Postpartum emergencies in cattle are an important element of mixed or farm animal practice in the UK and, for many veterinarians, a call to such a situation can elevate the heart rate in anticipation of what might be to come. Swift and confident decision making is essential to ensure the best outcome for the animal; this often needs to be achieved with little support (due to the isolated nature of rural practice), in a highly charged situation and frequently after hours. This article considers three of the more challenging postpartum emergencies that veterinarians have to treat: uterine prolapse, haemorrhage and postcalving paralysis. It gives a brief outline of the prevalence, risk factors, first aid, treatment and prognosis for these conditions, and presents the latest research available in each area.
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