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  #1  
Old 12/05/04, 11:13 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Cow afterbirth

My cow calved yesterday morning. I found her around 8:00am. She still retained her afterbirth and still does this morning. I am new to cows and don't know what to do about it or if I need to do something about it. The cow is 5 years old, this is her 3rd calf. I was not told she had problems before, so I don't think she did. She is a Dexter, acting normal. She is eating hay and walking around and protecting her baby. She was never handled and has big horns, so I can't go up to her to mess with her unless I can get her into a portable pen. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

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  #2  
Old 12/05/04, 11:30 AM
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Most cows shed it within 30 minutes of birth, but after 12 hours, she will probably need help to get it out. Unless you have a squeeze chute & know how to do it yourself, you will need to get a veternarian to do it. He will get it out & put some medicine in the uterus to prevent infection.

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  #3  
Old 12/05/04, 11:52 AM
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Look to your feeding program to resolve this issue, retained placenta is usually the result of mineral deficiencies, quite frequently selenium.

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  #4  
Old 12/05/04, 12:53 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Northeastern Ohio
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Selenium deficiencies cause retained placentas. You'll need to get her a mineral block with it listed as an ingredient. Kelp is also a good source.

My cow had a retained placenta. Vet came out for 5 days straight on his lunch hour (can you tell we have an excellent vet?) and slowly removed it. Apparently these days vets don't like "unbuttoning" and removing the whole thing at once like you read in the old Herriot books. She also got a milk infection from the retention called metritis, which was treated with intrauterine infusions of iodine.

It needs to be taken care of quickly. An infection can leave a cow sterile. Get her in a stanchion or squeeze chute and get a vet out.

Claire

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  #5  
Old 12/05/04, 04:20 PM
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With our Dexter people they found if the end is sticking out you can tie a small weight to the placenta string and it will come away naturally in a couple of days but as I have never done it myself (so far have not had this problem) I would do as the rest are saying it is always down to what you think your cow is worth and I went to great lengths to save my Bull but didnt call in the vet as nothing he could have done anyway, but pulled him through, and it would have cost me then $90 oz before he even set foot on the property.

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  #6  
Old 12/05/04, 04:48 PM
 
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Once in a while we'll have a retained placenta. We don't do anything until about 4 days after calving. That gives it plenty of time to separate from the uterus. Then we call the vet out and he cleans her out. That is the time period our vets want to pass before they start tugging on the afterbirth. We have not experienced any problems following this procedure. We have removed a few ourselves, but only after plenty of time has passed. Removing too quickly can cause hemorrhaging.

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  #7  
Old 12/05/04, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottland Jerseys
Once in a while we'll have a retained placenta. We don't do anything until about 4 days after calving. That gives it plenty of time to separate from the uterus. Then we call the vet out and he cleans her out. That is the time period our vets want to pass before they start tugging on the afterbirth. We have not experienced any problems following this procedure. We have removed a few ourselves, but only after plenty of time has passed. Removing too quickly can cause hemorrhaging.
I couldn't remember how long we generally wait before calling out the vets, though it is sometimes a week.
We don't have many retained placentas either and if tehy occur they usually are gone in a couple of days.

We get the cows warm water adn milk them to stimulate the contractions to pass the placenta.


The problem with putting weights on the part hanging out is that when that part breaks off the placenta goes back into the uterus and can introduce tons of bacteria.
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  #8  
Old 12/05/04, 09:09 PM
 
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retained placenta

I have always given a fresh cow 5-10 gallons of warm water - more if she'll drink it. The afterbirth slipped out within 2 hours - usually sooner. It worked with my dairy cows and it works with my beef cows. Give it a try next time and see if it doesn't work for you too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dosthouhavemilk
I couldn't remember how long we generally wait before calling out the vets, though it is sometimes a week.
We don't have many retained placentas either and if tehy occur they usually are gone in a couple of days.

We get the cows warm water adn milk them to stimulate the contractions to pass the placenta.


The problem with putting weights on the part hanging out is that when that part breaks off the placenta goes back into the uterus and can introduce tons of bacteria.
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  #9  
Old 12/06/04, 12:54 AM
 
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As others have said it can take several days to come out. Personally I wait 4 to 6 days before I intervene. Admittedly my cows are very tame and on the rare occasion I have had one with retained afterbirth I'm out there sniffing her backside serveral times a day just to make sure no infection has started. I used an organic treatment, blue & black cohosh tansy & garlic about 20mls per day for 7 days (if your interested check with a herbalist). My Rosie took 11 days to drop her afterbirth and she was perfectly okay.

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  #10  
Old 12/06/04, 04:27 AM
 
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Like Valmai, I have had a cow hang on to her afterbirth for nearly two weeks before she dropped it. She was healthy in every respect and got back into calf without any trouble. I didn't intervene in any way with that one.

I did once get the vet out when after 14 days the cow still had her afterbirth, much of it hanging out, and she was starting to get a bit ponky. He pulled the rest of it out, filled her up with penecilan as a precaution and 6 weeks later she was back in calf. He told me that it wasn't unusual for cows not to get rid of their afterbirth immediately and not to worry about it unless it went over two weeks. I have no reason to disbelieve him and my cows often don't drop it until several days after birth.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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  #11  
Old 12/06/04, 09:46 AM
 
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Talking Thank you everyone!!!

Thanks so much for all your help everyone. I will let you know when I find out anything!

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  #12  
Old 12/06/04, 10:34 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: SE Washington
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Whenever we had a cow retain placenta we took an old pair of shoes and tied them on. It usually took a couple of days to work. If it didn't work in that amount of time we hauled her to the vet.

Bob

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  #13  
Old 12/06/04, 01:03 PM
 
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I'm just wondering how you know she has retained the afterbirth? Could she have passed it and eaten it? You gave the impression you just found her with a calf and were not there for the birth, so could it be somewhere in the pasture or wherever she gave birth?

Carol

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  #14  
Old 12/06/04, 05:59 PM
 
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Like Carol, I was wondering if perhaps you just didn't see it. They'll eat them and leave no trace.

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  #15  
Old 12/06/04, 11:31 PM
 
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Smile

The last two posts missed the point, the afterbirth is attached to the cow and is still hanging out, and being dragged around behind her.

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  #16  
Old 12/07/04, 05:53 PM
 
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Hanging

I looked at my original post and I guess I didn't specify. No, I did not see the birth so I could have missed the afterbirth, except that she has a thick cord hanging out and at the end is a bulbous blob filled with liquid, so I assume that is attached to the afterbirth still inside her. She still has it hanging and it doesn't seem to have changed. She is eating and acting normal so far. I called the vet, he said they never wait and no vet would say to wait. He wants to fill her with an antibiotic boulous (sp?). But I tend to think he goes the most medicine way and I like to stay as natural as possible, so I am trying to figure out what I want to do. I guess I need to make a discision soon. Thanks for your help, I appreciate it!

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  #17  
Old 12/07/04, 09:16 PM
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I would think that it should not be put off, you don't want to endanger you investement and if you aren't comfortable with you vet's method of operation, now isn't the time to second guess. Get on the phone tomorrow and call another vet or two for a second opinion but understand that she could be infected now and progressing as you think about it and if the infection advances too far, you may find yourself with a non breeder.

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  #18  
Old 12/07/04, 11:22 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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We strongly suggest you call another vet. If the vet you called needs to hear from a whole office full of vets that practice mostly on bovines that they always have their clients wait at least four days before they clean out a cow with a retained placenta, just PM me and I'll give you the number to call. The reason for not tugging and pulling too soon is that the cotyledons may still be attached and pulling too early can cause hemorrhaging. That's a fact that any vet should know.

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  #19  
Old 12/08/04, 06:16 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: northeastern South Dakota
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One of our cows retained the placenta this calving season. The vet gave us an oxytocin injection for her. This apparently stimulates contractions and can cause her to pass the afterbirth more quickly.

Our vet said not to worry unless it had been 4-5 days or if she started showing signs of infection. It took about 3 days and she finally expelled the rest of it, and didn't seem to have any difficulties with leaving it for a while.

Our vet strongly recommended waiting a while before taking any action (except for the shot) because he said most of the time it takes care of itself.

Lynn

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  #20  
Old 12/08/04, 09:53 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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You can often tell by the odor when it is time to start antibiotic treatment. The placentas get rotten a lot faster in the summer than in cool weather.

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