The most effective method we have found (shown to us by a vet) is to actually cut the skin in the throat area, expose the vein and insert the catheter straight from there. Yes, vet's can do it through the skin but remember, our nearest vet is 320 kms away. I've been shown how as well, but never done it successfully. We've also had experienced nurses try, unsuccessfully. It's really hard, especially when they are so sick already. This works. And it worked this time as well, as we got the IV in and hooked him up. Even so, no one was betting any money on his chances, but you always have to try!
Not looking good. But, optimistically, we have him strapped down.
Keeping a close eye on the patient in the basement, we continued on our day. (He was not improving quickly.) It's been relatively slow in the calving department, but steady enough to keep us busy. We had brought a first calf heifer in, earlier in the day, and by afternoon decided we better check her out as she didn't seem to be gaining any ground.
A reasonably big calf and a way too small opening for it to come through, meant a trip back to the house to gather everything for a cesarean.
(At that point I was cautiously optimistic that our IV patient might be improving.)
Now his breathing has stabilized and he is looking around. And no, his straps are not tight, although it looks that way in the photo.
We gathered hot water, disinfectants and surgery tools, and back to the barn. We've been told, and learned over time, that making an early decision for a cesarean is absolutely best. If you wait too long, or try for too long to pull the calf, the chances get slimmer and slimmer that you will have a healthy momma and baby after the surgery.
We were successful! A healthy bull calf came out the side door while momma quietly and patiently waited. Hurray!! I sewed her up (takes me forever...), and so far everything looks perfectly positive.
And, back in the basement, our patient on the IV drip was looking around with bright eyes, testing the straps holding him down and wondering how the heck he got there! So awesome, honestly. I don't care how tough you pretend to be, to be able bring a calf back from 'the dead', which he surely was, is pretty darn cool. We bottle fed him some electrolytes, took him off the IV eventually and then continued with the electrolytes at every check all night. By morning he was up and able, and trying to buck around in the barn.....looking for his momma for some real milk.
A good day at the Six Mile vet clinic.