The Mummy

Tue, Apr 30, 2019 @ 07:54 AM Erika Wierman, DVM

Mummy

Image: IBEX® EVO® + L7HD, in a Holstein cow

Mummification in bovine fetuses has an incidence of less than 2%. It occurs when there is fetal death for any number of reasons (Trichomoniasis and BVD infections have been specifically implicated as causes), but the CL is retained, the cervix stays closed, and there is no bacteria or oxygen present in the uterus to cause maceration. 

The soft tissues of the fetus break down and the fluids are resorbed, but the skeletal structure remains (so for this reason, mummification only occurs when the pregnancy has progressed past the embryonic stage and fetal ossification has occurred—about 80 days).

Fetal mummies can be retained for prolonged periods, and upon diagnosis are most often dealt with by treating the dam with prostaglandins to cause luteolysis and expulsion of the fetal remnants.

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