About six months ago I was carrying out a routine LDA operation on a dairy cow, but it was proving hard to correct as there were several adhesions attached to the abomasum. Eventually I got it back and stitched it in place. I was just doing my last ‘general check’ of the abdomen when I felt something strange attached to the surface of the liver. It was something hard enclosed in a little capsule. I managed to push it out and to my surprise it was a piece of tyre wire. This is likely to have been the cause of the adhesions that had made correcting the DA tricky, but this cow was very lucky that it had got stopped on the liver.
This week I had a similar situation. Gareth Foden and I were doing another routine DA, but it was again proving hard to correct. I could feel all these hard ‘lumps’ attached to her stomach and it confused me. When the abomasum came around, Gareth was just trying to locate the correct bit to stitch when he pulled out a piece of wire! It became evident that these ‘lumps’ were in fact abscess scars from where the wire had punctured the abomasal wall several times causing lots of localised reactions. This cow had obviously swallowed the wire in a mouthful of food and instead of it remaining in the rumen it had continued through the digestive tract (very unusual), until it had got stopped at the narrowing of the pyloric sphincter; this is a muscular ring between the stomach and the small intestine. Again this cow had been very lucky that the reactions had been so localised.
Hopefully this is a reminder to us all that tyre wires are still a very real risk to cows if you keep tyres on your silage clamps. These two cows were very lucky and the consequences can be much more severe; either severe illness or death. A magnet is a cheap and easy way to help protect your cows or consider using different ‘weights’ on top of your clamps.