Laboratory diagnosis of reproductive failure in beef cattle


  • Larry Holler South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007


beef cattle, reproductive failure, abortion, diagnostics


Reproductive failure in beef cattle continues to be a source of significant economic loss for producers in all beef producing regions of the world. Reproductive failure includes everything from failure of conception associated with fertility problem in the dam or the sire all the way to full term stillborn or weak born calves. Abortion rates vary between herds, production systems and management styles, but in most situations, a rate much higher than 5% is usually deemed unacceptable and wor­thy of investigation. Abortion storms such as were historically seen with IBR could affect up to 40% of the pregnant animals. Today, abortion storms are rare, but losses that exceed 10% are still common. Implementing intervention strategies to impact ongoing abortion is usually limited, costly and often of ques­tionable efficacy. Preventive programs may need modifications, but in reality, most producers already have basic vaccination programs in place. Diagnostic services for abortion disease di­agnosis can vary greatly between laboratories, and associated costs can be significant. Therefore, it helpful for practitioners to understand the diagnostic process and inherent limitations of abortion diagnosis and to be able to help the producer deter­mine if and when an investigation is warranted, and submit the appropriate samples to a laboratory that specializes in diagno­sis of reproductive failure in livestock.






Beef Sessions