Umbilical swellings are commonly identified in calves and can be caused by hernia formation, infection of the remnants of umbilical vessels or a combination of both. Ninety-one cases with umbilical swellings were admitted to the Leahurst Farm Animal Practice (LFAP) between July 2004 and February 2012; 55 were simple hernias and 36 had associated infection. Eighty-seven cases underwent surgery of which 86 survived until discharge. Postoperative complications occurred in 65/86 animals (73 per cent). In 51 cases (81 per cent) this was classified as minor requiring no additional treatment. Placement of a prosthetic mesh was associated with a higher OR for developing severe postoperative complication when compared with those not receiving a mesh (OR=19.3; 95% CI 4.5 to 83.5). Long-term survival results were available for 49 animals, 22 of which were remaining in the herd with a median age of 1346 days (3.7 years). Of the 27 animals which had exited the herd, 16 were adult dairy cows, 7 were dairy heifers, 2 were beef animals and 2 exited at an unknown stage. Umbilical surgery in calves carries a good prognosis, although placement of a mesh increases the risk of complications occurring in the postoperative period.
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