Dystocia due to rare foetal monster in a buffalo

Case history:

Dystocia due to rare foetal monster in a BUFFALO, A buffalo in its 3rd lactation was presented with a history of prolonged labour stage with forceful abdominal contraction.


Upon examination we see there is a presence of abnormal foetus in anterior presentation.Both forelimbs flexed at knee joint resulting in blockage of birth canal.


  • Monstrosity is a disturbance of development that involves various organs and systems which cause great distortion of an individual.
  • These are developmental abnormalities of ovum, embryo and foetus.
  • Occur in all species of domestic animals


  • Congenital
  • Due to abnormal duplication or disruption of inner cell mass in a embryo with partial duplication of various structures.
  • Mostly duplication is of cranial portion.
  • Less common in caudal portion.
  • Viral infections
  • Intra uterine exposure to poisons ingested by dam
  • Vitamin deficiency (Vitamin A and folic acid)
  • Hyperthermia
  • Gene mutation


On Per vaginal examination Foetus present in anterior presentationBoth forelimbs flexed at knee joint resulting in blockage of birth canal.Abnormal monster head also felt similar to dicephalic. on Ultrasonography ( single heart beat felt). Hence, we diagnosed it as a dicephalic foetus (two head, two neck, one trunk region). Types of dicephalic monster

  • Atlodymus (two complete and separate skull and one neck)
  • iniodymus (two skulls with fusion at the occipital level),
  • derodymus (two complete and separate skulls with two separate necks.

Differential diagnosis:

  • Twins
  • Diprospus ( in Diprospus two faces and two clefts and single head is present)
  • Dipygus ( Duplication of trunk or limbs )
  • Siamese twins( attachment of fetus at the level of sternum )
  • Pygodidymus ( Two calves joined at the level of rump in opposite direction )


  • Incidence of these is about 33.2 % including Diprosopus , Dicephalus , Dipygus , Siamese Twins , Pygodidymus.
  • Incidence among all calves seems to range from 0.2 to 3.0 percent with 40 to 50 percent born dead and only a small fraction of reported defects not being externally visible.


  • Give epidural anaesthesia (2% lignocaine hydrochloride)
  • Lubrication of hand with liquid paraffin.
  • Then enter it into birth canal.
  • Gentelly repel the foetus towards uterus.
  • Flexed limbs were extended carefully using cup shaped hand.
  • Foetus delivered with judicious traction.
  • Foetus died after two days.
  • Supportive therapy of dam for 5 days.
  • Antibiotic
  • Anti inflammatory drug.
  • Fluid therapy.
  • Uterine lavage with antiseptics.

Other possible treatments are fetotmy and C-section.

Delivered foetus:

  • One foetal head was developed with absence of one eye
  • Other head has no distinct differentiation of facial structures with absence of eyes, ears, nose and mouth parts.
  • Hence, foetus resembled dicephalic monster.

Source  Buffalo Bulletin (October-December 2016) Vol.35 No.4

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