“He Who Dares Wins”

One Friday in May I was covering some calls up in the Lancs practice. After sorting out a prolapsed ewe at our Clitheroe practice, I got a call to see a heifer with a suspected fractured lower forelimb. It didn’t sound the best call to go to and we discussed euthanasia due to its size, but I really needed to see it to make a proper, informed decision. So off I went in the LLM van. My truck was off the road due to a minor argument with a 40 tonne tractor and trailer (the tractor and trailer naturally won!) I was relying on sat nav from my phone on the way. Here’s a top tip, when the phone signal disappears, so does the sat nav. I got well lost and ended up driving around for ages before I found a very patient farmer waiting for me.

He was correct; it was a closed fracture of the lower right leg before the “knee”. It was a well grown heifer at six months of age. It was touch and go whether to cast it or not. I had a discussion with the farmer over the cost (£170-£180 including all time and materials) and the downsides of casting a large heifer, for example, would it be able to get up and move around once cast was on. Fortunately, the new casting materials are lightweight. The farmer was keen to give it a go, being a good heifer. I went ahead with the help of a vet student and the farmer and cast leg under sedation. So we gave it a chance. I phoned a couple of days later and the farmer said the heifer was able to get up and down and eat and drink its pen. Good start!

So 6 weeks elapsed and the cast was removed by Claire while helping out in Lancs in May and hey presto, the fracture has healed brilliantly!

Hopefully it should go on and do OK. So the moral of the story is we always try to have a “can do attitude” at LLM when it comes to difficult cases with cost and likelihood of success in mind of course with good discussion with the farmer. This one turned out well. For every good story, there is always a bad one lurking somewhere…… I’ll perhaps keep that for next month though!

Case of the Month