The skeleton of a cow


The complex structure of the skeleton of a cow requires careful study in order to make it easier to cope with all sorts of diseases in the future. Like other general knowledge of the anatomy of cattle, it is important for veterinarians and breeders who can more accurately assess the situation. Thanks to our article, you can understand whether the calf is developing correctly, assess the risk of fractures and monitor the general condition of cows and bulls in the herd. Information is particularly useful for employees of small farms who do not have a veterinarian.

General information about the structure and types of bones

The bones that make up the skeleton of a cow are combined into three large groups: mixed, tubular, and flat.

The latter form the scapula, pelvis and ribs. Mixed bones make up the cranium of livestock. Their main difference from the flat - they do not matter in the food sector (they are not used for cooking broths).

The tubular bones are the basis of the musculoskeletal system of cows. They have a cavity filled with bone marrow and two heads at the edges. These same heads are made up of large amounts of fat. It is interesting that thanks to the heads on the tubular bones, the broth gets its fat content and other beneficial and taste properties.

When studying the structure of cows, there are 6 large sections: head, trunk, spinal, ribs, sternum and limb. Let's talk about each of them in more detail.

Functionality and development of the skull

The skull of a cow or a bull consists of extremely strong bone plates that can withstand great pressure. The cranium in livestock is divided into two sections: the part of the brain and the bones that form the face.

The first section serves to protect the cow's brain from external influence. The second is responsible for the formation of the muzzle - the facial bones. These include: eyes, nose, and mouth. When the calf is born, the parts are roughly equivalent. With the development of the baby, the facial parts change, and the division of the brain remains the same.

Paired and unpaired bones form the cranium of livestock. This means that certain types of bones are found in a single copy, while the others have a symmetrical pair. The cow's skull, equivalent to the bull, includes 7 variants of unpaired bones and 13 “mirror” bones.

Skull Bone Structure

Above, we said that the skull of any representative of the cattle is formed of double and not double bones. Dual, mirrored - this is the frontal, parietal and temporal. The bones that form the occipital, wedge-shaped and inter-techy area do not have a pair. A complete list of them is as follows:

  • single bones that form the brain section (sphenoid, mezhtemennaya, lattice);
  • Non-recurring bones responsible for the cow's face (lacrimal, ophthalmic, zygomatic, palatal, incisive, pterygoid, upper and lower shell, maxillary);
  • dual bones of the brain (frontal, temporal, parietal);
  • single bones of the muzzle (opener, hyoid).

Thanks to the entrance at the base, the vessels and nerves that regulate its work pass to the brain of the animal. The importance of these bones is obvious - they protect the brain, without which the animal can not exist. Any damage in this area can have serious consequences, even death.

Number and types of teeth

To monitor the development of the calf, special attention should be paid to the structure of their teeth. In young calves, the jaw consists of 20 baby teeth. In an adult individual there are 32 of them. The jaw and teeth of gobies are arranged so that they can eat only vegetable food.

When eating grass from pasture, animals do not harm the root system of plants, so that the grass grows faster and thicker in areas designated for grazing.

Such eating grass is possible due to sharp, long, oblique and forward incisors growing from the lower gums. Medium incisors, hooks, cut grass and soft plants when eaten. They chew through the circular movements of the jaw.

In the article "How many teeth have cows," you can learn more about this topic.

Skeleton formation

The musculoskeletal system of heifers differs from the skeleton of other mammals in its massiveness and strength. Its value is great for all zoology, because it is used as a textbook. The strength of bones and their dimensions are due to the fact that gobies have a large mass, imposing a high load on the "skeleton".

The skeleton is divided into two parts: axial and peripheral. The first consists of the skull, spine and chest. The peripheral is the limbs of the animal. An important role in the study of cows play:

  • parts: cranial, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, caudal, scapular, pelvic;
  • the bones of the shoulder, thigh, forearm, lower leg, wrist, wrist, fingers.

The health of the animal, the performance of its functions and normal development depend on the proper functioning of each department and the integrity of all bones of the skeleton.

Ribs and their meaning

The ribs are flat bones. They are attached to the spine and sternum. They differ in form and quality composition.

Thus, the front pair of edges more powerful and stronger than others. Middle pairs are distinguished by plasticity and expansion to the edges. Rear - convex and curved. The last pair is the shortest and thinnest. Often, it is attached only to the vertebra, without reaching the chest plate with the other edge.

Some of the edges are connected to each other. Couples connected to each other by cartilage are called false. There are 5 pairs of them in a cow. In addition, there are 8 pairs of non-cohesive. Since at one end they are attached to the spine, the number of ribs corresponds to the number of vertebrae in the sternal region - 13 pairs.

These important bone formations protect the heart, lungs and stomach of the animal from damage. At the same time, a fracture of any of the ribs can become a serious problem and damage one of these organs.

In addition, the ribs account for a significant part of the loads, as they are part of the musculoskeletal system.


To answer the question of how many vertebrae a cow has, each vertebral part should be considered. There are 5 vertebral divisions in total: neck, sternum, lower back, sacrum and tail.

The neck section consists of 7 vertebrae. Its main difference is high mobility. The significance of these vertebrae is that they bind the head and sternum. The sternal section is formed by 13 vertebrae. They are the basis where the edges join, and are characterized by low mobility.

In the lower back are included 6 vertebrae, in the sacrum one less. The latter form the pelvic cavity. The tail part consists of 18-20 moving parts. Now, counting, we can say that the spine of the cow is 49-51 vertebra, including the reduced caudal (reduction - simplification of the structure).

Limb structure

The legs of the cow correspond to two parts: the thoracic and the pelvic. From a biological point of view, limbs are the bones of not just the legs themselves, but also the bones that fasten them to the spine. All of them dock with the spine in the area of ​​the scapula and pelvis - hence the name of the departments.

The front pair of a cow's legs consists of a scapula, shoulder bones, forearms and wrists. The brush is formed from the carpal, metacarpal and the ossicles. The fingers of a cow are her hoofs, according to the anatomy of the animal. The hind legs are pelvic bone, thighs, legs and feet. Interestingly, the hip bone is considered the largest in the cow's skeleton. Its structure is tubular.

Despite the anatomical names: toes and feet, the limbs of cows end in hooves. They belong to the type of artiodactyls. This means that the hooves at the base split. Two more “fingers” hang over the hooves above, but this is a rudimentary, unnecessary part.

Scapular and humeral elements of the skeleton

The name "scapula" appeared from the Latin language, as well as many medical and anatomical terms. In cows, it is part of the shoulder girdle. The scapula itself is a flat triangular bone plate. On its outer side are two pits, separated by the scapular axis.

The scapular plate with the help of the articular fossa enters the humerus. This place is located near the middle of the second costal pair. The dorsal angle is located near the edges of 6 and 7 rib pairs.

The humerus has a tubular structure. One end, the epiphysis, on which the head is located, joins with the scapular plate. Muscular hillocks are located on both sides of the humerus. The lower end ends with the articular block, and the upper end - the ulnar fossa. The bone itself is somewhat rough, due to which it connects to the muscles.

Forearm and bones forming it

The forearm bones include the ulna and radius. Between them there is bone tissue, due to which they are tightly connected with each other. When calves are born, this connection is fragile, so if you carelessly handle the baby, dislocation of the forearm may occur.

The radius of the cows is slightly curved and has a rough surface. This allows the biceps muscle to attach to the forearm. One end of the radial bone ends with a joint connecting it to the humerus. The second edge connects to the wrist.

The elbow bones of cows are somewhat weaker than the radial ones. The upper end of the ulna ends in the process and tubercle, which serve to bond with the muscles. Both bones, radial and ulnar, have a vascular chute through which vessels pass.

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