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  1. The first procedure is to obtain a urine sample.
  2. The second prodedure is to insert the thermometer.  The pulse can also be taken at this point.
  3. Next is the visualization of the vulvar mucous membranes

The most important thing to remember when obtaining a urine sample from a cow is to only touch the cow with the hand that you will use to stroke the vulva or perineum.  This means no one else should be touching the cow.  Note that if no urine is obtained after 3 - 5 minutes of stimulation, then stop and move on to the next procedure.  Straining to urinate would require further evaluation. 

The urine will be used to measure ketone bodies.  (See Ketosis)


Insert a well lubricated thermometer into the rectum of the cow.  A large animal thermometer is required for this procedure.  This will allow for complete insertion through the anal sphincter and into the rectum.  Rectal temperatures vary according to season. Temperatures range from 101.5° to 102.5°F.

The pulse can be obtained from the coccygeal vein by placing index finger on the ventral midline aspect of the tail at the level of the vulva. It is normally faint and intense concentration is needed to feel this pulse.   The normal pulse is 60 - 80 bpm.


The vulvar mucous membranes should be moist, shiny, smooth, and pale pink.   To assess the mucous membranes, gentle separation of the vulvar lips using both hands is preferred.


Click on your next PE point to continue with your physical exam.

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