Anatomy of the Reproductive System of the Cow

Chapter 21
Anatomy of the Reproductive System of the Cow

Ben Nabors and Robert Linford

Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA


The anatomy of the reproductive system in the cow is functionally grouped into the components associated with oocyte production and transport, and those involved with gestation and copulation.


The cellular machinery for oogenesis and steroid production is found in the ovary (Figure 21.1). The ovary consists of a cortex and medulla. The medulla is composed of connective tissue, lymphatic vessels, blood vessels, and nerves. Surrounding the medulla is the cortex. The cortex contains the ova surrounded by follicular cells within the connective tissue stroma.1 Exterior to the cortex, the ovary is covered by the dense fibrous tunica albuginea and a superficial epithelium.2


Figure 21.1 Ov, ovary; Uh, uterine horn; F, follicle.

Because the ovary in the cow descends further from its embryologic origin near the kidney than other species, it is positioned closer to the pelvis. The consequence of this ovarian location and the attachment of the short mesovarium is that the uterine horns bend ventrally and caudally3 (Figure 21.2).


Figure 21.2 V, vagina; C, cervix; Uh, uterine horn; Ov, ovary; Ub, urinary bladder.

Transport and gestation

The reproductive system of the cow is designed to transport spermatozoa toward the ovary and to transport an ovum toward the spermatozoa (Figure 21.3). The parts of this tubular system include the vestibule, vagina, cervix, uterine horns, and uterine tubes (oviduct).


Figure 21.3 V, vagina; C, cervix; U, body of uterus; Ov, ovary; Uh, uterine horn.

Uterine tube

The uterine tube is arranged like a funnel near the ovary. The funnel-shaped end, or infundibulum, contains processes, the fimbriae, which collect the ovum on ovulation (Figure 21.4). The ovum is then transported through the abdominal opening of the uterine tube located at the base of the infundibulum.4 The ampulla of the uterine tube is the region adjacent to the infundibulum where fertilization takes place. The isthmus, the continuation of the uterine tube from the ampulla toward the uterus, is relatively long due to the meandering course it takes before ending at the uterine opening where it releases the ovum into the uterine horn.4


Figure 21.4 Ov, ovary; Inf, infundibulum; Ut, uterine tube; Ovb, ovarian bursa; Uh, uterine horn.


The uterus consists of a body and two horns (Figure 21.5). The body is short, beginning immediately after the cervix ends. The horns branch from the body but are joined together by peritoneum, giving the appearance that the body is longer than it truly is. As the horns progress craniad they divide at the intercornual ligaments, each turning abruptly ventrally, then proceeding caudally, and finally ending dorsal to the ovary3 (Figure 21.6).

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Aug 24, 2017 | Posted by in GENERAL | Comments Off on Anatomy of the Reproductive System of the Cow

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