Indian Journal of Animal Research

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Indian Journal of Animal Research, volume 56 issue 3 (march 2022) : 353-357

Comprehensive Clinical Assessment, Radiological and Ultrasound Evaluation of Recumbent Cows with Abdominal Dysfunction

S. Sivaraman1,*, G. Vijayakumar2, G.A. Balasubramaniam3, S. Dharmaceelan1, P. Selvaraj4
1Department of Clinics, Veterinary Clinical Complex, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Namakkal-637 002, Tamil Nadu, India.
2Veterinary University Peripheral Hospital, TNVASU, Chennai-600 051, Tamil Nadu, India.
3Department of Veterinary Pathology, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal, TNVASU, Chennai-600 051, Tamil Nadu, India.
4Department of Veterinary Physiology, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal, TNVASU, Chennai-600 051, Tamil Nadu, India.
Cite article:- Sivaraman S., Vijayakumar G., Balasubramaniam G.A., Dharmaceelan S., Selvaraj P. (2022). Comprehensive Clinical Assessment, Radiological and Ultrasound Evaluation of Recumbent Cows with Abdominal Dysfunction . Indian Journal of Animal Research. 56(3): 353-357 . doi: 10.18805/IJAR.B-4714.

Background: Our study aimed clinical evaluation of recumbent cows with abdominal dysfunction in and around Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu, India. 

Methods: A total of 132 recumbent cattle brought to Veterinary Clinical Complex, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal were subjected to detailed clinical examination, radiography and ultrasonography. 

Result: The various abdominal dysfunctions noticed in recumbent cows in the present study were peritonitis, reticular disorders, ileus, rumen impaction and rumen lactacidosis. Ultrasound imaging is complementary to clinical evaluation to identify the etiology of recumbent cows with abdominal dysfunctions.

Recumbency is a state of lying down and unable to stand up unassisted (Forbes et al., 1986). Some may be able to stand and even walk around after being lifted, but are still unable to stand by themselves. If treatment of the underlying cause of recumbency is not successful and cattle are unable to rise for >24 hrs after initial recumbency, they may develop a secondary recumbency from pressure damage to muscles and nerves, are termed “downer cow syndrome”. Once the animal become recumbent due to any primary etiology later it will go for the secondary recumbency which will complicate the condition and its recovery (Constable et al., 2017). Recumbency due to abdominal dysfunction in ruminants is both a therapeutic and a diagnostic challenge for the veterinary practitioner. Some of them will require immediate surgical treatment and others could be treated medically. They are associated with numerous conditions that affect the abdominal cavity and could also be mimicked by diseases of extra abdominal origin (Smith, 2009). The recumbent cow causes heavy economic loss to farmers and early ambulation would reduce the economic loss. Precise information is not yet available regarding recumbency in the cow with abdominal dysfunctions. The objective of the study was to analyse the various etiologies, diagnostic aids and the treatment strategies in the management of recumbent cows with abdominal dysfunction.
Study area and study period
 
The study was conducted in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal during the period of 2016-19. Animals from Namakkal region and its surrounding areas were selected for the study.
 
Selection of cases
 
Cattle that were brought to the Large Animal Medical Unit of Veterinary Clinical Complex, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal in recumbency were utilized for the study. They were subjected to detailed clinical examination, rumen fluid examination, radiography and ultrasonography. Based on the anamnesis, clinical and diagnostic investigations 132 recumbent cows were diagnosed as recumbency due to abdominal dysfunction. Animals brought for routine check up and deworming during this period served as a control group for clinical parameters, radiography and ultrasonography.
 
Clinical examination
 
Clinical examination of the animal was undertaken as per standard methods (Rosenberger, 1979 and Houston et al., 2000).
 
Rumen fluid analysis
 
Rumen fluid was collected from all the animals by using rumen fluid extraction pump. The samples were analysed as described by Rosenberger (1979).
 
Radiography
 
Animals were subjected to left lateral radiograph of caudoventral thorax and reticulum as described by Krishnamurthy and Singh (2011) using Wipro GE 525 DX X ray unit. The radiographic exposure of 90-110 kVp, 40-60 mAs and source image distance of 100 cm were employed. Cassette with 12×15 inch blue sensitive X ray film was used for radiography.
 
Ultrasonography
 
All the animals under study were subjected to ultrasonographic examination using Esoate Mylab 40 Vet Ultrasound machine and the abdomen was examined using 2.0-3.5 MHz transducer as described by Braun and Gotz (1994).
The various abdominal dysfunctions noticed in recumbent cows in the present study were peritonitis (57 cattle; 43.18 per cent), reticular disorders (30 cattle; 22.73 per cent), ileus (19 cattle; 14.39 per cent), rumen impaction (14 cattle; 10.61 per cent) and ruminal acidosis (12 cattle; 9.09 per cent). The recumbency due to abdominal dysfunctions in cows under the present study was in agreement with the reports of the following authors. Hajighahramani and Ghane (2010) and Aref and Abdel-Hakeim (2013) reported that in severe cases of traumatic peritonitis, reticular affections and intestinal involvement, the animal might become recumbent.
 
Clinical signs
 
Cattle with peritonitis had tachycardia (100 per cent), voided little quantity of dung (100 per cent), bruxism (91.83 per cent), elevated body temperature (81.63 per cent), abdominal distension (79.59 per cent) and were in sternal recumbency (57.14 per cent). Similar findings were reported by Aref and Abdel Hakiem (2013), Habasha and Yassein (2014), Braun et al., (2018) and Sasikala et al., (2018a) in their study on the traumatic reticulo peritonitis.The predominant clinical signs in cows with reticular disorders were tachycardia (100 per cent), voiding of little quantity of dung (100 per cent), cessation of rumination (100 per cent), abdominal distension (78.26 per cent), bruxism (91.30 per cent), sternal recumbency (65.21 per cent) and anterior abdominal pain with extended neck (Fig 1) (33.33 per cent). Radostits et al., (2007) and Sasikala et al., (2018b) reported that the most common clinical signs noticed in animals with reticular abscesses were poor body condition, pyrexia, tachycardia, bruxism, mild ruminal tympany and impaired rumen motility. The clinical signs of cows with reticular disorders noticed in the present study were in agreement with the reports of Radostits et al., (2007) and Sasikala et al., (2018b). Tachycardia (100 per cent), achezia (100 per cent), severe abdominal distension (100 per cent), sternal recumbency (63.15 per cent) and prolapse of the rectum (Fig 2) (10.52 per cent) were noticed in cows with intestinal ileus. Karapinar and Kom (2007) reported anorexia, colic signs, lack of defecation, elevated rectal temperature, tachycardia, tachypnea with reduced ruminal contractions and distended loops of intestine upon rectal examination in cattle with intussusception. Intussusception was one of the important mechanical causes of intestinal obstruction in bovines. Affected animals usually showed non-specific clinical signs such as anorexia, depression, dehydration, tachycardia, empty rectum, abdominal distension and pain (Imran et al., 2011a). Kumar et al., (2015) recorded anorexia, abdominal distension, cessation of defecation, abdominal pain and absence of dung in the rectum, distended loops of intestines in cattle with intussusception. Hussain et al., (2015) and Khalphallah et al., (2016) recorded achezia, regurgitation, dehydration, congested mucous membranes, tachycardia, tachyponea, reduced rumen motility, abdominal pain and empty rectum on rectal examination in cattle with ileus. In the present study cattle with intestinal ileus had similar clinical signs as reported by the above authors. Cessation of rumination (100 per cent), distended abdomen (35.71), bruxism (42.85 per cent) and sternal recumbency (71.42 per cent) were noticed in cows with rumen impaction. Tripathi et al., (2016) and Sasikala et al., (2018c) noticed depression, anorexia, restlessness, tympany, ruminal atony, reduced dung output, doughy rumen and suspended rumination in cattle with ruminal impaction. The clinical signs observed in the present study were supported by the reports of above authors.Cattle with rumen lactacidosis had tachycardia (100 per cent), polypnoea (100 per cent), fluid splashing sound in rumen (100 per cent) and were sternal recumbency (50 per cent) voiding semi solid dung (100 per cent). Bashir et al., (2015) and Sasikala et al., (2018d) in their study on animals with ruminal lactacidosis reported distended rumen, diarrhoea, fluid splashing sounds, reduced rumen pH, dehydration and tachycardia as the predominant clinical signs. Similar findings were reported in the present study.
 

Fig 1: Reticular disorder: Anterior abdominal pain and extended neck.


 

Fig 2: Intestinal ileus: Prolapse of rectum.


 
Rumen fluid examination
 
Rumen fluid examination in recumbent cattle with ruminal acidosis revealed milky grey, watery, sour odoured rumen liquor with reduced pH (4.13±0.02), increased methylene blue reduction time (13.21±0.25), increased titratable acidity (79.56±0.15) and absence of protozoa. Other cattle with abdominal dysfunctions had aromatic to putrid odour, reduced protozoal concentration and iodophilic activity with normal pH. Milky grey, watery, sour odoured rumen liquor, with reduced pH, increased methylene blue reduction time, increased titratable acidity and absence of protozoa in cattle with ruminal acidosis were in concurrence with Sasikala et al., (2018d).
 
Radiography
 
Lateral survey radiograph of caudoventral thorax and reticular region in apparently healthy cows showed a clear, intact diaphragm separating the thoracic and abdominal cavity. Cattle with traumatic reticuloperitonitis showed presence of foreign body in the reticulum (Fig 3) on radiography. Aref and Abdel-Hakiem (2013) conducted radiographic study on 196 cattle with foreign body syndrome and observed sharp foreign bodies in reticulum, reticular adhesion, diaphragmatic hernia and traumatic pericarditis. Sasikala et al., (2018a) found metallic foreignbodies in cattle with traumatic reticuloperitonitis on radiography. The findings in the present study were in concurrence with the above authors. No change in silhouette of reticulum in radiography could be appreciated in cattle with reticular abscess. In the present study, no change in silhouette of reticulum in radiography could be appreciated in cattle with reticular abscess. Saini et al., (2005) and Kumar et al., (2008) opined that radiography was not considered as a reliable tool for diagnosis of reticular abscess. Athar et al., (2010) reported that radiography was not effective for diagnosis of non radio-opaque foreign bodies and functional disorders in cattle. The radiographic observations in the present study were supported by the reports of the above authors.
 

Fig 3: Radiopaque foreign body in reticulum (Arrow).


 
Ultrasonography
 
The ultrasonographic features in cows with reticular abscess included anechoic cystic structure with echogenic capsule and it was found between abdominal wall and reticulum. The content of the abscess was echogenic in some places (Fig 4). Athar et al., (2010) and Sasikala et al., (2018b) reported that the ultrasonographic characteristics of reticular abscess included an echogenic capsule surrounding hypoechogenic lumen with internal echogenic speckled appearance. Similar findings were recorded in the present study. Reticular contractions were absent in all the cattle with reticular disorders. The ultrasonographic imaging in cows with traumatic reticuloperitonitis depicted abnormal contour of reticulum surrounded by anechoic fluid with or without echogenic deposits. The ultrasonographic imaging in cows with traumatic reticuloperitonitis depicted abnormal contour of reticulum surrounded by anechoic fluid with or without echogenic deposits Braun et al., (2009) recorded fibrinous adhesions, changes in the reticular wall and indistinct reticular contour in cattle with peritonitis. Athar et al., (2010b) reported the presence of anechoic fluid without echogenic margins and floating fibrinous shreds in diffuse peritonitis. Ultrasonography features of peritonitis in cattle included reduced or absence of reticular motility, increased volume of peritoneal fluid in anterior abdomen with fibrinous adhesions between reticulum and abdominal wall (Scott, 2012).
 

Fig 4: Ultrasonography in a recumbent cow with reticular abscess. (RA-Reticular abscess; Re- Reticulum; H-Heart).


       
Ultrasonography of the cows with ileus of the small intestine was done by assessing the diameter, motility and anatomical arrangement of the small intestine. Dilated small intestine had a diameter of more than 3.5 cm. The contents of the small intestine appeared predominantly echogenic and rarely anechoic (Fig 5). In cows with ileus, ultrasonography revealed marked reduction or absence of intestinal motility. Braun (2009) reported that one to three dilated intestinal loops in the cranial abdomen were typical of duodenal ileus, the normal diameter of the duodenum was 0.9 to 5.5 cm, while in cows with duodenal ileus, diameter ranged from 6.5 to 9.9 cm. Tharwat (2011) concluded that ultrasound examination of the intestine was particularly useful in cattle suspected for ileus to decide on surgery or slaughter.         
 

Fig 5: Ultrasonography in a recumbent cow with ileus.


       
Ultrasonography of cows with intussusception showed alternating echogenic and anechoic lines appearing as bull’s eye lesion or target pattern. When viewed longitudinally, the typical lumen within lumen appearance had a ‘‘sandwich’’ configuration (Fig 6). Ultrasonography of cows with intussusception showed alternating echogenic and anechoic lines appearing as bull’s eye lesion or target pattern. When viewed longitudinally, the typical lumen within lumen appearance had a ‘‘sandwich’’ configuration. Ultrasonographic appearances of intussuscepted segment were reported as “sandwich configuration’’ on longitudinal imaging (Karapinar and Kom, 2007; Lejeune and Lorenz, 2008) and “target-like” pattern on cross-section imaging (Pravettoni et al., 2009). Ultrasonography features observed in intussusception in the present study were in accordance with above reports (Karapinar and Kom, 2007; Lejeune and Lorenz, 2008).
 

Fig 6: Ultrasonography in a recumbent cow with intussusception (target lesion).

Ultrasonography was effective in diagnosing abdominal dysfunctions in recumbent cows. It was complementary to clinical and radiographic techniques.
The authors are very thankful to the Dean, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal for the facilities provided during the study.

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