A case of bovine placental mole associated with twin embryonic death and resorption

A case of bovine placental mole associated with twin embryonic death and resorption
Peer reviewed


Bovine embryonic or foetal death with persistence of the foetal membranes has been reported to occur uncommonly (Folger, 1937; Kennedy and Miller, 1993). Following death and resorption of the embryo, the membranes may persist as an empty cystic structure, which corresponds in size to that of the foetal membranes of a viable pregnancy at 3-4 months gestation. Such a structure is known as a cystic placental mole. In such cases, both the allantois and amnion may be present. Folger (1937) was the first to describe this condition and an unusual cystic placental mole the size of a 3-4 month-old pregnancy, that contained only clear gelatinous fluid and accompanied by retention of the corpus luteum, has also been described by McEntee (1970). Such structures may become infected and form a pyometra, or may undergo necrosis and be expelled. This condition should not be confused with hydatidiform mole, which appears as a cluster of grape-like translucent cysts or villi of the placenta that are expelled during third-stage labour (Gylstorff, 1985). The latter is the more common occurrence in humans (Hewani et al, 1999; Salehnia et al, 2000). An abnormal embryonic development, characterised by formation of an embryonic vesicle without an embryo, has also been reported in a mare (Vanderwall et al, 2000). In this report, a bovine reproductive tract was obtained from a slaughterhouse in the Manawatu region of New Zealand, which, on the basis of uterine distension, a closed cervix and the presence of twin corpora lutea of pregnancy, was initially believed to be approximately 4 months pregnant. The diameters of the right and left uterine horns were 50 cm and 38 cm, respectively. The whole reproductive tract comprising the uterus and contents, cervix and ovaries weighed 6.5 kg. It was notable that…

Access to the full text of this article is available:

through another providers website:

If you're a member or subscriber and believe you should have access:



Register for an account

Request new password

The whole of the literary matter of the New Zealand Veterinary Journal is copyright Taylor and Francis, Downloading this article signifies agreement with the terms and conditions of electronic access.