Cystic suspect

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aaronstiff

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Hi everyone. I've been combing the internet for hours now trying to find information about cystic cattle. I've found a couple of posts here, but none of them quite match my scenario, so I thought I'd just ask. Here's how things stand:

I bought a Lowline Angus heifer last summer. I put her in with a bull from August 29 to October 24, and assumed she was bred. However, when I put her and the bull together with the rest of the herd (keeping them all together since I don't currently have any calves), she went into heat a few days later, and both the original bull and my other bull (who is her brother) started mounting her.

A bit disappointed since I figured her calf would end up inbred, I just assumed the original bull was too young/small. But ever since then, she has consistently gone into heat about every 17 days. She's been staying with the other cows and bulls in a winter paddock area, and every time she goes into heat, the bulls try to breed her. But every 17 days later, she's back in heat.

It was suggested to me that she is cystic. But from what I've read, cystic beef cows aren't very common, and young, unbred cows even less common. I've also read that most cystic cows either don't show signs of heat, or are in continual/very short heat cycles.

I know there's still a chance she's just cystic, but at this point I just want to cull her. Getting her treated would mean she would be most likely inbred right after and calve in November. Not only would this mean having to create a separate area for her, but it would also mean a calf dropping just before the cold weather here in Prince Edward Island (I don't have a real barn, just run-ins). Currently, she's doing nothing but eating my hay. :)

Would greatly appreciate advice, thoughts, information, or all three.
 

TCRanch

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Was she a twin, or do you know? Not common, but freemartins can cycle.

FWIW, I don't breed any of my retained heifers until after they're vet checked, and that includes pelvic measuring. May be time to have your vet take a look at her. Or load her on the trailer and chalk it up to "it happens".
 

Dempster

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A certain percentage of heifers are sterile and will never breed but will cycle. Others will breed eventually but have to be older than most. If she has been with the bull for many cycles and not bred, she probably is just not a very fertile heifer. It may be best at this time to sell her and buy something different. There are a dozen different things you could try if you want to get her bred in the next few months, but it may not happen, and if it does then she may not breed very well next year.
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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Was she a twin, or do you know? Not common, but freemartins can cycle.

FWIW, I don't breed any of my retained heifers until after they're vet checked, and that includes pelvic measuring. May be time to have your vet take a look at her. Or load her on the trailer and chalk it up to "it happens".
I don't believe so. At least her previous owner didn't mention it.

Which reminds me: a few months before I bought her, the owner said she accidentally got into the bull's pen. I was concerned that she had been bred then, but a few weeks later the owner said she came back into heat again. Looking back, I guess that was actually a bad thing, since she was younger than 2 years old and still had problems then.
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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A certain percentage of heifers are sterile and will never breed but will cycle. Others will breed eventually but have to be older than most. If she has been with the bull for many cycles and not bred, she probably is just not a very fertile heifer. It may be best at this time to sell her and buy something different. There are a dozen different things you could try if you want to get her bred in the next few months, but it may not happen, and if it does then she may not breed very well next year.
Yes, that is my concern. Nothing is exactly guaranteed to work or even continue to work.
 

farmerjan

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I'd say cystic also.... they can have irregular heats or can just have too short a cycle heats or no heats. At this point I see no reason to keep her. Chalk it up... and if she is in good shape... eat her. Better return than selling her most likely.
 

farmerjan

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Have one dairy that milks 2-240... they have 4 "freemartins " milking now. They have more fertile free martins than any other dairy I have seen. But I have seen a few on other farms. Of course they are technically not "free martins" if they are fertile.... but you get the gist. All proven twins to bulls.
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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Have one dairy that milks 2-240... they have 4 "freemartins " milking now. They have more fertile free martins than any other dairy I have seen. But I have seen a few on other farms. Of course they are technically not "free martins" if they are fertile.... but you get the gist. All proven twins to bulls.
Wow, that's unusual!
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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I'd say cystic also.... they can have irregular heats or can just have too short a cycle heats or no heats. At this point I see no reason to keep her. Chalk it up... and if she is in good shape... eat her. Better return than selling her most likely.
I see. I'm leaning that way as well, but what reason would you give for selling/processing as opposed to treatment?
 

simme

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If she is cystic, treating with GnRH/Cystorelin might be a solution. But that raises the question of why she has cysts and do you want to keep an animal that needs to be treated for it.
 

farmerjan

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A couple of things I probably should have clarified my reason from..... You bought the heifer last summer... So 6 months time and feed in her so far... should have been bred already.....and you stated that you just want to cull her. Is she out of a certain bloodline you wanted? If not, then why keep agonizing over it? You don't want her calf off cycle from the other animals..... seems to me that you were set to just "can her" and are looking for us to talk you out of it.
I would have given her 2 shots of gnrh or lute after the 2nd time she came back in after 17 days. Shot at 5 days then another again at 10 more days.... that would cause the CL to dissolve and might have shocked her system into a more normal cycle. It still would have gotten her out of synch with the rest.
At this point you don't want her out of synch and calving in the cold weather.... so the sensible option is to sell her or eat her.

One other thing.... have you had a vet check her????? I had a cow that came in heat and got bred. ALL AI breedings. 2 months later I thought I saw a heat....3 weeks later she was standing.... rebred her.... Vet checked her preg to the first breeding..... she came in heat throughout the whole pregnancy, had her checked 4 TIMES..... and she calved right on schedule to the first breeding. So just for your own peace of mind, get her checked just to make sure she is not bred and just showing these heats.... and are you seeing discharge during the "heats" and maybe some blood on the tail 2-3 days after???? Or are you just seeing her riding/being ridden ????? My cow stood in full standing like heat every time.

Take her by the vet's office and if she is open/cycstic go right on to the stockyard/sale barn or to the butcher. Or suck it up and see if she gets bred and then try to get her into the same time frame with the others.
If she is having these problems as a heifer, she can either get straightened out with a pregnancy.... and be fine.... or she will continue to be a problem and I personally don't want a problem breeder starting out as a heifer....
 
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aaronstiff

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A couple of things I probably should have clarified my reason from..... You bought the heifer last summer... So 6 months time and feed in her so far... should have been bred already.....and you stated that you just want to cull her. Is she out of a certain bloodline you wanted? If not, then why keep agonizing over it? You don't want her calf off cycle from the other animals..... seems to me that you were set to just "can her" and are looking for us to talk you out of it.
I would have given her 2 shots of gnrh or lute after the 2nd time she came back in after 17 days. Shot at 5 days then another again at 10 more days.... that would cause the CL to dissolve and might have shocked her system into a more normal cycle. It still would have gotten her out of synch with the rest.
At this point you don't want her out of synch and calving in the cold weather.... so the sensible option is to sell her or eat her.

One other thing.... have you had a vet check her????? I had a cow that came in heat and got bred. ALL AI breedings. 2 months later I thought I saw a heat....3 weeks later she was standing.... rebred her.... Vet checked her preg to the first breeding..... she came in heat throughout the whole pregnancy, had her checked 4 TIMES..... and she calved right on schedule to the first breeding. So just for your own peace of mind, get her checked just to make sure she is not bred and just showing these heats.... and are you seeing discharge during the "heats" and maybe some blood on the tail 2-3 days after???? Or are you just seeing her riding/being ridden ????? My cow stood in full standing like heat every time.

Take her by the vet's office and if she is open/cycstic go right on to the stockyard/sale barn or to the butcher. Or suck it up and see if she gets bred and then try to get her into the same time frame with the others.
If she is having these problems as a heifer, she can either get straightened out with a pregnancy.... and be fine.... or she will continue to be a problem and I personally don't want a problem breeder starting out as a heifer....
Yes, you'd be right. :) My first inclination was to cull her, but I wanted to make sure it was a wise decision. I don't really have much experience with cattle yet, and I've really appreciated everyone's helpful advice!

No, it's not for a specific bloodline, just a specific breed. The original owner is the only other person in the province with Lowlines. And that's actually what I dislike most about trying to treat her, is having her out of sync for a bit.

I haven't had her checked yet, but it would certainly be a good idea before making a final decision. Although when I compare her size with all the others (who are almost 5 months pregnant), she doesn't look anywhere near as large as the others. She's the skinniest of them all.

I have seen discharge during the heats, but I haven't noticed any blood (not that I've been looking, I didn't know that accompanied heat).

And sorry for the delay in my replies. Because I just registered, I think anything I post is moderated for 24 hours.
 

farmerjan

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@aaronstiff .... sorry if my reply was a little bit terse. I was tired and aching and when my knees get to acting up.... I am not always a nice person.
If you are seeing a discharge, it is more than likely she has been in heat. The blood often comes a couple days after, just a little sloughing off... not all show it and it seems more prevelant with dairy cattle that I have been around. See it alot in my jerseys and jersey cross cattle....
I think your premonition that she is not bred, is probably right.
I get wanting to keep her when there are few or no others around close. How many do you have now? I think that you ought to get her checked. If she has a problem, then the vet ought to be able to feel it, if it is actually like a cyst or maybe enlarged ovary or something.
I used to give alot more chances than I do now. It isn't economically sound to do that. Granted, it isn't like you can go out and just pick up another, like with the more common breeds.... but still.... you really don't want to keep a problem breeder that could genetically pass it on down to the next generation.
How about AI to get some more genetic diversity? Or if you are real serious about these.... see about getting some embryos down the road and have them implanted. It is not cheap, but it might be as sensible financially to do that than to go off to "oshkosh" to get some unrelated breeding stock.... just some ideas.
Eat her if she is not bred.... then you can promote how good the meat is and when you start having some steers to sell/kill you will have some real life experience to promote them.
And yes, they do restrict some of the access when you are a brand new member.... don't let that deter you.
Also, can you put in your general area.... click on your name on the top right and then go into account details.... in location put in something like Ontario or western Canada or something so those of us that can't remember stuff will at least have an idea of where you are. Sometimes it helps with answers that are geared to certain sections of the country or climate or something.

Thanks , come on back!!!!!
 
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aaronstiff

aaronstiff

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@aaronstiff .... sorry if my reply was a little bit terse. I was tired and aching and when my knees get to acting up.... I am not always a nice person.
If you are seeing a discharge, it is more than likely she has been in heat. The blood often comes a couple days after, just a little sloughing off... not all show it and it seems more prevelant with dairy cattle that I have been around. See it alot in my jerseys and jersey cross cattle....
I think your premonition that she is not bred, is probably right.
I get wanting to keep her when there are few or no others around close. How many do you have now? I think that you ought to get her checked. If she has a problem, then the vet ought to be able to feel it, if it is actually like a cyst or maybe enlarged ovary or something.
I used to give alot more chances than I do now. It isn't economically sound to do that. Granted, it isn't like you can go out and just pick up another, like with the more common breeds.... but still.... you really don't want to keep a problem breeder that could genetically pass it on down to the next generation.
How about AI to get some more genetic diversity? Or if you are real serious about these.... see about getting some embryos down the road and have them implanted. It is not cheap, but it might be as sensible financially to do that than to go off to "oshkosh" to get some unrelated breeding stock.... just some ideas.
Eat her if she is not bred.... then you can promote how good the meat is and when you start having some steers to sell/kill you will have some real life experience to promote them.
And yes, they do restrict some of the access when you are a brand new member.... don't let that deter you.
Also, can you put in your general area.... click on your name on the top right and then go into account details.... in location put in something like Ontario or western Canada or something so those of us that can't remember stuff will at least have an idea of where you are. Sometimes it helps with answers that are geared to certain sections of the country or climate or something.

Thanks , come on back!!!!!
No worries, didn't seem terse to me. :)

I only have 6 right now, but this one is my least favourite, and I'm already on a smaller piece of land, so I'd actually feel better with one less. At this point I'll probably just cull her. My parents have already requested half of it, so it won't be hard to get rid of. :)

Sure thing, I'll add Prince Edward Island to that section.

Thanks again for everyone's help!
 

bigbluegrass

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Interesting that this thread came up now. I have a cow I suspect is cystic. I do all my own AI work on natural heats with no hormone shots. Her cervix feels like a ball instead of a cylinder. Is that what a cyst would feel like?

I wish I had thought of it when I started breeding in November. I would have given her a shot then. If she settled on the last year, she is going to be at the tail end of calving. If she comes in heat again, she will be coming up on a month behind everyone else. Not sure I want to mess with her anymore if that is the case.
 

JKCattle

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She probably is one of those cows that has a funky cervix. I have one that is round like a baseball. My hardest breeding cow. A cyst in the context here usually means on the ovary; either a follicular or a literal cyst. They are treated differently.
 

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