“If you get some down time between silage cuts, inspect machinery that handles cow’s feed.”
That warning from a veterinary practitioner comes following the removal of what appears to be a blade from a mixer wagon from a cow’s stomach.
Finbarr O’Sullivan Greene of FarmGate Veterinary in the UK operated on a cow and retrieved a metal shard from her rumen.
The object was the centre of a ‘guess the object’ post on the practice’s Facebook page last month.
One suggested that it could be a piece of rubber from a tennis ball, while another believed that it was possibly part of a worn-out knife from a mixer wagon.
In the practice’s July 2022 newsletter – which it shared on social media in recent days – a spokesperson explained:
“Finbarr operated on one of our client’s cows and removed his metal shard from her rumen.”
“The cow was one of three cows that presented with symptoms consistent with hardware disease, where metal penetrates through a rumen into other organs.”
“This was a bit of a mystery as tyres were not used on the silage clamp. So, it was a puzzle as to where the wire had come from.”
“From the photo, it was obvious this metal object is not a wire and more likely a blade of a mixer wagon.”
“Worn blades are a significant risk. This cow was lucky as the farmer picked it up early.”
“However, this is not always the case, as hardware disease is always painful and other fatal.”
“Magnets could be installed on augers to reduce the risk. However, at a minimum, regular maintenance could help spot problems before they occur,” the spokesperson concluded.
About the veterinary practice:
FarmGate Veterinary Group has a specialised 12-strong large animal vet team.
They are “dedicated” to providing “first-rate” professional service to the farmers of South Cumbria and North Lancashire.
Meanwhile, it has a dedicated small animal team of five vets along with supporting veterinary nurses.