Diagnosing the cause of abortion is important if your abortion rate is abnormally high, you are having other reproductive problems, or you are experiencing an abortion storm with several abortions in a small timeframe. Unfortunately, as high as 50 to 70 percent of abortions can be undiagnosed even with good sample submission to the lab. Always wear gloves when handling abortion samples as some of these diseases can be transmitted to people. Ideally, we like to have the fetus, the placenta and paired blood samples from the aborting cow taken two to three weeks apart.
Preventing abortions is an important step in managing your reproductive program.
- Work with your veterinarian to develop a proper vaccination program. Make sure that heifers are also vaccinated according to your veterinarian’s instructions. Vaccination is the number one tool we have against abortions. Always handle vaccines according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not stress or overcrowd dry cows.
- Proper nutrition is necessary for cows and heifers to have a good immune response to vaccination as well as preventing abortions.
- Practice good biosecurity in terms of people who come to your farm, as well as testing purchased animals for viruses that can cause abortions.
- Culling aborting animals is often necessary.
Work with your veterinarian to prevent abortions on your farm.
Fred Gingrich is a practicing veterinarian and owner of Country Roads Veterinary Services, Inc., in Ashland, Ohio.