The peripartum cow: practical notes
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The peripartum cow: practical notes

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The cow’s peripartum period from a practical and dynamic point of view, explained through theoretical explanations and a huge collection of clinical cases. Normally, disorders or conditions occurring in the peripartum period are not independent events; they are the result of the interaction of several events occurring over time. The authors highlight here the importance of assessing bovine pathologies as a whole. It is the only manner for the clinician to anticipate conditions that may appear during the peripartum period.

Manuel Fernández Sánchez

Manuel Fernández Sánchez obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science at the University of Zaragoza. His professional career, now 20 years long, has always been related to ruminants, since his training in Bristol, Belgium and Scotland until his current position as technical responsible for ruminants of Evialis Galicia.

His work developing genetic and reproductive improvements in meet sheep atA.N.G.R.A. (National Association of Rasa Aragonesa breed Farmers), as well as his work controlling reproduction and milk quality in cows in Asturias, have both been remarkable. His professional experience in different scopes of business in conjunction with his experience as a practitioner and in the service of reproductive control in dairy cows have provided him with an ample vision of the veterinarian’s needs when it comes to solving reproductive problems. This image atlas is the result of a practitioner’s work, who knows what it means to confront real problem “at the field”.

Manuel Liz López

Manuel Liz López obtained a Bachelor’s degree at the University of León in Veterinary Science in 1988, the same year in which he started his professional activity as a beef and dairy cattle clinical veterinarian in Lugo (Spain) and which he is still carrying out today. He is co-founder of the veterinary service company da Pontenosa S.L.P and is a specialist in artificial insemination and cattle selection and improvement.

Throughout his whole professional trajectory he has completed numerous courses and training seminars of pathology, surgery, ultrasonography and cattle farm management.

Matilde Hernández Solís

Matilde Hernández Solís owns a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science from the University of León since 1987. Since then she has worked as a cattle veterinarian, and specialised in milk quality after 2003, year in which she starts to develop a quality of milk improvement programme in 70 cattle farms in the province of Lugo. Since 2008 she has been an associate partner of the veterinary service company da Pontenosa S.L.P, and during two years she was the trainer of the Official Quality Control of Milk courses imparted to government employees of Junta de Castilla y León

She is the main researcher of the veterinary service company da Pontenosa S.L.P, of the I+D of “Influencia de la instalación de ordeño en la producción de leche y en el estado sanitario de los rebaños de vacuno de leche en Galicia. Repercusiones económicas en las explotaciones (2007-2010)” (Influence of the milking facilities on milk production and on the sanitary status of the dairy milk herd in Galicia. Economica repercussions in the farms 2007-2010).

1. Introduction

The stages of the peripartum period

2. The dry period


Drying-off: Why?

Drying-off: When?

Drying-off: How?

Dry cow management

Treatments that can be applied during the dry period

Podiatric treatments


Antiparasitic treatments

Other preventative treatments

3. Late pregnancy and calving

Pregnancy monitoring before drying-off

Late pregnancy examination

Pregnancy-related disorders

Foetal mummification



Imminent miscarriage



Prepartum uterine torsion




Physiological calving

Hormonal changes

Stages of calving

Preparation (duration: 2-8 hours)

Dilation (duration: 2-6 hours)

Foetal expulsion (duration: 0.5-2 hours)

Expulsion of the placenta (duration: 2-12 hours))

Puerperium (early postpartum)

Indications for calving


Problems of the mother or foetus as causes of dystocia

Disproportionate foetus

Primiparous cows

Posterior presentation


Maternal diseases

Changes in environment (facilities and handling) as causes of dystocia

When to suspect and how to confirm dystocia calving

4. Nutrition and body condition

Diet management

Case studies on dry cow management

The importance of diet

Food distribution methods

Automatic concentrate distribution (ACD)

Unifeed system

Appropriate diet and production

Lactation curve

Case studies on peak lactation

How to predict and improve production potential

Body Condition

Case studies on body condition

Changes in body condition


Case studies on ration management

Behaviour of the cow towards its ration

Evaluation of cow manure

Case study on manure evaluation

5. Postpartum diseases

Uterine prolapse





Clinical signs



Retained placenta


Clinical signs





Clinical signs







Clinical signs




Left displaced abomasum


Clinical signs



Rolling procedure


Paramedian approach

Right flank approach

Left flank approach

Pharmacotherapy and monitoring


Estimated costs of mastitis

Compiled data

Study results

Costs of discarded milk

Treatment costs

Costs due to loss of production


6. General management

Collective management

Solid feed



Water intake


Cubicle dimensions


Individual management

Planning the dry period

Twin pregnancies


Grazing cows

Batch creation and mobilisation

Prevention of postpartum metabolic problems in dry cows

7. Case studies

Case 1. Abscess in the hoof wall

Case 2. Lameness in a dry cow: the perils of inaction

Case 3. Left displaced abomasum complicated by surgical abscess

Case 4. Drying-off and social relationships

Case 5. Perineal tears in first-calf cows

Case 5.1. Partial perineal tear

Case 5.2. Full perineal tear

Case 6. Multifactorial reproductive failure with complications due to anaplasmosis

Case 7. Outbreak of acute clinical mastitis on a farm

8. Bibliography

  • Autor/es Manuel Fernández Sánchez, Manuel Liz López, Matilde Hernández Solís
  • Fecha de edición diciembre 2013
  • Nº Páginas 142
  • Encuadernación Tapa dura
  • Tamaño 17 X 24
  • Idioma Inglés