Skip to main content

Anatomy and Physiology of Beef Cattle

Listed below are some quick facts of information from “Anatomy and Physiology of Beef Cattle Fact Sheet”, written by Taylor Davis.

Female External Genitalia:

Vulva

  • The external part of the reproductive tract. The thickened folds of skin of the structure are sensitive to changes in estrogen, the hormone responsible for estrus (heat).
  • Provides protection to minimize entry of foreign material into vagina.
  • In heat, the vulva will swell and become red, due to increased blood flow, can be useful in estrous detection when coupled with other signs.

Clitoris

  • Highly innervated tissue located in the ventral commissure that is very sensitive to tactile stimulation.

Vestibule

  • Common duct for urine and fetus during parturition.  Functions to stimulate penis during copulation.

Female Internal Reproductive Tract:

Broad Ligament

  • Double layer of connective tissue that originates from peritoneum
  • 3 parts:
    • Mesometrium – the mesentery of the uterus; the largest portion of the broad ligament
    • Mesosalpinx – the mesentery of the Fallopian tube
    • Mesovarium – the mesentery of the ovaries

Functions:

  • Supports and suspends the ovaries
  • Houses the vascular, lymphatic drainage, and nerve supplies

Fornix Vagina

  • Protrusion of cervix into anterior vagina in bovine

Functions:

  • Site of semen deposition during natural mating
  • Secretes copious amounts of mucous during estrus

Vagina

  • Located between the opening to the bladder and the cervix

Functions:

  • Copulatory organ during natural mating in most species
  • Stimulates bull penis via temperature
  • Serves as a birth canal during parturition
  • Highly acidic (pH 5.7) to prevent bacterial infection

Cervix **landmark when palpating**

  • Sphincter-like structure
  • Fibrous, collagenous, thick-walled organ with a small amount of muscle
  • Prominent ridges close together

Functions:

  • Production of mucous during estrous
  • Sealed during pregnancy with a cervical plug to protect uterus against pathogens
  • Serves as a birth canal during parturition

Uterus **landmark when palpating**

  • Composed of body and bicornuate uterine horns
  • Placed of semen deposit during Artificial Insemination

Functions:

  • Sperm Transportation
  • Regulation of Corpus Luteum (CL)
  • Embryo Development & Placental Attachment
  • Parturition and Post-Partum Involution

Oviducts (Fallopian Tubes)

  • Small tubes that extend from the uterus horns to ovaries; infundibulum is also part of the oviduct

Functions:

  • Transports sperm and oocyte via smooth muscle contractions to the site of fertilization
  • Acts to reduce sperm numbers to prevent polyspermy
  • Removes oocytes from the surface of the ovary through cilia (called fimbria on infundibulum)
  • Provides proper environment needed for the oocyte and the early developing embryo

Ovary:

  • Supported by Broad Ligament in the peritoneal cavity
  • Functioning is controlled by pituitary hormones; FSH and LH
  • Ovarian structures very complicated and do many functions over a lifespan

Functions:

  • Produces hormones:
    • Estrogen- from ovarian follicles; brings female into each estrous cycle
    • Progesterone- from corpus luteum (tissue from ovulated follicle); prepares the uterus for pregnancy and maintaining pregnancy
  • Gamete production
    • Development, maturation, and ovulation of oocytes with each estrous cycle

Major parts of male tract:

  • Scrotum
  • Testes
  • Epididymis (caput, corpus, cauda)
  • Vas Deferens/ Ductus Deferens
  • Ampulla
  • Seminal Vesicles/ Vesicular glands (Accessory Gland)
  • Prostate Gland (Accessory Gland)
  • Bulbourethral glands/ Cowper’s glands (Accessory Gland)
  • Urethra
  • Penis
  • Prepuce and Sheath

 

For more information on Beef Cattle Reproduction from the University of Florida, please click here.

For the PDF file, please click here.

2 Comments on “Anatomy and Physiology of Beef Cattle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *