Could blood in urine be sign of partially retained placenta?

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Jul 5, 2013
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We have a jersey - South poll cross heifer. She calved for the first time Sunday, today is Friday after. We weren't there when she calved. When we got up in the morning, there was a cleaned up but dead calf on the ground. There was no sign of a cord on the calf, so we suspect that the cord was short or restricted in some way and that the calf probably bled to death while the cow was cleaning her up. The calf didn't look like it had been dead for any length of time. There was stuff hanging out of the rear end of the cow like normal, but it didn't come out as quickly as normal. It also came out in spurts over the next 24 hours. My daughter said when she milked her this morning, she urinated and that the urine smelled like a rotting animal and had blood in it. Could this be caused by a partially retained placenta? The cow is acting fine, eating, drinking and is showing no signs of being sick.
Bright fresh blood or old off colored blood. Old blood would probably be just the continuation of the cleaning process, bright blood would be something to keep an eye on.
Thanks. I shall ask my daughter if it seemed bright red or if it looked brownish. We will keep an eye on.
If the stuff coming out smells like a dead thing, I'd suspect the calf wasn't alive when it was born. What did the calf smell like, or was that a step further than you would have gone? (I smell everything as part of checking in those situations; it can tell you a lot.) It's quite possible the cow won't clean. Watch her for any sign of feeling a bit sick - ears down, sitting around looking sad. If there's any sign at all of that, she'll need antibiotics to stop her getting sicker, at which point you'll need quick access to a vet.

Another thought: no sign of the cord on the calf may be because the calf was already starting to decompose (happens very quickly in that warm environment after the 'seals' are broken) and the cow could easily have pulled it off when cleaning it.
I'm not seeing a correlation between bloody urine and not cleaning out. If the urine stream is constant in blood then its not from the vaginal or uterine areas. It's more a sign of kidney function or process. But if its not a constant color of blood in the stream it very well could be from the vaginal or uterine areas contaminating the stream.
Watch her tail. If you see brownish crust on her tail right around her vulva you're going to have a sick cow on your hands in pretty short order. A lot of times people say it's blood in their urine but what's really happening is she's hunching up and trying to clean out and squeezes so hard she pees when she does. If you have any experience with AI or fresh cow work you can check her rectally and get an answer in short order. :nod: :yuck:
Since it sounds like you're milking her, be careful in how you treat whatever you find. Exconel is a good choice as it has no milk withdrawl time on milk.
Thanks for all the replies. No, I didn't think of smelling the dead calf. If I'd thought of it, I would have done it.

Blood is not constant. I saw her get up in the field this afternoon and she passed urine. There was a little blood in it at the beginning and then it was normal. I smelled no odor, but I was outside.

She is not acting funny and is clean at the rear end, but we will definitely be keeping a VERY close eye on her.

We do have ready access to a vet if needed.

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