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The Moo News

Newsletter of Penn Dutch Cow Care                                                  March 2002

Hi Folks,

I had a request from a farmer that I print out the reproductive “Cow Clock” which I showed at the meeting at Miller’s in January. It is on the backside of this sheet. It is self-explanatory and is a simplified version of the actual cycle of a bovine, but I will give some notes.  Anatomically, the female reproductive tract begins with the ovaries, of which there are two (left and right). These are connected to the uterus by way of the oviduct. The uterus also has a right and left side (better known as “horns” due to their shape). Then there is the main body of the uterus that is sealed off from the outside world by the cervix. Only when in heat or when giving birth should the cervix allow the uterus and the outer world to be in direct connection. The birth canal, or vagina, is on the opposite side of the cervix from the uterus and then there is the vulva that can be seen visibly from the back of the cow. The cow’s urethra enters the floor of the vagina to allow the cow to urinate. When everything is normal, there should be no discharge seen from the vulva. Discharges other than this should catch your attention – by careful inspection of the tail itself, very thin and slight dried ”glazed” lines can be seen if there has been discharge. A clear discharge will alert you to the cow being possibly in heat. Cloudy discharges are a little easier to see on the tail. Any blood-tinged should catch your attention and you should take notice of this. If a cow has been confirmed pregnant, a bloody discharge should be investigated as this means the cow is (1) about to abort, (2) has aborted, or (3) the calf has died and needs to be extracted. Do not delay in getting this checked out! A normal pregnant cow can have a straw or amber colored discharge.

As for the reproductive cycle itself, realize that there will be a dominant follicle at the time of estrus (heat). But also remember that there are other small follicles that can present themselves within the 21 day cycle and that any one of those small follicles can give “tone” to the uterus, faking out a vet as to predicting when a cow will actually come in heat. The presence or the CL (corpus luteum) suppresses these small follicles, until the CL itself regresses around day 17 or is eliminated. Cysts will stop the clock and either need to be ruptured or eliminated. Cows that are skinny do not cycle in general. There are no treatments except to get more condition on the cow.

For Bovinity Health, information on functional alternatives to antibiotics see:

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