by Brian Lisik
WASHINGTON, Pa. — When Tom Leech of Longview Farm found a newborn Shorthorn bull calf in a pasture on the afternoon of March 7, he was immediately concerned with hypothermia.
He warmed the calf with an electric blanket and it started sucking on his mother right away. Then Leech saw something that worried him more than losing the calf to the cold.
“I noticed something pumping in his brisket area and figured it was an artery, or that he was still cold, or maybe something was stuck in his throat.”
But when he checked, Leech discovered the pumping in the neck was actually the calf’s heart.
“Once you grabbed it, you could tell it was his heart; you could feel it and see it moving back and forth,” Leech said.
He texted his vet and said, ‘if you’re in the area Monday, you might want to stop by.’”
Todd Moores, of Wheeling Veterinary Associates in Wheeling, West Virginia, said the condition the calf suffers from is similar to thoracic inlet syndrome in humans.
“The heart is outside its chest and in its sternum areas, where the esophagus and trachea come together,” Moores said. “But with thoracic inlet, there is less room.
“In this case, the heart has been able to prolapse into the brisket area — the area is probably four to six times bigger than it should be.”
Moores has done only an external examination of the calf, which Leech named “Cardio Brisket”, but he suspects the sternum failed to form fully, or the calf is missing ribs.
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Source: Farm and Dairy