Cow/calf Abortion Management
Postmortems & Sample Collection
Cold weather, thin cows, marginal feeds… abortion. What if it is an infectious abortion? What if other cows will ensue? This is always a concern… is this a single event or a mess to follow?
This is my veterinary suggestion: expect the best prepare for the worst.
Every abortion or unexplainable loss of animal justifies a postmortem (autopsy). Samples should be collected if the cause is unknown and preserved. If the problem continues these frozen and formalin fixed samples can be very useful in determining the cause.
If at the end of the calving season it was an isolated event… the samples can be discarded. You can always throw samples away but you can’t go back and collect them. If the problem continues, multiple samples increase accuracy of diagnosing the cause.
Many abortions are caused from the placenta becoming inflamed or infected. Placentitis can only be diagnosed at the lab from placental tissue. The buttons of the cow and the attachment of the calf membranes. Many producers submit an aborted or still-borne calf but do not collect the placenta which can miss the reason of the abortion (always submit placenta if possible).
Bear Paw Vet Service
Dr. Paul McCann
Dr. Jasmine Haynie