c-section cow

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Active member
Feb 14, 2008
we had to take my heifer to get a c-section last tues.  she seems to be doing fine except toward the bottom of the cut it is kind of swelled up.  she isnt running a temp so is this jus swelling?????  also wat kind of complications will i be expecting in the future as far as getting her rebred, calving etc...  had to take her down to the university and really didnt get a chance to talk.  Thank-you

Show Heifer

Well-known member
Jan 28, 2007
A lot is going to depend on how the c-section was done. Some will rebreed with no problems, some won't ever breed again.
If the heifer is eating, and acting fine, I wouldn't worry about the swelling....just keep it clean, and if you have some put some antibiotic ointment or spray on it. Swelling could be from the pressure of the stitches since it is on the bottom side.

Why did she have problems calving? Calf size? Bull she was bred too? Or was her pelvis too small? That will be a good predictor on if (if she re-breeds) she has trouble again.  How big was the calf that was taken C-section?

Wish you luck.


Well-known member
Jan 29, 2007
I am going to assume that the incision is on the side and the swelling is only on the bottom of the incision.  Is there any drainage? If so what does it look like.

When they put in the stitches did they use a continuous pattern all the way from the top to the bottom (ie they didn't make individual stitches, they kinda sewed left to right to left to right going down the incision) or did they leave one or 2 single stitches at the bottom?

We often leave a single stitch or 2 in case there is an infection in the incision - those stitches can be cut and the junk (medically speaking) can drain out. But remember this is not "a walk in the park" for the heifer - there is bound to be tissue trauma so what you see may just be swelling. Does it feel hot or warm to the touch when compared to either side or above it?

Most university vet schools are reasonably responsive if you call and ask to speak to the vet who did the surgery. That might give you more information that will be helpful in terms of the heifers future -

In regards to rebreeding, like SH said some do and some don't - depends if  the calf was alive and the C-section done promptly with minimal abdominal contamination and trauma to the uterus then chances are good - however if the calf was it dead the longer dead, the more likely contamination of abdomen, uterine trauma etc

So to answer your first question re the swelling if the heifer is eating and acting normal and doesn't have an elevated temperature and there is just swelling and it is not draining and it is not hot - then it could just be what is called dependent edema (fluid goes to the bottom!) and it will go away. However if it isn't all those things keep a close watch and maybe call the U back - good luck