Withers Pinch Test
Many gastrointestinal diseases cause abdominal pain in the cow. Cows with GI pain
often stand hunched up with their elbows abducted. The withers can be pinched as
shown in the above picture (sometimes it requires two hands). A normal cow will
dorsiflex her back when her withers are pinched
as seen above. A cow who is painful will not dorsiflex. False negatives are
common. Common reasons for abdominal pain are hardware, abomasal ulcers,
or distention of the small intestine with gas.
Either by using your fists pushed up with your knee or by
using a board with one person on each side lifting the board up, apply pressure to the
xyphoid region. If the cow
grunts, kicks, or acts uncomfortable, you can assume she is
painful. Often, you have to listen over the trachea to hear a grunt.