In a rural area of the municipality of La Unión, Antioquia, a family dedicated to livestock found an unexpected surprise during the first calving of their Antonella cow.
While they were present at the birth to make sure everything was going well, the vet told them something they didn’t expect to hear: “two calves are coming.”
However, they soon realized that they were not two calves, but one with two heads. Despite the efforts of the family and the vet, the calf did not survive and had to be removed by other methods.
The family was stunned and searched for an explanation for what had just happened. According to the vet, this could have been caused by the cow’s relationship with a bull that was her brother.
The family is now under observation and remains concerned for the health of their cow. Although they are saddened by the loss of the calf, they are grateful to have been present during the birth and to have done everything possible to help.
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The birth of a calf with two heads is known as “bicephaly” and is a rare condition that occurs due to a malformation during fetal development. This malformation occurs when two separate embryos do not completely separate and instead of forming two individual fetuses, they fuse to form a single two-headed fetus.
Bicephaly may also result from the fusion of two embryonic cells during cell division early in fetal development. This process can also result in the formation of a calf with two heads.
Although bicephalic calves can survive birth, their lifespans are limited due to the medical complications that arise from having two heads and one body. In general, these animals have coordination problems and difficulties in feeding, which makes their survival very difficult.