Gerard McGovern encountered a calf with severe limb and skeletal deformities (arthrogryposis and scoliosis) along with other complications in recent days.
Taking to his popular Instagram account to share further details, the vet outlined that the heifer calf was born twin to a bull, meaning she was a freemartin.
She had additional abnormalities to her external and internal genital tracts, according to McGovern who has been practising in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan for over forty years.
The bull calf’s front legs were twisted; he also died.
“A typical spring case”
Responding to a question submitted by one of his followers, Gerard said: “Yes, a typical spring case – Schmallenberg virus is a strong possibility.”
“In general, I am hearing of a lot of strange calves and lambs this year. Yesterday (March 29th), I had what seemed a straightforward c-section for a big calf, only to discover an abdomen full of adhesions.”
When asked about severe deformities in livestock, the vet said: “[They are] not very common – maybe 1 in 500 but when there is a deformity, it generally means a difficult delivery and veterinary assistance is sought.”
McGovern shares the “adventures of a large animal vet” on his Instagram which has in excess of 24,000 followers.
He graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) in 1977 with a degree in Veterinary Medicine.Gerard runs a mixed practice – approximately 75% large animal and 25% small animal; his father – Gregory – started the practice in 1949.
Image source: Gerard McGovern \ Instagram