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Bovine Surgery and Lameness

Third Edition

A. David Weaver

BSc, Dr med vet, PhD, FRCVS, Dr hc (Warsaw)

Professor emeritus, College of Veterinary Medicine

University of Missouri, USA and Bearsden, Glasgow, Scotland

Owen Atkinson


Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Specialist in Cattle Health and Production

Dairy Veterinary Consultancy Ltd, Cheshire, UK

Guy St. Jean


Professor of Surgery, Former Head, Department of Veterinary

Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine

Ross University, St Kitts, West Indies

Adrian Steiner

Dr med vet, FVH, MS, Dr habil, Dipl ECVS, Dipl ECBHM

Professor and Head, Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse-Faculty of Berne Switzerland

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Having discarded the prefaces of the first two editions of “Bovine Surgery and Lameness”, the third edition has some changes in its format. However, the emphasis of this paperback, designed to be available in the car for easy access (rather than gathering dust on the practice bookshelf), has the same aims as its predecessors. It should give the “nuts and bolts” or “how to…” of the previous editions. It has an additional author, Owen Atkinson, a dairy consultant veterinarian who has over twenty years experience of intensive dairy cattle practice in England. Owen has completely rewritten the lameness chapter, and has also reorganised the introductory sections to give greater emphasis to supportive therapy and certain selected diagnostic procedures.

Other changes include expansion of the surgical management of abomasal disorders to include laparoscopic techniques introduced into veterinary medicine over the last 15 years. These techniques have been clarified by greater use of line drawings, that were appreciated in the second edition. Three such line drawings illustrate the front cover.

As well as ethical considerations, the problems of the economic viability of any surgical intervention in cattle must be carefully assessed. The importance of sterile surgical packs, effective anaesthesia and asepsis cannot be overemphasised. Failures in operative procedures in cattle lead to a natural reluctance by farmers to agree to repeat such operations. The attention today (2018) on the worldwide attempts to reduce antibiotic usage is also relevant to bovine surgery, where effective asepsis often makes post-operative antibiotic cover unnecessary.

The quality of veterinarian-farmer communication is particularly relevant at a time when ethical considerations have become more important. The general public is now more conscious of animal welfare and their view, as consumers and customers, should not be ignored. The veterinary profession has an important role here. For example, the need for pain relief should be promoted in routine procedures such as disbudding/dehorning and castration, frequently performed by the unsupervised farmer following instruction by the veterinarian. The relatively recent recognition of the usefulness of NSAIDs to reduce post-operative pain is applauded and their more widespread use is encouraged in this revised edition.

Other challenges in the bovine surgical field cannot be avoided, such as surgery in a suboptimal environment e.g. a dusty dark cowshed late at night, or the ill-lit corner of a field. More hypothetical challenges such as the layperson's question: “is castration justified?” fall outside our remit in this book. However, wherever possible a practical approach has been suggested, including some handy tips often learned the hard way.

Despite this book often describing the surgical correction of conditions once they occur, the reader is encouraged to make efforts to prevent problems, such as an unacceptable incidence of displaced abomasum cases, or of digital dermatitis. Whilst other books, (see further reading section) are able to explore preventive measures in greater depth, we have included in this edition some discussion boxes to promote a preventive approach.

The authors would welcome comments and suggestions for improvements. We have often given only our personal preferred surgical technique, aware that in other hands there can be excellent alternatives.

A. David Weaver, Owen Atkinson, Guy St. Jean and Adrian Steiner

March 2018


Permission to reproduce again illustrations from the first and second editions was graciously given by several authors and publishers as below.

Figs. 1.9, 4.5, 5.2, 5.12 Dr. K.M. Dyce, Edinburgh and W.B. Saunders ‘Essentials of Bovine Anatomy’, 1971 by Dyce and Wensing

Figs. 4.4, 4.9, 5.1, 5.4, 5.5 Professor Claude Pavaux, Toulouse, and Maloine s.a. editeur from ‘Colour Atlas of Bovine Anatomy: Splanchnology’ 1982

Fig. 5.17, Dr. John Cox, Liverpool, and Liverpool University Press ‘Surgery of the Reproductive Tract in Large Animals’ 1987

Fig. 3.3, Adapted from Dr. M.E. Smart, Saskatoon and Veterinary Learning Systems, Yardley, PA, USA from ‘Compendium of Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian’ 7, S327, 1985

Fig. 5.20, Dr. H. Kümper, Giessen and Blackwell Science from ‘Innere Medizin und Chirurgie des Rindes’ 4e 2002 edited by G. Dirksen, H-D. Gründer and M. Stöber (fig. 6.125)

Fig. 6.6, Dr. R.S. Youngquist, Columbia, Missouri and W.B. Saunders from ‘Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology’ 1997 (fig. 57.2)

Fig. 9.31, Dr. M. Steenhaut, Gent, and Blackwell Science from ‘Innere Medizin und Chirurgie des Rindes’ 4e 2002 edited by G. Dirksen, H-D. Gründer and M. Stöber (fig. 9.159)

The authors are grateful to the many practicing vets and colleagues who helped with previous editions, checking for inaccuracies, providing comment or drawing sketches. They include the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), Dominic Alexander, George Constantinescu, Keith Cutler, Jan Huckin, Lesley Johnson, David Noakes, David Pritchard, David Ramsay, Jonathan Reader, Phil Scott, John Sproat, Eva Steiner, David Taylor and Thomas Wittek. Thanks also to Dr. R.S. Youngquist and Colin D. Penny who reviewed the new Chapter 8.

David Weaver thanks Christina Mclachlan of Milngavie for both her accuracy and patience whilst typing large sections of manuscript.

Guy St. Jean thanks his mentors Bruce Hull, Michael Rings and Glen Hoffsis, not only for their earlier advice and encouragement during his residency, but also for their continuing friendship. He also thanks Kim Carey for secretarial help and his wife Kathleen Yvorchuk-St. Jean for continual support.

Adrian Steiner would like to dedicate the book to Christian.

Owen Atkinson thanks the farmers and many veterinary colleagues who have contributed to his understanding of bovine surgery and lameness. He thanks Laura for her support.

Finally thanks are given to all at Wiley Publishing for their expertise and encouragement through the writing of this third edition. They include Patricia Bateson, Catriona Cooper, Susan Engelken, Jessica Evans, Atiqah Abdul Manaf, Purvi Patel, and Justinia Wood.

A. David Weaver, Owen Atkinson, Guy St. Jean and Adrian Steiner

March 2018

The authors have made every effort to ensure that medicines and their dosage regimes are accurate at the time of publication. Nevertheless, readers should check the product information provided by the manufacturer of each medicine before its use or prescription. In particular, medicine authorisation by regulatory authorities varies from country to country. Some medicines included in the text are not authorised for use for food- producing animals in some countries. The reader should exercise individual judgement in coming to a clinical decision on medicine usage, bearing in mind professional skill and experience, and should at all times remain within the regulatory framework of the country.

Whilst all reasonable care has been taken in the book's preparation, including peer review, no warranty is given as to its accuracy, nor liability accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance upon any statement in or omission from this publication.

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