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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16179
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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I have had several abortions from a particular herd of

Customer Question

I have had several abortions from a particular herd of cattle. Also some very small calves. I vaccinate annually for everything . Could the be lepto
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

What changes are you seeing in the aborted calves and placenta?

Are they being lost in the 3rd trimester?

Any pus type discharges from cows?

Are the cows appearing ill as well? Do they seem to still have milk? Are they developing mastitis?

What do you specifically vaccinate for besides the clostridial species?

Do the cows have any access to toxic plants?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Calves are in the third trimester. Cows are in excellent condition No unusual discharge Everything from Lepto vibrio IBR blackleg and everything else. No access to toxic plants but notice they wallow in muddy puddles left over in torrid rains that we have had this year. Also live calves are very small. We usually have cavles in the 70-80 pd range . Live alves are 50-55 lbs
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

And how have the aborted calves and placenta looked? Normal, pus coated, rotten, red or inflamed?

How long ago did they have access to the puddles?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

Since I have not heard back from you, I have composed my thoughts thus far on this situation.

First and foremost, Letospirosis is a worry when we have abortions in the herd and especially if they potential had access to contaminated water. Still, the situation doesn’t quite fit. Lepto abortions tend to happen 2-5 week after exposure as opposed to occurring at a particular stage of the pregnancy. Furthermore, when we have lepto abortions, we tend to have rotten/decaying fetuses with yellow discoloration of the placenta. And since you didn’t mention that this is what you saw in the aborted calves, this would not be my top suspicion in this case.

Therefore, I do feel we need to consider other causes for what you are seeing. If we can remove toxic exposure (including fungal contamination of feed) from our list of concerns as well as those items they have been vaccinated for, then we can start narrowing down our differentials a wee bit. From there, we’d still have some bacterial, viral, protozoal, and fungal considerations.

Specifically, abortion at this stage, could still be triggered by bacterial species like brucellosis, campylobacter jejuni (which may not be in your C. fetus vaccine),chlamydophila, E.coli, klebsiella, enterobacter, histophilus somni, listeria, TB, pasteurella, mycoplasma, and arcanobacterium. Otherwise, someviral concerns would include bluetongue, BVD, or Schmallenberg. Finally,parasites that could cause changes abortions would include toxoplasma, sarcocystosis trichomoniasis, and Neospora (though the last 2 tend to target earlier pregnancies.

So, these would be our remaining concerns as to what could be triggering the herd’s abortion. Hopefully, if you have vaccinated for any of these above differentials, we can remove them as well. Otherwise, from here,the best option would be to submit any recently aborted calves + placenta to your local vet, vet lab, agriculture or vet school. Just examining the tissues can rule some of these out. Furthermore, any of these sources can take samples from this to culture/test for which of the above suspicions remain after their examination.This would help you narrow this down further, pinpoint the cause, and treat the herd effectively to prevent further losses. Finally, if you did want to confirm/rule out Lepto here for your cows, you can have a urine sample(collected carefully) taken from your recent aborting cows and have this tested for this bacteria.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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