MANHATTAN, KAN. -- An 8-year-old Jersey dairy cow is back at her Kansas farm thanks to a decade of research and an experimental surgery performed at Kansas State University's Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
The cow, named Wilhelmina Jolene by the veterinary students assigned to her case, sustained a breeding injury in December 2007 when the cruciate ligament in her right knee ruptured. Dr. David Anderson, professor and head of agricultural practices at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine, replaced the ligament using synthetic material called monofilament nylon. The procedure's success could have enormous implications for breeding quality cows and bulls with the same injury.
Fortunately, Wilhelmina's owner recognized the value of saving her. Mike Frey is the son of Dr. Russ Frey, a prominent professor at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine. "She's owned by the son of an important faculty member in our college's history," Anderson said. "It's wonderful that there is a connection to Dr. Frey with this case and that Mike understands the teaching value."
Mike Frey said he was happy to be part of an effort that could help animals, producers and students.
"I was always under the assumption that an animal with this problem was going to be heading down the road," he said. "If they could perfect this so that a cow could be kept in production, that would be worth quite a bit."
The cruciate ligament is a dense tissue that connects the bones in the knee joint. Injuring it can be career-ending and often life-ending - until now, Anderson said.
The three surgical techniques for cruciate ligaments in large animals have a failure rate of approximately 50 percent, Anderson said. This fact caused him and surgery colleagues Drs. Guy St-Jean and Andre Desrochers to investigate alternatives in the 1990s. That's when the team designed a cruciate ligament using braided polyester; however, the material was not
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Kansas State University