‘Inside out’ calf
In dairy cattle, particularly Holstein Friesians, we occasionally see cows carrying an ‘inside out’ calf. An inside out calf, technically known as a Schistosome or schistosoma reflexum, results from a genetic abnormality, although the exact pattern of inheritance isn’t known. An ‘inside out’ calf looks a lot like it sounds, with most of the internal organs on the outside of the skeleton. These calves can often be a diagnostic challenge for both farmers and vets, as cows usually present having trouble calving and it is often not an immediate answer for the cause of this dystocia. Often 4 legs are present at the vulva but on other occasions loops of bowel or other organs may be seen. Cows with schistosome cows usually require a caesarean, although in some cases the calf can be delivered by foetotomy (cutting up the calf!).
Below are some pictures of a cow undergoing a caesarean and the delivery of an ‘inside out’ calf.