Cownapping: Vet’s exam ruling says no live calf


SALEM, Ohio – Ohio State University veterinarian David Anderson has confirmed that there was no viable or live calf inside Pearl, the Holstein at the center of an international custody dispute, when he examined the cow Feb. 7.

However, it is yet to be confirmed or denied that she was carrying a dead calf.

After Anderson’s initial examination, the cow was referred for further care to the regular veterinarian used by Chris and Joyce Nelson, the animal’s owners.

That, Anderson said, is why he can’t comment on what has happened to the cow since his exam.

Four-part exam. Anderson performed a complete physical, ultrasound, rectal palpation and vaginal exam and reports multiple findings.

“She’s a huge cow. There is certainly the possibility she could have had a dead calf inside,” he said.

The ultrasound could not determine the presence of a calf because it only reached 20 centimeters in depth, he said.

“There is plenty of space beyond [that reach] where a calf could have been hiding,” Anderson said.

No signs. Anderson’s examination found the cow to have “very small uterine arteries, a distended uterus and no palpable calf.”

Ultrasounds revealed the cow’s uterus was “full of a thick mucous fluid,” Anderson said.

Consequently, there were no signs of a placenta.

Anderson reports the cow was examined at the university veterinary hospital because of a suspected infection in the uterus.

(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at


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