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Ultrasonographic assessment of change in abomasal position during the last three months of gestation and first three months of lactation in Holstein-Friesian cows

Thomas WittekDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
Present address is Medizinische Tierklinik der Universität Leipzig, An den Tierkliniken 11, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.

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 Dr vet med
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Peter D. ConstableDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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Dawn E. MorinDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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 DVM, MS, DACVIM

Abstract

Objective—To determine changes in abomasal position and dimensions during the last 3 months of gestation and first 3 months of lactation via transabdominal ultrasonography and determine whether surgical correction of left-displaced abomasum (LDA) by right flank omentopexy alters abomasal position within the abdomen in Holstein-Friesian cows.

Design—Observational study.

Animals—20 heifers and 20 cows with no history of an LDA and 7 cows that had been treated for LDA via right flank omentopexy during an earlier lactation.

Procedure—Ultrasonographic measurements were obtained 8 times during the last 3 months of gestation and first 3 months of lactation. Abomasal length, width, and volume were calculated from these measurements.

Results—The abomasum was always wider than it was long and located predominantly to the right of the midline. The presence of a right flank omentopexy had no effect on the measured parameters. Abomasal length decreased and width increased during the last 3 months of gestation, resulting in a more transverse orientation of the abomasum within the abdomen. These changes appeared to be in response to cranial expansion of the gravid uterus. The abomasum returned to a more caudal and right sagittal position within 14 days after parturition.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Abomasal dimensions, position, and volume change markedly during the last 3 months of gestation and first 3 months of lactation. Results permit detection of abnormal abomasal position in ill cows and indicate that the preferred location for abomasopexy is 20 cm caudal to the xiphoid process and 5 to 10 cm to the right of the ventral midline. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1469–1475)

Abstract

Objective—To determine changes in abomasal position and dimensions during the last 3 months of gestation and first 3 months of lactation via transabdominal ultrasonography and determine whether surgical correction of left-displaced abomasum (LDA) by right flank omentopexy alters abomasal position within the abdomen in Holstein-Friesian cows.

Design—Observational study.

Animals—20 heifers and 20 cows with no history of an LDA and 7 cows that had been treated for LDA via right flank omentopexy during an earlier lactation.

Procedure—Ultrasonographic measurements were obtained 8 times during the last 3 months of gestation and first 3 months of lactation. Abomasal length, width, and volume were calculated from these measurements.

Results—The abomasum was always wider than it was long and located predominantly to the right of the midline. The presence of a right flank omentopexy had no effect on the measured parameters. Abomasal length decreased and width increased during the last 3 months of gestation, resulting in a more transverse orientation of the abomasum within the abdomen. These changes appeared to be in response to cranial expansion of the gravid uterus. The abomasum returned to a more caudal and right sagittal position within 14 days after parturition.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Abomasal dimensions, position, and volume change markedly during the last 3 months of gestation and first 3 months of lactation. Results permit detection of abnormal abomasal position in ill cows and indicate that the preferred location for abomasopexy is 20 cm caudal to the xiphoid process and 5 to 10 cm to the right of the ventral midline. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1469–1475)