What is a Prolapse?
A prolapse is characterized as a falling down or slipping of a body part from its normal position.
A vaginal prolapse is an eversion and “prolapse” of the vagina which can resemble the shape and size of a volleyball. Occasionally the cervix will prolapse with the vagina but not always. This is mostly seen in mature beef cattle during the last three to four months of pregnancy and usually occurs when the cow is straining to calve. Vaginal prolapses are more common than uterine prolapses and are less life threatening.
· Obese over-conditioned cows
· Increased intra-abdominal pressure due to pregnancy
· Heifers implanted with growth implants containing estrogen
· Stabled cattle more so than pasture cattle
· Genetics. Don’t use heifer calves as replacements whose mother has prolapsed in the past
· Most often occur in consecutive pregnancies. Cull her if she prolapses!
The vagina must be replaced back into its original position and retained there; usually with either a Buhner stitch or “buttons”. Local anesthetic is necessary for placement and retainment of the prolapse. THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY. Vaginal prolapses should be treated by a vet during their earliest regular office hours. If left untreated infection, necrosis, and restricted urination can cause irreversible damage.
· Prevent your cows from becoming obese
· Cull breeding stock who have experienced prolapses in the past
· Avoid keeping bulls and heifers who are genetically predisposed to vaginal prolapses
· Brahman, Brahman crosses, and Herefords are genetically predisposed to prolapses
Uterine prolapses occur immediately after or within a few hours after calving. The uterus will completely evert externally and hang down around the cow’s hocks; noticeably larger than a vaginal prolapse. If not treated immediately, the cow could die from shock and blood loss. Uterine prolapses are less common than vaginal prolapses and are considered life threatening.
Causes of Uterine Prolapse
· Difficult calving
· Excessive force applied when pulling an oversized calf
· Reduced uterine tone
· Low blood calcium levels
· Cows with poor body condition
Uterine prolapses are LIFE THREATENING! The uterus must be placed back into its original position as soon as possible before she goes into shock and/or loses too much blood. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. Call your vet ASAP. If treated properly it may not be necessary to cull her from your herd as she may be able to breed back. If there is severe damage to the uterus and/or infection, it may delay or prevent her from breeding again.
· Breed to an appropriately sized bull
· Keep your cattle at a healthy weight
· Say a prayer!