Tools of the trade: Magrath cattle stomach pump

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cattle stomach pump

by Dr Anthony Bennett, Berry Veterinary Clinic, NSW

The revolutionary thing about this pump is it facilitates giving ruminants large volumes of oral fluids. Prior to the invention of this pump, we were not able to do so.

What’s good about it

The classic method was to fill a wine bottle with whatever liquid was required and put it down the cow’s throat. Invariably, a third went down her throat, a third went into her lungs and a third went on your face. 

This pump has a metal tube that goes down the throat and can be clipped onto the nose so the cow can’t spit it out. It’s very safe to use and almost impossible for it to go down the wrong way. The pump is attached to the tube and you can dose the cow in a very short period of time. Twenty litres of liquid might take a minute to administer. The only other way to re-hydrate cattle is with IV fluids—a very unpopular method with cattle owners as they consider it too expensive.

This pump can also be used to help cattle suffering from bloating. Once the tube is in place, the gas is dispelled and medication can be administered directly to the stomach via
the pump. 

We’ve found these pumps to be so useful that we have six of them in our practice. Each vet carries one in their car.

What’s not so good

The only downside is that it can be dangerous to get the tube into the cow. You have to take care when applying the neck restraint, crush and the halter. You also need to be careful that the tube doesn’t go into the cow’s windpipe. If that happens, it’s certainly possible to drown the animal though I’ve never seen or heard of anyone doing that.

Where did you get it

Comfort Hoof Care Australia

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