Remember Lilli, the six-legged cow from Switzerland, which went under the knife to remove her extra limbs. Veterinarians in Kashmir recently came across a similar case where a four-month-old male calf, born with six legs was successfully operated in the village of Langate, some 70 kilometers from the capital of Srinagar.
Dr. Zubar Ahmed War who works as an Assistant Veterinary Surgeon in the Animal Husbandry Department, Kupwara, performed a successful surgery on the animal at its owner Ghulam Muhi Ud Din Ganie’s house. And with the lack of specialised facilities like an operation theater, X-Ray, and anesthesia, it was not some cakewalk.
A week back, Ganie approached Dr. War with a complaint that his calf was suffering from a physical deformity which has left the poor animal almost immobile.
But given the heavy snowfall in the valley which has snapped most of the road links in the region, Ganie couldn’t ferry the calf to the veterinary clinic. Moreover, he pleaded to the vet that he couldn’t afford any specialized treatment for his calf.
Given this uniqueness of the case, Dr. War instantly volunteered to see the calf. A team led by Dr. War rushed to Ganie’s house. “The calf had six legs, with two abnormal legs fused into one. We needed a radiograph (X-Ray) to know the insertion of the abnormal limb but unfortunately, we lack such facilities in Kashmir,” Dr. War informed InUth.
After a few days, he decided to operate upon the calf on January 21. “The surgery needed a general anesthesia. But it was unthinkable owing to the lack of facilities. Finally, I had to depend on sedation through injection of local anesthesia,” he added.
But when surgery was underway another challenge arose. “Thinking that the limb was superficially attached, as I had incised, I was surprised to see it deeply attached to the shoulder joint. There was intense bleeding and at that point, I thought I had committed a grave mistake in operating the poor animal.”
He completed the procedure quickly to avoid excessive bleeding and after removing the extra limbs closed the wound in a routine manner.
“The calf was administered, multiple painkillers and antibiotics. He is successfully standing on its legs and even trying to run. It will take around a fortnight for him to fully recover,” Dr. War concluded.