Brenham Vet Removes Extra Limb from Calf

By: Alex Lotz Email
By: Alex Lotz Email

A Washington County calf was born with five limbs. For the first time in the county, a dangerous surgery was performed to remove the extra limb from it's back.

Several cows call this Washington County pasture home. At first glance, all seem healthy, but one calf used to literally stick out. She's three weeks old, but the first few weeks of her life is one for the medical books.

"It fit in there pretty neat, but we didn't know what to do," calf owner Charles Harmel said.

She was born with an extra limb right behind the left shoulder on her vertebrae. Harmel has been raising and breeding cattle for nearly 40 years. Early March, with the help of his son, Charles delivered the calf.

"My son said, 'What is that on the back of that calf,?'" Harmel said. "We looked a little closer and it was a leg. We couldn't believe it."

The Harmels have never seen anything like this before, so they went over to Brenham to get some help.

"It was a very interesting and unusual case,"

Doctor Lee Panko is the veterinarian who removed the extra limb at Brenham Animal Hospital.

"I was worried before I did the surgery the actual limb was attached to the spine," Panko said. "Then I come to find out that after I got into surgery the limb was free floating within the tissue in that back area."

Panko said there are multiple causes to how this calf was born with an extra limb.

"The true cause for this calf developing an extra limb is a genetic defect."

A defect that's now only a few stitches on it's back.

"I'm very happy that the case turned out well," Panko said.

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