Calving and Dystocia
The 3 Stages of Parturition
During this stage, the two main events are dilation of the
cervix and contraction of the uterine muscles. This stage is likely to go
unnoticed in the cow. These changes may occur 4 to 24 hours prior to
parturition. At the end of Stage 1 there may be some behavioral changes
such as swishing the tail, increased mucous discharge and elevation of the tail.
This is the stage of parturition in which the calf is born,
beginning with the emergence of the fetal membranes and the fetus into the
pelvic canal and ending with the completed birth of the calf. In the
bovine, this stage lasts from 2-4 hours. It should be noted that Stage 2
in the bovine is much longer than that of the equine (less than 30
minutes). Heifers may have a longer Stage 2 than cows since their pelvic
opening is smaller and their soft tissues haven't been expanded. The calf
should be born in a dorsosacral position with an anterior
The third stage is the shedding of the fetal membranes.
In a normal cow this occurs in less than 8-12 hours. The placenta is
considered retained if it hasn't been shed after 12 hours.
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