Calving Emergencies in Beef Cattle: Identification and Prevention

Calving Emergencies in Beef Cattle: Identification and Prevention

W. Dee Whittier, DVM

Virginia Tech

Calving difficulty, technically called dystocia, is a major cause of death loss in cow-calf herds. CHAPA (Cow-calf Health and Productivity Audit) studies indicate that dystocia is responsible for 33 percent of all calf losses and 15.4 percent of beef cattle breeding losses. Dystocia can have a large economic impact on producers due to calf death, veterinary costs, decreased rebreeding efficiency, and injury or death to the cow. In three different studies, dystocia was the highest veterinary cost to cow-calf operations in Colorado, California, and Tennessee.

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