If the tissue has been prolapsed for several hours, it should be cleaned off before being pushed back into the cow. Otherwise, the irritation from the contamination will cause inflammation and infection.

Smith recommends washing it gently with warm water and a mild disinfectant before pushing it back in. If a prolapse has been out for several days before discovery, the tissues may be dry, damaged and more difficult to clean and push back in.

Some cows prolapse every calving season during late pregnancy, and continue to prolapse after the tissues are replaced. To correct this chronic problem, restrain the cow, clean the protruding ball of tissue and push it back in, then take several stitches across the vulva to hold it closed and prevent future prolapses. Umbilical tape is ideal suture material for this purpose - less apt to pull out than regular suture thread. A curved surgical needle (large size) is best for making the stitches, says Smith.

The stitches should be anchored in the haired skin at the sides of the vulva, according to Smith. This skin is thick and won't tear as easily as the skin of the vulva. It's also less sensitive and less painful for the cow.

At least three cross-stitches are usually needed to keep the vulva safely closed so the inner tissue cannot prolapse if the cow strains. The cow is still able to urinate through the stitches, but the vulva cannot open enough for further prolapse.

The stitches must be removed when she starts to calve, or she will tear them out or have difficulty calving. When she goes into labor, the stitches can be cut (with surgical scissors, tin snips or a very sharp knife), and gently pulled out.

Once she has calved, the pressure that caused the prolapse will no longer exist.

Once a cow has prolapsed, there's a high chance she will repeat the situation next year. This is due to an inherited problem in which some cows have a structural weakness of the reproductive tract that allows part of the vagina to prolapse during late pregnancy.

Some bulls - whose mothers or female ancestors had this weakness - sire daughters that prolapse easily and they may pass this tendency on to their offspring.

To avoid prolapse problems, a cow that prolapses should be culled. And, both male and female offspring from such a cow should never be kept for breeding.

 

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