BACKGROUND: The treatment of traumatic reticuloperitonitis (TRP) in cattle has a long and impressive history that goes back more than 100 years. This study describes treatment for TRP in 503 cattle. Initial treatment was based on radiographic findings; cattle with a foreign body attached to a magnet were treated conservatively using antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and intravenous fluids. Cattle with a foreign body lying on the ventral aspect of the reticulum or penetrating or perforating the reticulum received a magnet in addition to medical treatment. Cattle were radiographed again the next day. When the foreign body was completely attached to the magnet, medical treatment was continued. When the foreign body was not attached or still penetrated/perforated the reticulum, a rumenotomy was carried out.
RESULTS: Of the 503 cattle, 232 were treated conservatively, 206 underwent surgery, 61 were slaughtered or euthanased and four were treated after discharge at home with a magnet and antibiotics. Surgical treatment was significantly more successful than conservative treatment; 90% of 206 operated and 82% of 232 medically-treated cattle were discharged.
CONCLUSIONS: For practical purposes, cattle suspected of having traumatic reticuloperitonitis should initially be treated with a magnet and antibiotics and re-evaluated, ideally radiographically, when response to treatment does not occur within 3 or 4 days. Surgery is limited to cases in which the foreign body fails to completely attach to the magnet.