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Dr Linda
Dr Linda, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1294
Experience:  I am a practicing veterinarian with over 20 years experience in a mixed animal practice.
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How does it take heifer bred 5 months to abort her calf and

Customer Question

How long does it take for a heifer bred 5 months to abort her calf and symptoms.? She was stressed by getting out 10 days ago and has clear discharge small amount until yesterday, when she had thick rope discharge still clear. She had a tiny amount of dark blood last evening and acts like she is putting her tail up and cant pee. Last night there was a large amount of bright red bloody duscharge present abd she will put her tail up and hump up, but after she finally pees (twice in 24 hours) she tried to go again and again with just dribbles. UTI or aborting?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Linda replied 1 year ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Linda. I hope I can help with your question today.

I am sorry for your concerns with your heifer. Unfortunately, I would have to say that she is trying to abort the fetus. She is actually showing classic signs of labor, but of course at 5 months of gestation, the calf would not be viable.

A UTI is possible, but it would be a really serious infection with the large amount of bloody discharge you have described.

Maternal stress is one condition that can cause a cow to abort, but there are so many more including a large number of infectious diseases, to embryonic defects that may be implicated.

You should have her examined by your veterinarian, first to make sure if she has aborted, that there are no fetal membranes have been retained, &, if the fetus & placenta are available, they should be submitted to a diagnostic laboratory for necropsy.

I hope this makes sense & you find the information helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns with this heifer.

Thank you.

Expert:  Dr Linda replied 1 year ago.

I see you have reviewed my response & just wanted to make sure you knew that I can continue to answer all of your concerns at no additional costs to you. I did not specify a time that it might take for an abortion because this can be very variable. The aborted fetus might pass within hours, but if there are any retained fetal membranes, or even the placenta, then she might continue to show signs of discomfort for many days. That is the reason for having your vet out to palpate her, & clean things out if necessary. I hope this clarifies things for you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What if there us not a fetus out yet- today she had no bloody discharge and i treated her with antibiotics for a UTI- because our vet is out if town until monday. There has been no blood or duscharge all day until a few minutes ago? She has a very slight amount of discharge that is slightly blood but mainly clear. We rectally checked her to see if there was a fetus and nothing was mid arm deep. ? What us your take in this please
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is not a fetus i mean- we r with her 24 hours a day, watching
Expert:  Dr Linda replied 1 year ago.

Glad to discuss this further with you.

Good call to start antibiotics. I would continue with this throughout the weekend, then if there is still a discharge of any kind, have the vet out. He will rectal her, & then possibly also go in through the cervix to examine the body & both horns of the uterus for any remaining tissues, if they are present.

Your veterinarian will have no problem inserting his arm up to his shoulder, mid arm is definitely not deep enough to feel for all the structures that need to be examined. He may also recommend flushing to make sure she will be ready to breed back.

As long as she is eating & acting fairly normal, you can continue to monitor her discharge & see how things are come Monday.

Expert:  Dr Linda replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr Linda
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He completed the ultrasound and the calf is alive and all seems fine with a strong heartbeat. He sampled her urine and took blood sample to check for infection still present. He feels maybe she had twins at some point and has lost one but the other appears ok so far. Hoping the bleeding was just a result of that-? After the tests come back he says he may just ultrasound in a week again to check to make sure all the stress hasnt changed anything. So for now we are crossing our fingers! Thank you for your help!!
Expert:  Dr Linda replied 1 year ago.

That is a great update. So glad you still have a viable calf. Yes, the bleeding may have been the result of the loss of a twin, but there may have just been some capillary bleeding, or even a small tear in the cervix from when she got out. Personally, from your description of her behavior & blood loss, I think she may have lost a twin, too. Twinning can be problematic, but now that she is down to a single, her pregnancy should hopefully be uneventful.

Take care!