What is the Differences Between a Cow and a Mare Uterus?

The cow and mare uterus show significant differences in form and structures. Here, I will provide these differences between the uterus of a cow and a mare with the diagrams.

Quick answer: the horns of the cow’s uterus are extensive, whereas the mare contains short uterine horns. The endometrium of the cow’s uterus possesses caruncles, and it is absent from the mare uterus. Finally, the cow cervix contains a spiral cervical canal with rings, whereas the mare has a simple cervix.

Let’s continue this article to know the details of the gross anatomy of the uterus of these two species.

Key differentiating features of cow and mare uterus

The uterus of a cow and mare is the hollow muscular organ that consists of horns, a body, and a cervix. You may easily differentiate the bovine and equine uterus by the following key features –

  • Horns of the uterus: – the horns are a little spiral and cylindrical muscular tube-like in a cow. But, the mare has short and less curved uterine horns.
  • Body of the uterus: – the body of the cow uterus is short and cylindrical and dorsoventrally flattened. But, the mare has a comparatively larger body than the cow’s uterus.
  • The cervix of the uterus: – it is the constricted caudal part of the animal’s uterus. The cervix of the cow uterus has a narrow cervical canal that contains spiral mucosal folds and plugs. But, the mare’s cervix is straight and simple and lacks plugs or cervical rings.
Cow and Mare Uterus Parts
Cow and Mare Uterus Parts

Now, let’s summarize the key differentiating points between a cow’s uterus and a mare’s uterus in Table 1 –

Key Features of uterusCow uterusMare uterus
Horns partLarger, extensive, spiral
Endometrium have caruncles
Short, less curved
No caruncles
Body partShort, cylindricalLarger and extensive
Cervix or neck partNarrow and spiral cervical canal,
Have mucosal plugs or rings,
Simple and straight cervical canal,
Lacks of mucosal plugs,
Differences Between the Cow’s Uterus and Mare’s Uterus

But you might know more about the uterus of these two species to understand these differences clearly.

What type of uterus does a cow have?

The cow has a bipartite type uterus, a highly expandable tubular organ. It lies almost entirely within the abdominal cavity and consists of 3 parts –

  • Horns of the cow uterus (right and left),
  • The body of the cow’s uterus, and
  • Neck or cervix of the cow uterus,

You will find the detailed guide on the anatomy of a cow uterus in the below-mentioned article –

The uterine horns are two musculomembranous extensions of the uterine body. They are continuous cranially with the uterine tube and located entirely within the abdomen.

The body is the part of the uterus between the cervix and uterine horns. Thus, it opens into each horn and into the cervix of the cows.

The body of the cow uterus lies dorsal to the bladder and ventral to the large intestine.

The cervix is the constricted caudal portion of the cow uterus in the pelvic cavity. You will find the cervical canal (a channel through the cervix) with an opening at both ends.

What Type of Uterus Does a Cow Have
What Type of Uterus Does a Cow Have

Now, let’s see the essential gross anatomical features of the cow uterus –

  • Horns, body, and cervix,
  • Endometrium with the caruncles and cotyledons,
  • Cervix with cervical canal (and cervical rings, spiral longitudinal folds, and openings) and
  • A broad ligament that attaches in the different parts of the cow uterus,

What type of uterus does a mare have?

The mare has the simplex type of uterus, a hollow muscular organ. It is mainly located in the abdominal cavity but expands a short distance into the pelvic cavity.

A mare’s uterus also has 3 parts – horns, body, and cervix. Again, the attachment of the broad ligament in the different parts is similar to the cow’s uterus.

However, the sizes of different parts and internal structures are somewhat different. The horns are smaller and located entirely in the abdomen.

The body of a mare uterus is partly located in the abdominal and partly in the pelvic cavity. It is a comparatively larger and cylindrical (but dorsoventrally flattened) part in the mare uterus.

Finally, the mare has a simple and straight cervix within cervical rings. Here, the diagram shows the different gross features of the mare uterus.

What Type of Uterus Does a Mare Have
What Type of Uterus Does a Mare Have

What is the difference between a cow and a mare uterus?

So, let’s enlist the difference between a cow and a mare uterus –

Differences in uterine horns and body:

Cow: it possesses long horns and a short body. The ends of the uterine horns are coiled up like ram’s horns and continue back parallel to each other. They are bounded by the intercornual ligament that gives the false impression of a long uterine body.

Mare: has relatively short horns and a longer body. However, the length of the horns is equal to the uterine body.

Caruncles in the endometrium of the uterine horns:

Cow: the endometrium of the cow’s uterine horns possess the circular to ovoid endometrium thickening. These are the caruncles of the cow’s uterus.

Again, the fetal components within the cow uterus are the cotyledons. The caruncles and cotyledon of the cow uterus together make the placentome.

But, you will not find these structures (caruncles and cotyledons) in the endometrium of the mare uterus.

Intercornual ligaments: you will find the intercornual ligaments (dorsal and ventral) in the cow uterus. They connect the cow’s uterine horns both dorsally and ventrally. But, there are no such intercornula ligaments in the structure of a mare uterus.

Difference in the cervix of the uterus:

Cow: the cow’s uterus has a very long cervix containing longitudinal and transverse folds. The longitudinal folds are spiral in the cow’s cervix. Again, the transverse folds form the plugs or ring in the cow’s cervix.

Mare: the longitudinal folds of the mare’s cervix are simple and straight. Thus, the cervical canal of the mare’s cervix is straight compared to the cows.

Summary of the cow and mare uterus parts anatomy

Table 2 shows the gross difference between the cow and mare uterus parts –

Parts of the  uterusFeatures in cow uterusFeatures in mare uterus
HornsLong, spiral mucosal tube
Cranial extremity – tapper
Short cylindrical tube
Cranial end – blunt
Caruncles in hornsCaruncles presentLacks of caruncles
Dorsoventrally flattened
Short and sometime possess caruncles (inside)
Dorsoventrally flattened
Longer and wider
Neck or cervixLonger cervix
Wall is very thick
Cervical canal narrow
Have spiral folds of mucous
Short cervix
Wall is relatively thin
Cervical canal straight
Have simple longitudinal folds
Intercornual ligamentsHave dorsal and ventral intercornual ligamentsNo intercornual ligaments
Bovine vs Equine Uterus

What are the unique features of the sow uterus?

Answer: the horns of the sow’s uterus are very long and coiled compared to the uterus of a cow and mare. They have longer colied horns for the adaptation of their several developing litters.

But, the body of the sow’s uterus is very small compared to the mare and cow. You will find a special feature in the sow uterus: the pulvini. It is the mounds or cushions in the sow cervix that interdigitate with each other and close the canal.

What is the difference between a cow and a mare cervix?

Answer: the cervix is complex in the cow uterus, whereas the mare possesses the simple cervix. The spiral and narrow cervical canal is in the cow’s cervix. But the mare’s cervical canal is straight and simple.

This is because of the presence of the following –

  • Presence of the spiral longitudinal folds in the cow’s cervix,
  • The presence of numerous transverse folds (which turn into cervical rings) in the cow’s cervix,

Again, you will find the difference in the length and thickness of the cervix of a cow and a mare. The length of the cervix of a cow is longer than that of the mare’s cervix. Finally, the thickness is higher in the mare’s cervix compared to the cow’s cervix.


So, a cow and a mare uterus exhibit distinguish differences in their horns, body, and cervix parts. The internal parts of the uterine horns of a cow show the unique caruncles.

The features of the cervix of a cow and a mare are also essential to differentiate them from each other. You might differentiate the uterus of these two species from the actual sample at your anatomy learning laboratory.