A wide range of infectious agents cause abortions in cattle. Theseinclude the serious (now) exotic zoonosis bovine brucellosis and diseases thatcan markedly impact on herd fertility such as pestivirus, leptospirosis andneosporosis. Therefore, an investigation into the cause of bovine abortions is usuallywarranted.
An 8kg foetus was aborted from one of a mob of 28 Hereford crossheifers. The first and second calf heifers that had all previously beenpregnancy tested in calf. The heifers had been vaccinated with 5 in 1 clostridialon 10th March 2011. The abortion was discovered on the 28th April 2011.
The foetus was hairless, with uniform salmon pink tissues and had acrown-rump length of approximately 60 cm. It had patches of subcutaneous redfluid consistent with oedema over the flanks and abdomen.
E. coli is occasionally cultured fromfoetal stomachs and is presumed to be cause of this abortion. E. coli along with bacteria such as Arcanobacter pyogenes, Aeromonas spp, Fusobacterium necrophorum and Streptococcus spp are regarded asnon-contagious pathogens that presumably infect the foetus following a maternalbacteraemia. These organism mostly cause abortions in the second half ofpregnancy but are usually sporadic and of minor importance (Parkinson,Vermunt and Malmo 2010).