Large-animal veterinarians encounter some unusual and challenging situations in their day-to-day practice, but pulling a 1,200-pound cow out of a 30-foot-deep hole would be a memorable experience for most.
That’s what happened in California recently though, and a short video from the California Department of Food and Agriculture documents the rescue.
According to the video, the nine-year-old Brahman cow named Molly is a favorite of her owner Antoinette Nichols. Molly was trapped for three days after falling into the steep shaft before veterinarians from the University of California – Davis teamed up with the Sheriff’s department to mount a rescue.
The video features John Madigan, DVM, MS, from the UC – Davis veterinary school, who helped lead the rescue effort and post-rescue care of the cow. Madigan says he saw a picture of the cow at the bottom of the shaft and knew his team could rescue it. Madigan’s specialties listed on the UC-Davis website include emergency response, rescue procedures and equipment, along with infectious disease, neonatal medicine, clinical neurology and equine medicine.
For the rescue, team members were lowered into the shaft, where they attached a special heavy-duty harness to the animal. They then used a tow-truck mounted crane to lift the bewildered cow out of the shaft.
The incident also provided some veterinary students some first-hand experience in animal rescue. In the video, UC-Davis veterinary student Nina Akana describes the rescue process.
Once out of the hole and in a corral, Molly appeared tired but healthy. See the video from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.