What to expect when your cow’s expecting

By Jessica Crabtree and Dr. Jered Harlan

As a cattle producer, your ultimate goal is bred cows, successful pregnancies and deliveries with weaned calves at the end with little to no problem at each stage. That is in a perfect world. Reality is, problems can occur before pregnancy, during the pregnancy and after the pregnancy. The majority of these issues come on rapidly and require rapid treatment. Fortunately, if tended to early, little to no permanent damage on subsequent breeding occur.

Pre-calving problems range from vaginal/rectal prolapse to ketosis/pregnancy toxemia. Prolapse occurs when the tissue around the birth canal becomes relaxed as the cow begins the last third of gestation. Due to increased pressure in the abdominal cavity, the vagina or rectum will protrude. If that tissue is trapped outside the birth canal, it will swell and become infected. The bladder may also become trapped, making it impossible for the cow to urinate. This is more common in older cows or even first-calf heifers. To read more pick up the January 2016 issue of NTFR. 

Abnormal calving positions. (Courtesy photos)