Bovine Interaction


Bovine Terminology

Bovine Introduction

Cattle (Wodeja) are the domesticated descendants of an extinct animal called an Aurochs. Cattle were domesticated two different times and as a result, we have two different species of domestic cattle.  One species is called Bos indicus and these are the types of cattle that are typically kept in really hot climates. The other is called Bos taurus and these are the types of cattle that are found in more temperate or cold climates like in Canada. There are 3 primary uses for cattle: dairy production, beef production, and as a draft animal. Cattle that are used as draft animals, meaning they pull or haul things, are called oxen. Although oxen are not very popular in North America anymore, they are still used in other parts of the world.

Bovine Terminology

Bovine Terminology

Cow – an adult female bovine that has had a calf 

Heifer – a female bovine that has not had a calf 

Steer – a castrated male bovine 

Bull – an adult, uncastrated male bovine 

Calf – a young bovine 

Bull calf – a male calf 

Heifer calf – a female calf 


Bovine Physical Exam

Physical exams are probably one of the most important skills in veterinary medicine. It is important to understand how to complete a physical exam on cattle as there are many species differences, such as listening to rumen contractions, that must be considered in veterinary medicine. Learn some of the critical skills needed to complete a physical exam on a bovid in the video below.