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Oestrus during pregnancy in the cow
  1. I Thomas and
  2. H Dobson
  1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, University of Liverpool Veterinary Field Station, Neston, South Wirral.


Forty-three oestruses were observed in 35 pregnant cows in one beef suckler herd and 17 dairy herds; at each oestrus the pregnant cow stood willingly to be mounted by another cow or bull. Such oestruses were observed at all stages of pregnancy, although more often between 121 and 240 days, occurred more than once per pregnancy and were also seen in successive pregnancies. On one farm where the dairy cows were observed for four 30 minute periods daily, oestrus was recorded in 5.7 per cent of pregnant cows. The behavioural signs associated with oestrus during pregnancy were indistinguishable from those of true oestrus in non-pregnant animals and although its duration was shorter (mean 5.6 hours), its intensity was comparable to that of the true oestrus. Pregnant cows showing oestrus were usually seen interacting with other oestrous cows in the sexually active group. Pregnant cows showing oestrus had a higher mean condition score (3.9 +/- 0.64) than control pregnant cows (3.0 +/- 0.36). Physiological changes in the genital tract normally associated with true oestrus were not observed in pregnant cows showing oestrus. There was no ovulation or metoestrous bleeding. The characteristics of cervical mucus, including ferning patterns, were similar to those of pregnant cows at the same stage of pregnancy. Hormonal changes associated with oestrus in non-pregnant cows were not observed in the pregnant cows exhibiting oestrus. Seven of nine pregnant cows at oestrus stood willingly to be mounted by a bull. On seven occasions, bulls exposed only to cervical mucus from pregnant cows showing oestrus did not display flehmen.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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