52Kg Plastic Waste Including Needles & Pins Surgically Removed From A Cow’s Belly In TN

We have time and again been warned about the hazards of plastic pollution. One of the several threats of using and throwing away plastic waste is that animals (be it terrestrial or aquatic) feed on the plastic bags, bottles or other waste material. This gets stuck in their digestive system and can be fatal.

In a similar horrifying case, P. Munirathanam visited the Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Chennai with his ailing cow who delivered a calf just 20 days ago. He told the vets that the cow would often kick itself in the stomach and yielded only three liters of milk daily. He also complained about the difficulty it faced in passing stool and urine to the vets, reports The Hindu.

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The cow was examined manually for rectal functions by the vets. After a few more tests, it was discovered that the cow’s digestive system was covered with plastic waste.

“We could feel the presence of plastics even during a manual rectal examination. Plastics could have accumulated in the rumen over a period of two years,” said P. Selvaraj, the Professor of Veterinary Clinical Medicine.

“We conducted an x-ray and followed it up with an ultrasound scan and found that plastics occupied 75% of the rumen, one of the four chambers of the cow’s stomach,” he added.

The surgeons at the veterinary hospital then decided to operate on the cow to remove the gathered plastic from her rumen. The surgery went on for 5 hours and 52 kgs of plastic was removed from the cow’s belly.

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“It was a long and complicated surgery. Since the wastes were attached to the walls of the rumen, we had to be very careful that we do not damage the wall,” said assistant professor of surgery A. Velavan, a vet from the team who performed the surgery said.

A few pins and needles were also found in the waste removed from the cow’s body. “In some cases, the needle could prove dangerous to the animal as it could move to the heart,” said Dr. Velavan said, reports News 18.

“After the surgery, the rumen was filled with 5 kg of bran, jaggery, and pro-biotic bolus”, he said. “Since the animal has lost its cud (which is normally sent from the stomach back to the mouth to chew), the animal is also being treated with transplanted cud to rejuvenate its gut health. We collect the juice either from a healthy animal or from a dead animal in the slaughterhouse. The treatment is needed for a minimum of five days,” said Dr. Selvaraj from the team of surgeons said.

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The incident has come as a shock to many. “It exemplifies the threat to animals posed by plastics discarded indiscriminately by the public. Even though we have removed plastics from cows in the past, the quantity this time — 52 kg — is unprecedented,” said S. Balasubramanian, Director, Clinics at TANUVAS.

Plastic ban is surely the need of the hour! Improper dumping of plastic waste has already started wreaking havoc on nature and animals. It’s high time we take plastic pollution seriously and protect animals as well as the environment.

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