Foreign body removal by standing thoracotomy in a dairy cow

02 Sep 2020

Domingues, J., Hayes, C. J., O Leary, J. M., Davies, D., Ryan, E. G.

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A three-year-old Holstein-Friesian cow presented at University College Dublin Veterinary Hospital with clinical signs of chronic weight loss, abnormal stance, slight arching of the back and increased left cranioventral lung sounds. Traumatic reticulitis, following the ingestion of a foreign body, was suspected. Radiographs showed the presence of a wire that had perforated the diaphragm and penetrated cranially into the thorax. Ultrasonographic findings included hyperechogenic areas mainly cranioventrally on the left side of the thorax as well as changes indicative of lung consolidation. A standing left thoracotomy to remove the wire was successfully performed under standing sedation and regional anaesthesia. This involved the removal of a portion of the sixth rib to facilitate surgical access. A drainage tube was placed in order to manage the subsequent temporary unilateral pneumothorax. The cow recovered very well postsurgery, went back to the farm and calved four months later.