Cows with retained placenta

Producer Question from 2012

Q.  My cows sometime don't deliver the placenta after calving. They are on pasture and prairie hay year round. Are they needing some mineral that they're not getting from protein tubs? (April 20, 2012)

A.  Retained placenta is rare in most cow herds. The placenta is retained when the cotyledons on the placenta do not detach from the caruncles on the uterus during parturition. This can occur during difficult births (dystocia) in beef cattle. Also, sometimes when cows are induced to calve, you will see a higher incidence of retained placenta in the induced cows.

Retained placenta has mostly been associated with nutrition, in particular, low vitamin A or with the mineral selenium. I would suggest that you start addressing the problem with vitamin A and checking on the amount of selenium in the ration. If this doesn't help, then I would contact your veterinarian because some retained placenta can be associated with reproductive diseases.

Dr. Rick Rasby Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science
Animal Science, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE