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Uterine torsion in Brown Swiss cattle: retrospective analysis from an alpine practice in Switzerland
  1. Th. Mock, MS1,
  2. E. Hehenberger, MS1,
  3. A. Steiner, DrMedVet, MS, DrHabil, DipECVS, DipECBHM1,
  4. J. Hüsler, DrHabil2 and
  5. G. Hirsbrunner, DrMedVet, PhD, DrHabil, DipECAR, DipECBHM1
  1. 1Vetsuisse Faculty, Clinic for Ruminants, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2Institute of Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  1. E-mail for correspondence: gaby.hirsbrunner{at}

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THE incidence of uterine torsion in cattle is 0.5–1 per cent of all calvings and up to 30 per cent of all dystocia cases (Berchtold and Rüsch 1993). The unstable suspension of the bovine uterus is a predisposition cited by different authors (Pearson 1971, Schulz and others 1975, Berchtold and Rüsch 1993). Age of the cow, season and weight and sex of the calf have been inconsistently reported to be associated with uterine torsion (Distl 1991, Frazer and others 1996, Tamm 1997). Small amount of fetal fluids and a large abdomen may contribute to uterine torsion (Berchtold and Rüsch 1993). Furthermore, some authors describe a predisposition in the Brown Swiss breed (Distl 1991, Schmid 1993, Frazer and others 1996) and in cows kept in alpine regions (Schmid 1993). Uterine torsion is predominantly seen under parturition, and the degree of torsion is most often between 180° and 360°. The direction is counter-clockwise in 60–90 per cent of the cases (Pearson 1971, Berchtold and Rüsch 1993, Erteld and others 2012). Vaginal delivery is possible after manual detorsion or after rolling of the cow, whereas caesarean section has to be performed after unsuccessful detorsion or if the cervix is not dilating adequately following successful correction of the torsion (Berchtold and Rüsch 1993, Frazer and others 1996). Out of all veterinary-assisted dystocia cases, 20 per cent (Aubry and others 2008) to 30 per cent (Berchtold and Rüsch 1993) are due to uterine torsion. Many publications describe fertility variables after dystocia, but only Schönfelder and coworkers described that 40 per cent of the cows got pregnant after uterine torsion followed by caesarean section (Schönfelder and Sobiraj 2005).

The aims of this study were first to retrospectively describe all cases of uterine torsion dealt with by three veterinarians of a large alpine …

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