Aetiology and therapy of retained fetal membranes in cattle - an overview on recent literature Retention of the fetal membranes in cattle is known for more than 2,000 years. Aetiology of the disease, however, is not completley understood, yet. The process of separation of the placenta is quite complex, including aspects of endocrinology, cytology and mechanical factors. The treatment of retained placenta in cattle has been a controversial subject for many years. In practice, manual removal of the placenta and intrauterine or systemic use of antibiotics is common. Results of recent studies suggest that a treatment with oxytocin or prostaglandin F, is not efficacious. The objective of this paper is to summarize recent literature on the aetiology of retained fetal membranes in cattle and to discuss most relevant treatment strategies.