How to Palpate: Reproductive Exam Minimize

Examination Videos

The normal reproductive tract of the cow consists of the vulva, vestibule, vagina, cervix, uterine body, uterine horns, uterine tubes, infundibula and ovaries, as well as the broad ligament which suspends these structures within the pelvic and abdominal cavities (3,4,5,8). In the heifer (a female bovid up to the birth of her first calf), the overall size of the reproductive tract may be small enough such that all internal structures are located within the pelvic cavity. However, in the normal multiparous cow, much of the reproductive tract cranial to the cervix (and possibly including part of the cervix) lies beyond ones reach, cranial and ventral to the pelvic brim within the abdominal cavity (5,10). In these animals, the key to reliable examination of the reproductive tract by rectal palpation is successful retraction of the entire uterus into the pelvic cavity (10). The following illustrations are intended to provide the novice with a step-by-step description of this procedure, as well as guidance in the basic examination and evaluation of specific structures.

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