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Farm Animal Practice
Bovine abortion: aetiology and investigations
  1. Emma Cabell

    Emma Cabell graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1993. She spent nearly five years in predominantly farm animal practice in north Wales before taking up a residency in ruminant medicine at Liverpool, where she subsequently became a lecturer in the department of livestock health and welfare. Since 2003, she has worked in the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) Surveillance Centre at Liverpool. She holds the diploma in bovine reproduction from Liverpool, and the RCVS certificate in cattle health and production.


ABORTION in cattle is a significant cause of reproductive wastage and is of economic importance as a single abortion event in a dairy herd is estimated to cost £me abortions are due to infectious diseases, several of which are zoonotic. Sporadic abortions occur in any herd, but once the incidence exceeds 3 per cent, or several abortions occur in close succession, further investigations must be carried out to try to determine the cause so that control measures can be instigated. This article reviews the common causes of abortion in cattle and outlines an approach to the investigation of an abortion outbreak, describing the tests available for diagnosis.

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