John Madigan, DVM, of the University of California, Davis, developed the Madigan squeeze technique to help foals suffering from neonatal maladjustment syndrome (often referred to as ‘dummy’ foal syndrome) to recover.
We highlighted this technique last year, after Cavan-based vet, Gerard McGovern, performed the procedure on a non-sucking calf.
He explained that many of these calves are “bright and lively but just won’t suck the cow’s teat”.
“By mimicking the birthing process – by squeezing on the foal/calf’s thorax for approximately 30 minutes with a soft rope – the brain is rebooted and with some luck, the calf/foal will be up sucking after the procedure,” McGovern outlined.
Henry Braun has taken to social media to explained how the procedure delivered a remarkable result on his Canadian-based farm.
A calf was born backwards during the weekend and was “limp like a rag doll” for the first 24 hours.
“I did what I had to do to keep it alive for the first 24 and called the vet. I explained the calf was limp as a rag doll and wouldn’t suck — wouldn’t even try to get up. The vet said it sounded like ‘dummy calf syndrome’. I had never heard of it.” he explained in a post on social media.
Jarod from AbbyVetClinic introduced the farmer to the Madigan Squeeze, which “literally saved this calf’s life”.
Braun performed the procedure three-times every 6 hours and on Monday morning, the calf stood up for the first time in 48 hours. “I milked the cow and the calf sucked from a bottle for the first time.” the farmer added.
He explained in the social media post that researchers suspect that the pressure applied by the rope (the Madigan Squeeze) triggers biochemical changes in the central nervous system that are critical for transitioning the calf from a sleep-like state in the womb to wakefulness at birth.
Image source: Heny Braun Facebook