Curing a calf of an abscess, definitely not for squeamish

Mrs Downs Diary

Mrs Downs Diary

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Warning, if you are reading this over the breakfast table whilst eating your cornflakes, turn to the next page. Because today we have seen a man truly happy in his job.

One who revels in the macabre. Delights in the nauseous. Glories in the grotesque. This happy fella? Our vet draining an abscess on one of our bull calves.

John had spotted the swelling on the calf’s neck last night and resolved to ring the vets this morning.

“I could just puncture it,” he said, “but I do not want to risk it getting infected. Better let a professional do the job.”

The calf was decidedly unhappy and John had not seen it at the ring feeder in the yard. When a beast goes off it’s feed, it can quickly go downhill.

Enter our hero vet wielding his scalpel. With the bull calf securely fastened in the cattle crush, he plunged the knife into the calf’s neck.

I noted the mix of ghoulish glee tempered with consummate professionalism. Now, I hope no-one is squeamish because the next bit could turn your tummy over; the vet even warned me to turn away if I was liable to feel queasy.

A stream of viscous creamy yellow liquid shot out of the incision. Straight over John’s wellies. The beast let out a low bellow. Of relief I hoped.

John had already been asked to prepare a couple of pints of antiseptic to disinfect the wound. With a massive syringe, the vet drew the medication out of the jug to flush the gunge out of the abscess.

A psychedelic mix of yellow and red pus and blood now pumped out at full pressure.. The stream seemed never ending but the bull had ceased to make a sound. A look of profound peace came over it’s face. Even deeper satisfaction for the vet. I just hoped it signified that the throbbing pain of the abscess was disappearing for the beast, it must have hurt.

With the task completed the bull calf was released back into the yard, none the worse for his experience. The vet removed his protective gloves and followed us out advising on a follow up course of antibiotics for the calf.

I went off to check on a clutch of chicks hatched out yesterday under a broody hen and needed to ask John about the whereabouts of any drinkers for their pen.

The vet overheard. “Any spare chicks?” he enquired. “Lots,” I answered “We’ve broodies sitting all over the place.” It transpired all of this vets poultry had been cleaned out by a very cunning fox that had infiltrated the chicken run and slaughtered everyone of his children’s hens.

“Our dog heard the rumpus and had a go at the fox whilst it was still in the run,” he said, “but all it got was a badly bitten leg for it’s pains. And the fox got away the same way it had got in. Over the fence.”

So once he has sorted out the security system for the chickens he will be back. Satisfaction all round.