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Prolapses in Beef Cows 

Prolapses occur occasionally in beef cows. Most prolapses occur very near the time of calving. Two distinct kinds of prolapse exist, Vaginal prolapse and Uterine prolapse. 

Vaginal prolapses are those that occur in very late gestation. Vaginal prolapse is as the name implies, a protruding of the vaginal through the vulva and exposed to sun, wind, and infectious pathogens. Vaginal prolapses are very repeatable. In other words, if the vaginal prolapse is repaired, the cow calves and rebreeds, then she is very likely to prolapse again next year. This type of prolapse is known to have a genetic component, which means that daughters of cows that have this problem will have an increased likelihood of suffering a vaginal prolapse themselves. Therefore, when a cow is found with this malady, she should be marked for culling and daughters should not be kept as replacements. Certainly bull calves from this cow could also pass the genetic characteristics on to his offspring and proliferate the problem within a herd. 

Uterine prolapses occur at or shortly after calving. Many times they occur with a difficult birth. The uterus is literally pulled through the birth canal with the calf or the afterbirth and again exposed to the weather elements, potential injury, and certainly infectious agents. Uterine prolapses, when repaired by proper veterinary attention, can have a very successful result. Cows with properly cared for uterine prolapses are no more likely than others to have a prolapse next year. Because of the trauma, possible infection, and recovery time, cows with a uterine prolapse may take longer to re-conceive for the next year's calf. This often means that these cows will be late-bred or non-pregnant at weaning time when pregnancy checks are made. This may be a viable reason for culling these cows, but keeping pregnant cows that have experienced a uterine prolapse is not a bad risk. 

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Ben Chase Extension Agent Agriculture Livestock 

Ben Chase Rockingham County Extension Agent 
Agriculture & Livestock North Carolina State University 
North Carolina Cooperative Extension 
Physical address: 525 NC 65, Suite 200, Reidsville, NC 27320 

Mailing address: PO Box 200, Wentworth, NC 27375-0200 
(336) 342-8235 Fax: 336-342-8242 Email :         

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