Media advisory: Calf Gets Prosthetic Back Legs at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

WHAT: A yearling calf (born last spring) received two prosthetic limbs to replace her lower back legs last week. The procedure on a cow is unusual and not often performed at Colorado State University, and the replacement of two legs may be a first. The calf, Meadow, will be available for photos and doctors who oversaw her care will be available for interviews.

WHEN/ WHERE: Meet at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16 at the large animal reception area in the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, 300 W. Drake Road.

DETAILS: Meadow was noticed by her current owners who saw her shortly after her back feet and ears had been badly frostbitten. Her current owners offered to adopt her and they brought her to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital from her home in New Mexico.

Several weeks ago, Meadow underwent surgery to have her two back feet and the lower part of her legs removed because of the frostbite. Anesthetizing a ruminant (cattle, sheep, goats) is difficult because of the construction of their stomach. The stomach has four compartments, occupying 75 percent of the chest cavity. The stomach never really empties and works like a giant fermenting vat. Food material is frequently regurgitated into the mouth along with a large quantity of saliva. This cases ruminants to be at high risk for aspiration into the lungs and airway obstruction during surgery, and pneumonia as a post-surgery complication. Anesthetizing a ruminant for surgery requires special strategies and skills available at CSU. Five anesthesiologists (including students) managed her care during surgery and pain during and after surgery. In addition, her care team included expert large animal veterinarians, students and surgeons. She was fitted with prosthetic legs about a week ago and was up and walking on them within a few short hours.

Reporters interested in seeing Meadow should RSVP to Dell Rae Moellenberg at 970-491-6009 or by 5 p.m. today.