A pregnant crossbred primiparous heifer after completion of first stage of labour was presented to Teaching veterinary clinical complex, GADVASU. Per-vaginal examination revealed right lateral deviation of head with enlarged cyst and poor development of frontal bone. Both the fore limbs were present in the birth canal. Absence of any fetal reflex indicated that foetus was dead. Following epidural anaesthesia and ample lubrication of the birth passage, a stab incision was given on the enlarged cystic mass and large amount of fluid drained out. This rendered sufficient space for manipulation. A moderate degree of traction was applied on head and fore limbs. Finally, a hydrocephalic male calf was delivered. Fetal membranes were removed manually. The dam was provided with rational therapy for a week. Follow up of case revealed uneventful recovery.
Hydrocephalus is dropsy of brain and denotes swelling of the cranium due to accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in and around the brain. It occurs mainly due to abnormal development of foetus during pregnancy, however hereditary, infectious and nutritional factors can also predispose to this condition, Roberts (1986) resulting into obstruction of free passage of cerebrospinal fluid into the arachnoid space, Salunkhe et al (2001). Death results due to increased pressure on the vital centres of brain, Roberts (1986). There is an abnormal expansion of cavities (ventricles) within the brain due to the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid. The present case reports successful per-vaginal delivery of hydrocephalic fetus after relieving fluid from enlarged head.
Case History and Observations
A pregnant crossbred primiparous HF heifer of 4 years age was presented to teaching veterinary clinical complex GADVASU (Ludhiana) after completion of first stage of labour. The case had come from a village Dangu, which is 25 kms away from the clinical complex. As per owner’s information, the animal was bred using artificial insemination technique. About 5-6 hours had passed after the rupture of allantoic and amniotic water bags. An attempt by the local veterinarian for the delivery of foetus was not successful. The clinical parameters viz. rectal temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate were in normal range. Per-vaginal examination revealed congested and oedematous birth cannal, which had aggravated the condition. After ample lubrication and gentle manipulation, right lateral deviation of head with enlarged cyst and poor development of frontal bone was observed. Both the fore limbs were present in the birth canal. Absence of any fetal reflex indicated that fetus was dead.
Fig 1: Full term hydrocephalic foetus Fig 2: Hydrocephalic foetus having domed skull with fluid filled cyst
Treatment and Discussion
Following epidural anaesthesia in Sacro-coccygeal intervertebral space using 6 ml, Lignocaine HCl (xylocaine, 2%) and ample lubrication of the birth passage with sodium carboxymethyl cellulose gel (Carmellose-Na 1%, WDT, Garbsen, Germany), a stab incision was given on the enlarged cystic mass and large amount of fluid drained out. This rendered sufficient space for manipulation. The right lateral deviation of the head was corrected and a moderate degree of traction was applied on head and fore limbs. Finally, a dead male calf was delivered. Fetal membranes were removed manually. The careful examination of the foetus revealed congenital hydrocephalus (Fig. 1and 2). The mandible of the foetus was fractured, which may be attributed to the traction and excessive manipulation performed by the field veterinarian. The condition is generally classified as internal or external hydrocephalus depending upon the involvement of ventricular and sub-arachnoid space, Thompson (1989). Congenital hydrocephalus (Water head) is an inherited defect in calves caused by a simple autosomal recessive trait resulting in abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the cerebral ventricular system characterized by domed skull, poorly developed teeth, depression, blindness and its survival only for a few days, Radostits et al (2010). Since the above condition is inherited, the best control is by genetic planning i.e. to cull the animals that carry these genes, from breeding programmes and by purchasing bulls / semen from reputable breeders produced by parents who did not carry undesirable genes, Ogilvie (1998). The animal was administered Mifex, (Calcium borogluconate toghether with Magnesium & Phosphrous in organic combination and Dextrose) Inj. 450 ml, slow i/v, Amoxirium forte ( Amoxycillin sodium 2000 mg + Sulbactam sodium 1000 mg), Inj. 3g i.m. Bid for 5 days), Inj. Livadex (Each ml containing cyanocobalamine IP, 50 mcg + Nicotinamide, 100 mg + Choline chloride, 100 mg + Lignicaine Hydrochloride, 10 mg + Folic Acid, 10 mg ), Inj. 10 ml, i.m. OD for 3 days, Dexona, (Each ml containing Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate, 4.4 mg), Inj.10 ml, i.m. and E care-Se (Each ml containing vitamin E, 550mg and selenium, 15 mg), Inj.10 ml, i.m. 3 shots on alternate days. Follow up of case revealed uneventful recovery.
Ogilvie TH. 1998. Large Animal Internal Medicine. Blackwell Publishers. pp 247- 248.
Radostits OM, Gray CC, Hinchcliff KW and Constable PD. 2010. Veterinary Medicine. A Textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, and Goats. 10th edn., Saunders Elsevier, Philadelphia.
Roberts SJ. 1986. Veterinary Obstetrics and Genital Diseases. 3rd edn., Edwards Brothers, Michigan. pp 77.
Salunke SP, Amle MB and Zambre PC. 2001. Dystocia due to hydrocephalus in Pandharpuri buffalo. Indian Journal of Animal Reproduction. 22: 96.
Thompson RQ. (1989). Special Veterinary Pathology 1st Ind. Edn. IBS publishers and Distributors, Shahadara, Delhi.