Prolapses occur occasionally in beef cows. Most prolapses occur very near the time of calving. Two distinct kinds of prolapse exist.

Uterine prolapse usually occurs at calving or soon after calving.  If the uterus becomes badly traumatized before treating, the animal may die from shock or hemorrhage.  Uterine prolapse requires immediate attention and if treated soon, most animals have an uneventful recovery.  Some may suffer uterine damage or infection that prevents or delays conception and should therefore be culled.  If they subsequently rebreed and become pregnant on schedule, there is no reason to cull animals suffering uterine prolapse after calving. Uterine prolapse is not likely to reoccur.  Female offspring are not genetically predisposed to prolapses.

Vaginal prolapse, however, that which occurs before calving is a heritable trait and is likely to reoccur each year during late pregnancy. Such animals should not be kept in the herd. The condition will eventually result in the loss of cow, calf, or both, plus her female offspring would be predisposed to vaginal prolapse.  Call your local large animal veterinarian for proper treatment, or advice about culling of any beef female that has been found to have a prolapse.

Research (Patterson, et al, 1981) from the USDA station at Miles City, Montana, reported that 153 calvings of 13,296 calvings from a 14-year span were associated with prolapse of the reproductive tract. Of those 153 prolapses, 124 (81%) were vaginal prolapses and 29 (19%) were uterine prolapses. The subsequent pregnancy rate following prolapse among first calf heifers was 28% and the pregnancy rate among adult cows following a prolapsed was only 57.9%. 

Read more about Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers by downloading Oklahoma State University Extension Circular E-1006.