Page 11 - MWC 2-24-2022s
P. 11

Give Weak Calves A                                                                The Midwest Cattleman · February 24, 2022 · P11

       Boost with a Big Squeeze

                                By Maureen Hanson
         You’ve probably seen it more  20 minutes.
      than once – a beautiful, per-         4. Remove the rope and as-
      fectly formed and apparently  sist the calf in standing.
      healthy calf that just has no in-     The MST simulates pres-
      terest in engaging in life.        sure in the birth canal during
         These weak or  “dummy”  the second stage of labor, which
      calves are indifferent to stimu- typically lasts 20-40 minutes.
      lus, clumsy, lethargic and have  It is best to perform the tech-
      weak or no suckle reflex. Fre- nique within a day or two of
      quently they are the result of  birth.
      a traumatic or Caesarian sec-         Bovine veterinarian Cassie
      tion birth. They are frustrating
      to raise, may require multiple                  continued on page 26
      tube feedings, and often don’t
         As it turns  out, there  may
      be a simple, low-cost, and ef-
      fective way to help them, and
      it doesn’t require a  needle, a
      tube, or a chute to administer.
         The “Madigan Squeeze Tech-
      nique” (MST) was developed by
      Dr. John Madigan, a veterinary
      professor and equine neonatal
      health expert at the University
      of  California-Davis.  Madigan
      developed the technique as a
      part of his research to assist
      “dummy” foals with similar,
      early life malaise.
         Madigan’s theory is that
      when animals travel through
      the birth canal, it causes a
      surge of hormones that shut
      down sedative neurosteroids
      that keep them calm in the
      womb. Because both cattle and
      horses are prey species, it is
      important that they make a
      quick switch to consciousness
      so they could theoretically run
      to safety within a few hours of
         The squeeze through the
      birth canal is thought to help
      flip a biochemical “on switch”
      that helps newborns transition
      quickly from a sleep-like state
      in the womb to active engage-
      ment outside of it. If, for some
      reason, this transition does
      not occur, the animal remains
      quiet, depressed, and detached.
         The technique itself is per-
      formed as follows:
         1. Wrap a long, soft rope in
      three concentric loops around
      the calf’s chest.
         2. Gently pull the rope to
      create pressure around the
      ribs. The calf should lie down
      and will enter a sleep-like
      state with eyes closed, slowed
      breathing and lowered heart
         3. Maintain this position for
   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16