The AVA Annual Conference is the nation’s premier veterinary event, covering all fields of veterinary science and in 2017 brought together over 920 veterinary professionals and 115 exhibitors.

We hope you will join us for the 2018 AVA Annual Conference in Brisbane, 13-18 May.    
Visit conference.ava.com.au to register.    To download a pdf file of the entire program click here.
Thursday, May 17 • 9:00am - 10:00am
Cattle medicine - Surgical conditions of the gastrointestinal tract

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The disorders of the gastro-intestinal system of the cow are quite unlike those of any other domestic animals, as a result of the presence of the forestomachs. In general terms, the surgical conditions of the GI tract are (i) blockages, (ii) displacements, (iii) torsions and (iv) perforations. The diagnosis of GIT lesions is, arguably, the most complex differential that occurs in cattle and, of course, lesions of organs other than the GIT can present as apparently “classic” cases of gut disorders. Some GIT disorders result in classic signs of an ‘acute abdomen’ (e.g. shock, toxaemia), whilst others are more likely to present as wasting and/or inappetence. Horse-like colic is a rare symptom in cattle and, even in quite severe lesions of the GIT, many cows will show few signs beyond mild discomfort and inappetence. In most cases, diagnosis can be made on clinical signs: most of the conditions have a relatively specific combination of clinical signs, abdominal contour, profile of sounds on percussion/ ballottement/ auscultation of the two flanks, and pattern of distension of viscera on palpation per rectum. Non-GIT lesions that have ‘gut-like’ signs can present particular diagnostic challenges, whilst pre-patent infectious diarrhoea can potentially be confused with a ‘surgical’ condition. Laboratory tests can be used for confirmation (e.g. elevated WCC in traumatic reticulitis) or prognostic purposes (e.g. electrolyte profile in cases of torsion), rather than as primary means of diagnosis. Surgery is nearly always undertaken in a standing patient, using paravertebral or regional infiltration to anaesthetise the flank that is to be incised. Releasing gas and/or decompression of the gut is usually required for the replacement of a twisted viscus, but, otherwise, normal methods for the surgery of bowel apply. Animals with an ‘acute abdomen’ require circulatory stabilisation before surgery, and have a sufficiently guarded prognosis that the economic worthwhile of surgery should be established with the owner before the procedure is started. Most cases require a significant period of antibiotic cover after the completion of surgery.

avatar for Tim Parkinson

Tim Parkinson

Tim Parkinson is Professor of Farm Animal Reproduction & Health at Massey University, New Zealand. He graduated from Bristol University and initially worked in cattle practice and cattle AI in the UK. After his PhD in reproductive physiology at Nottingham University, he lectured in... Read More →

Thursday May 17, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Plaza P1 Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre