Pregnancy in cattle

Care of pregnant cattle

  • Pregnancy diagnosis should be made within 90 days after service
  • Gestation period in cattle in 9 months whereas in buffaloes it is 10 months
  • During the last 2 months of gestation the animal should be dried off. During this period it should be fed 1-11/2 kg grains in addition to its maintenance ration

  • A daily weight gain of 0.5 kg during the dry period seems optional for better milk production in ensuring lactation
  • The cow should not be frightened. It should not be taken for long distance walk.

Care of cow at calving

  • All the cow approaches parturition, it should be housed in a clean shed covered with paddy straw on the floor. A period of 10-12 hr may elapse from the commencement of restlessness until the calf is born. If some trouble is suspected it is better for the unskilled farmer to seek veterinary assistance.
  • The placenta is discharged within 8-12 hrs after calving. If it is delayed by 24 hrs then consult the nearest veterinarian.
  • Supply luke warm drinking water. Then feed the animal with bran, concentrate mix with salt and minerals.
  • Prevent the cow from eating after birth

Manageental measures of pregnant cattle

  • Pregnancy diagnosis should be made within 60-90 days after service
  • Give calcium injections one week prior to calving in order to prevent milk fever
  • Antibiotics should be infused into the udder 15 days prior to calving in order to prevent mastitis.
  • Transfer the cows to clean sheds prior to calving
  • During the last 2 months of gestation the animal should be dried off and it should be fed 1 kg of concentrate in addition to its maintenance rations.
  • It should be dewormed during 3rd – 6th month of gestation.


Metoestrus Bleeding (post Oestrus Bleeding)

  • Mucus discharge with blood or clots of blood observed the next day to 5 days after the day of insemination or natural service.
  • Seen in well-fed cows and heifers and not in buffalo cows or buffalo heifers.
  • This condition is due to sudden withdrawal of oestrogens in circulation and is considered to be physiological.


  • Inject on the day of noticing metoestrus bleeding 1 ml. of Lutonestry (Russel co) or Duogynon 1 ml (Schering) or Duogynon Forte 1 ml (Schering) or E.P. Forte 1 ml (Unichem) intramuscularly.
  • Advice to reduce the quantity of concentrates especially starch and fat but increase protein by feeding deoiled groundnut cake. Give exercise 1 to 2 kilometers per day.
  • No metoestrus bleeding will be seen after this treatment. After the treatment, if udder gets enlarged in heifers do not inject any hormones subsequently; such animals if milked will give milk slowly after 6 weeks.



  • The discharge thrown by the animal in heat or 1 to 4 days after insemination is not clear.
  • It may be watery with while flakes like curdled milk or thick pus like or a mixture of both. Do rectal examination and record the following
  • Cervix is normal in size or enlarged. If cervix is enlarged it may be a case of cervicitis. By vaginal examination with a speculum the cervical annular folds or ridges will be seen protruding out of the external os.
  • In Sindhi and Krishnavally and their cross breeds, the cervix will be large and one may get confused for a case of cervicitis.
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics are indicated and the response is good when the ovary or ovaries are round soft and smooth preferably with follicles.


Both Cervix and uterus have enlarged

  • Use 10 to 15 ml of Metrogyl IV (Iflunik) and 10 ml I/u diluted or undiluted in all infected cases. Use 10 to 15 ml of broad-spectrum antibiotics and add to it 10 to 75 ml of distilled water and inject intrauterine (into both horns) with an A.L.Catheter.
  • The response is good when the ovaries are soft round and smooth or when follicles are present. The medicine has to be filled into both uterine horns for 3 to 5 days.


  • As long as the ovaries are flat and non-functional the use of antibiotics, antiseptics or Lugol’s Iodine will not help.
  • So give the animals better nutrition (1/2 to 1 kg of concentrates extra per day along with extra mineral mixture and salt lick blocks.


Animal is in Oestrum

  • If proper records are maintained can be observe animals coming into heat as follows:
  • Animal had come in heat 21 days back (regular cycle or repeat breeder)
  • Animal had come in heat on 10-11 days back (mid cycle heat)
  • Animal had come in heat on 7-8 days back (Acute endometritis)
  • Animal had come in heat on 13-17 days back (endometritis)
  • Animal had come in heat after AI/after Natural service 24 t0 37 days after AI/Natural service (Early embryonic death)
  • Animal had come in heat on 4 to 8 days interval and is in heat for 2-3 days continuously (Cystic ovaries)
  • Animal had come in heat on 42-45 days back (Missed heat or silent heat)
  • Animal had come in heat on 2 days back and in heat again (Split heat)
  • Animal was inseminated and declared pregnant and is in heat how (may be gestational heat or heat noticed after un-noticed abortion or foetal resorption)
  • Animal has calved 10 to 27 days back and has come in heat (Post partum heat)
  • Animal has aborted 30 to 45 days back and has come in heat (Post abortion heat)


Animal has come in heat

  • As cattle in oestrum exhibit mounting on some other female cattle in heat, some times the owner produces the animal not in heat for insemination.
  • Animal in heat mounts as well as stands still to be ridden, but an animal not in heat mounts but will not stand still to be ridden.
  • Animal showing both the signs will have congested or pink, moist, shining vulval lips the under surface of the tail pasted with mucus discharge. Some times the discharge may be seen flowing out of the vulval lips when the animal mounts.
  • Rectal exam shows uterus highly tonic. Opposite of this is seen in the animal not in heat.
  • Opposite of this is seen in the animal not in heat. Animals in heat urinates repeatedly a small quantity of a urine and swings its tail too many times in early heat only mounts, in mid heat do not mount, but accepts mounting and in late neither accepts nor mounts.


Animal showing frequent Oestrum(Cysiic Ovaries)

  • Animals come in heat once in 3 to 4 days or once in 8 days in any case they will have long period of oestrum. Such cases should be suspected for cystic ovaries.
  • The uterus will be soft an Atonic. In long standing cases the sacro-sciatic ligaments are relaxed and during rectal examination when fingers of palm are pressed against the ligament from below the relaxation is well appreciated.
  • (Base of tail is raised and depressions are notice on either side of tail at the level of sacrosciatic ligament – sterility hump).

.The Cyst or cysts may be 3 types

    1. Follicular cyst may be single or multiple in number
    2. Luteal cyst may be one or few
    3. Lutenized cyst or cystic corpus luteum


Animal not coming to heat

  • First look at the size of the animal. Breeding is possible when they have reached a certain body weight to the given breed. Then look into the general body condition.
  • If poor, Anoestrum is more common. Third look for chronic severe external or internal parasitism, which is also a cause.
  • Examine blood for blood parasites confirm any chronic wasting diseases by which the animals are suffering.
  • Enquire whether the heifer presented for examination was born as a co-twin to male calf to eliminate the possibility of "free martinism".
  • Look at the breed, if it is F1 cross of Jersey and Hostein, there is a possibility of infertility. If the animal is going for grazing there is a chance to become pregnant to Scurb bull, so enquire whether it goes for grazing.
  • Enquire when the animal has calved. Enquired whether it had any pre or partum (while calving) or post partum troubles as such troubles will cause the anoestrum to be longer. Enquire how the heat is detected to eliminate the chances of silent or unobserved heat.
  • In addition to the above one has to do a rectal examination of entire genitalia and confirm whether the animal has become pregnant, any pathological condition of pregnancy or non-pregnancy is existing. One has to confirm whether a C.L. (functional one) is present or not. On the above examination the anoestrum may be classified as,

    1. Due to C.L
    2. Due to absence of C.L

(1) the following conditions are seen
(2) the following are seen
Pregnancy Nutrition
Pyometra Debility due to chronic wasting diseases
Mummified Foetus Cystic ovaries
Macerated Foetus Freemartinism
Post partum anoestrum Hypoplasia of ovaries
Silent heat Dermoid cyst
Week heat Hormonal imbalance
Unobserved heat Old age debility


Retention of placenta in cattle and buffaloes

  • After expelling the foetus if the placenta is not thrown off within 8 hours it is considered as a case of rentension of placenta in cattle and buffaloes.
  • Retension of placenta can be avoided if the following prophylactic measures are undertaken

    1.  Giving daily for 10 to 15 days before calving 1 kg of germinated and boiled Horse gram along with the       water used for boiling horse gram. If it is not possible to boil even germinated horse gram can be fed for       10 to 15 days at the rate of 1 kg per day
    2.  injecting 20 mg of Sodium selenite in 10 ml of groundnut oil along with 500 mg of Vitamin E       (Tocopherols) intramuscularly 20 days prior to the day of calving
    3.  Shifting animals 5 to 10 days to disinfected or non infected shall or to grazing fields (the stalls should not       contain saw dust or paddy husk as bedding but paddy straw of jungle grass or un chaffed waste fodder       can be used as bedding)
    4.  Giving daily about 2km of walking as exercise or allow the animal to move freely in an open space for       about an hour.
    5.  Feeding mineral mixture containing Iodine, sodium selenite and in addition feed vitamin ‘A’ (green grass)       and vitamin ‘E’ (germinated grams)
    6.  Injecting 100 ml of 20% glucose intravenously daily for 3 days along with calcium as injection, soon after       calving.
    7.  Injecting 3 to 4 mg of ergonobine / intramuscularly soon after calving.

Curative Treatment

Contraindications of manual removal of placenta

  • If the temperature is more than 102.5 F in cattle and more than 101 F in buffaloes do not remove placenta manually (in such high temperatures such as septic metritis, acute metritis and in traumatic pericarditis). Such removal may lead to septic condition and death of the animal
  • When the foetal cotyledons are thin and stringy
  • When the animals are suffering from necrotic vaginitis and vulvitis with small dry swollen vagina
  • When adhesions are very strong and firm
  • Removing placenta incompletely or in a rough and in an insanitary manner
  • Tying a weight to the placenta causes strain and may break leaving part of it inside or it may cause invagination of uterus

When placenta can be removed manually

  • The placental cotyledons should be fleshy and substantial (considerably large) when cotyledons are detached the time taken to detach each cotyledons should not exceed more than 10 seconds.

Advise to owners

  • Do not tie any weight to the hanging placenta
  • If placenta is not expelled within 8 hours call on experienced veterinarian. In case of abortions as it usually ends up in ROP it should be got treated immediately.
  • In case of twin pregnancy the animal calves 8 to 10 days earlier to normal term and may end up in a case of ROP
  • If not expelled with in 36 hors it may take 7 to 10 days for total expulsion after meceration by itself
  • Do not breed ROP cases within 90 days after calving
  • Get the ROP cases examined monthly until 4 months after calving to check the invoution of uterus. Meanwhile the mucus discharge in 1 to 2 heats should be clear before doing A.I.


Abortion in cattle and buffaloes

  • Abortion is the expulsion of a visible dead foetus before the age of 28 weeks in cows 31 weeks in case of buffaloes.
  • Expulsion of the dead foetus after this period is called as a stillborn calf. The common causes for abortions are as follows:

Bacterial diseases

  • Brucellosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Listeriosis
  • TB
  • Vibriosis
  • Other bacteria causing abortions are streptococcus. Diplococcus, Staphylococcus, E. Coli, Pseudomonas areginosa, corynebacterium pyogenes etc

Viral diseases

  • Rinderpest
  • Foot and mouth

Fungal diseases

  • Aspergillosis


  • Trichomoniasis
  • Trypnasomiasis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Piroplasmosis


  • Deficiency of progesterone
  • Accidental ingestion or injection of large odses of oestrogens or injection of cortico steroid


  • Deficiency of Vitamin – A
  • Deficiency of Iodine


  • Removal of C.L. before 5th month age of pregnancy

Other causes

  • Injecting carbocol in a pregnant animal for impaction of rumen without diagnosing pregnancy, injection pendistrin S.H. in a mastitis case, injecting carticosteroids
  • External violent injury
  • Severe systemic diseases
  • Eating some plants rich in oestrogens or some poisonous plants

Prevention of abortions

  • For viral diseases like Rinderpest and Foot & Mouth, advance vaccination can be done.
  • For brucellosis vaccinate with ‘CALF HOOD VACCINE’ when the female calf is about 6 to 8 weeks old. For pregnant animals also there is a vaccine / available from Denmark to protect against brucellosis. Listeriosis can be avoided by not feeding the silage which has been spoiled or which has got high PH.
  • Avoid deficiency of Vitamin A and give mineral mixture and salt lick blocks having Iodine. By avoiding rats and rodents in the dairy animal premises and feed godowns, it is possible to avoid leptospirosis.


Prolapse of vagina,Cervix & Eversion of Uterus in Bovines

  • Prolapse of Vagina and Cervix is seen in prepartum stages more commonly while in post partum eversion of uterus is seen.


  • Due to confinement to stables
  • Feeding mouldy feeds or subteranian clover of plants and grasses having oestrogens.
  • irritation of vagina, bladder and intestines leading to contractions of vagina and cervix.
  • Over distension of abdomen or excessive amounts of loose pelvic fat causing increasing intrapelvic pressure.
  • Cystic ovarian condition for a long period
  • Due to secretion of oestrogenic hormones from placenta seen in the last 2 to 3 months of gestation
  • Too much slope in the cow byre


  • The prolapsed mass of vagina and cervix of a tennis ball size to that of a large football size is seen. The size will be large due to prolapsed of bladder and retension of urine.
  • In eversion of uterus the placenta may be retained or the uterine coruncles are seen on the surface of the everted uterus. The everted mass if big, is seen as a hanging bag almost equal to the size of a calf.
  • The animal expresses pain, anxiety, anorexia increased respiration and pulse.
  • If bleeding is there from the cotyledons the animal may die due to shock.
  • Deaths are recorded in 5 to 18 percent cases.

The owner should do the following in case of prepartum prolapsed

  • Cleaning the prolapsed parts by washing with boiled and cooled clean water or potassium permanganate is added to water to get a light pink colour and is used for washing.
  • In a clean wet cloth the prolapsed portion has to be covered and water is poured over it now and then to keep it cool and wet and should be keep clean. Alternately a plastic paper is wrapped around the prolapsed portion to keep it moist and clean.
  • The hind legs are elevated by 9" to 12" when compared to front legs and tied with ropes on either side in four feed wide space.
  • The prolapsed portion should be lifted up towards the base of the tail once in 2 to 3 hours to relieve and pressure due to urine in the bladder.
  • Put the animal on gruel and hay water and given green or dry fodder 1/3 that of the usual quantity for the next one week. (Avoid such fodders, which have oestrogenic substances)

Line of Treatment

  • Give epidural anesthesia between the last lumbar and first coccygeal vertebrae or between first and second coccygeal vertebrae (5 to 8 ml of 2% local anesthetic is used)
  • Gently lift the prolapsed portion towards base of the tail to relieve the pressure of urine in the bladder
  • Wash with potassium permanganate lotion and after through cleaning any severe lacerations are sutured with continuous sutures using chromic catgut.
  • Apply M & B antiseptic cream and first push portion very near the vulval lips and finally the portion away from the vulval lips.
  • If progesterone deficiency or excess of oestrogens have been suspected, inject daily 50 to 100 mg of progesterone l/m or 500 mg of prolution depot. In case of cystic ovaries with such prolapsed it is advised to give 1500 to 2000 of H.C.G.


Pregnancy diagnosis in farm animals

Cattle and Buffaloes

Physical & Behavioural changes

  • Pregnancy animals will be usually docile. During 3rd month age of pregnancy commonly the skin coat becomes nice with short and fine hair.
  • In heifers this may be appreciated after 1 ½ months age of pregnancy. In many buffaloes such hiar changes can be noticed in the rump region.
  • Pregnant animals look more glossy and may put on fat. Most commonly after 5th month age of pregnancy a definite drop in the milk yield is noticed in pregnant animals.
  • In heifers the udder development can be noticed around 7th month age of pregnancy, while in cows the udder develops 15 to 30 days before parturition.
  • In few animals (both heifers and cows) a prepartum udder or umbilical oedema is noticed. During last 15 days of gestation sinking of sacrosciatic ligaments can be noticed with oedema of vulval lips.

Rectal examination

  • This is most reliable method of examination for pregnancy in cattle.
  • Pregnancy can be diagnosed as early as one month but hs to be confirmed at 75 days (21 ½ months) age as 3-10% of pregnancies after 30th day get resorbed whether examined rectally or not.


  • The most important factors involved in uterine palpation are proper anatomical orientation and a thorough methodical approach most mistakes result from failure to adhere to these two principles.
  • Do not forcibly manipulate against peristaltic waves avoid manipulating ballooned rectum. In the later reach forward and gently grasp the first peristalitic ring and pull backwards or gently stimulate the dosum (roof) of rectal wall with the finger tips to deflate the rectum.
  • Depending on the age and parity the location of non-garvid uterus may be hanging at the pelvic brim.
  • A left handed palpation is given below to examine the uterus after locating the cervix (land mark for genital examination per rectally) it is pulled caudally by exerting leverage against it.
  • The cervix is elevated against the side of pelvis so that the tract is in a reversed configuration.
  • The thumb is inserted under the upper curve of S and then fingers are extended around the left horn of the uterus for full examination of left horn or the fingers can be placed under the central intercornual ligament and horns are tilted for easy examination.
  • Alternatively the thumb can be inserted between the horns to maintain retraction and the second horn palpated like that of first.
  • Another technique useful sometimes in early pregnancy is, the hand is inserted into the rectum down over the brim of pelvis, where the uterus is cupped in an angle formed by the arm and hand. The uterus can be retracted gently up and over the brim of the pelvis.