Gun shot injury in a cow

A cow presented with a gun shot injury inside the deep jungle. Ice packs were applied at the inflamed areas and strong anti inflammatory drugs were administered at high dozes, but no improvement was noticed. Cow went into comma through reversible shock. Immediately, tracheal window(tracheotomy) was made to aid in respiration that resulted in that’s quick regain of sense and that stood up for one and half hours. Cow succumbed before arrival of the intensive fluid therapy.

Animal- Jersey cross cow. adult age.

Place ant time- village Tepra, p.o. Namhol, district Bilaspur, state Himachal pradesh, India. 26/02/2008

History- Sound of two gun shots with smoke and cow rushing from jungle to that’s shed located nearby. That was bleeding at cheeks profusely.

Signs- One hole on left side of cheek below ear having about 1.5 cm diameter. Second hole on right side at same level having 3 cm diameter. One very small hole on left side of neck that was shallow. Blood was not coming out through holes at that time. Face and neck were very large and swollen. Snoring and very fast respiration @ 50-60 was there. Cow was standing.

Diagnosis- Laryngeal compression due to ongoing oedematous swelling causing difficulty in respiration. Also body fluid depletion through shock and excessive hemorrhages.

Treatment- Continuous bathing of inflamed area with ice cold water, injection Meloxicam @30 ml i/m at two sites, injection streptopenicillin @2.5 g i/m. There was no effect of treatment. Animal started aimless wandering into obstacles due to cerebral hypoxia. Then cow fell down with tongue protruding out and became unconscious. Tracheal(trachea/windpipe) small incision was given to make a ball pen size window in that for by pass respiration along with rapid pressing and releasing of chest(resurrection). The air flow started through the window vigorously/noice fully and the cow drawn back that’s tongue into that’s mouth. Cow rose up to sitting position from being laterally recumbent earlier. Cow became conscious again. Tracheal incision was perfect and no hemorrhages except for a little from overlying muscles for few minutes was noticed. May be this was due to low blood pressure. cow remained alert for next one and half hours. Then stood up and started aimless wandering. She also started kitting (kit-kit sound) of teeth. After 15 minutes, cow fell down and died soon before arrival of the intensive fluid therapy in that remote area. Total course of disease in our presence was about 2.5 to 3 hours. Local police was informed by the owner. On request of police, postmortem of cow was performed.

Cause of death- Traumatic/hypovolumic/hemorrhagic shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome(ARDS) due to systemic inflammatory responce syndrome(SIRS).

Legal guidelines- The jacket of bullet should be preserved as it provides the vital clues about the type of gun/rifle used. Since the exit hole was wider than the entrance hole, so that appeared as if an expanding type(lead) of bullet because lead(in anterior part of jacket, naked) being soft expands due to impact of soft tissues. Other bullet types are fragmenting types which become fragmented to many pieces after penetration thus increasing the tissue injury. Any type of bullet can disintegrate at light contact with the skin so making many holes. Lead type of bullet has lead inside the jacket(made up of copper) and some part of it is naked at anterior part of the jacket so that it can expand to cause maximum tissue injury. Copper jacket is specific for the specific barrels/rifles so that should be preserved. Other fragments/pieces of the bullet are also to be preserved to be presented in the court of law.