80 (5) pp 367-371

History of veterinary obstetrics

Paper in Dutch. Extraction, reposition, fetotomy (embryotomy) and even cesarean section have been part of human and animalobstetrics since ancient times. Destructive operations like craniotomy and embryotomy are the oldest type of obstetricaloperations.At the end of the 18th century the subcutaneous fetotomy was developed. It remained the preferred fetotomy methodin farm animals and horses till the beginning of the 20th century. Then the tubular fetotome was invented and thesubcutaneous fetotomy was replaced by the percutaneous fetotomy. This obstetrical method was easy to learn and itsresults were excellent. However, the fetus had to be sacrificed. Therefore, after the introduction of antibiotics, thepercutaneous fetotomy in cows was replaced by the cesarean section. In horses, the percutaneous fetotomy is still thepreferred obstetrical method as foals die rapidly and a partial fetotomy (one or two cuts) is in the majority of casessufficient to solve the obstetrical problem. Because of its minimal economic importance, obstetrics in small animals didnot receive any attention till the end of the 19th century. In these animal species, cesarean section is the best solution incases of serious obstetrical problems.

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Veterinary past