut off causing it to heal over to soon so that it was not able to properly drain and 2) the tools were not sterile enough.

    Morrel of the story, I am sticking with the bands (I do keep them in the freezer)

    But the good news of the day, the vet confirmed my Jersey pregnant!!! I was sure that she was but since the vet was here I thought I would get confirmed!!! October 28thish we are expecting a pure Jersey!!!!!

    so that is one Jersey prego (Mable)
    one Jersey visiting the bull (Else)
    and one Jersey milking! (Annabelle)
    and one up and commer growing (Juicy Lucy, born Feb 10th, 2009)
     
  14. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    I have seen more bad cases of infection from bands than a knife.
     
  15. ErinP

    ErinP Too many fat quarters... Supporter

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    My vet says the same.

    Really, the lesson to be learned here is not that the method was bad, just that it was performed incorrectly.:shrug:
     
  16. ArmyDoc

    ArmyDoc Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend adding alcohol to your iodine. In surgery, iodine has fallen somewhat out of favor as an antiseptic. Best is chlorhexidine, with or without alcohol. But it's expensive. Adding alcohold to the idodine will add a second mechanism of action for killing the bacteria, and should be an in expensive way to increase the effectiveness of iodine alone.
     
  17. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I have banded hundreds of calves without a problem. I have had a few problems with ear tags. My calves are born year around, often in fly season. Anything that creates an open wound is a suspect for infection. I can understand the vet's position because almost no one would pay vet fees for the application of a band. The worst problem that I have ever seen was on a stud horse and was performed by a vet. I will continue with the bands and I suggest the poster to do the same.
     
  18. Cotton Picker

    Cotton Picker Well-Known Member

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    Hi OF.....

    OK... The Missouri Ozarks castration method.....

    Hem the "patient" up between a gate and the fence (best done on less than 300 lb calves).... Ideally.... Use a head-gate or chute.... Have an assistant grasp the tail at the base and about a third, to halfway up on the tail and bend it over the back, to where it resembles the tail of a Husky dog... By applying gentle forward pressure on the tail during the procedure helps to keep the "patient" still, as well as, cuts down on the potential of the "surgeon" getting a hoof, or hock, in the chops....

    Grasp the scrotum by the bottom.... Slice about 1/4.... To 1/3 of the scrotum off, in a single, horizontal cut.... This facilitates drainage.... Work the testicles out of the scrotum, one at a time, with a motion much like stripping milk from a teat... Grasp the testicle and pull it until it tears completely free of the body.... Membrane and all... Repeat with the other testicle... I know this sounds rough... However if you pull the testicles out in this manner there will be little bleeding and there will also not be any hanging testicular tissue that can become infected..... Make certain to trim any dangling membrane by pulling it as far out of the scrotum as possible... the snap-back of the residual testicular tissue will cut down on the incidence of secondary infection, due to wicking of grime into the scrotum.... The jerk method also greatly reduces the need for sterile instruments to separate the testicle from the "patient"

    Conserve the now "bull fries"... or "oysters".. For your post castration experience, dining pleasure......

    .
     
  19. ErinP

    ErinP Too many fat quarters... Supporter

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    Does anyone pay vet fees to cut calves?? :confused:
     
  20. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    ErinP, up here, the vet is not the guy that works the knife at a branding and the knife man generally works for supper and beer.