Abortion sampling

You may find it useful to review our sampling guides for ovine and bovine abortions this calving and lambing season. Sampling does not require any specialised equipment or consumables, most of what you need will be available in your practices. Making sure you have a knife, red top tubes, vacutainers, sample pots with and without formalin in the car will cover the requirements.

The sampling guides refer to sampling kits which can be ordered from Dumfries ( who can send out kits for the following charges:

  • Ovine: one kit £4, six kits £21
  • Bovine: one kit £3.50, six kits £18

In general, histological examination of samples from lamb foetuses is unrewarding and of little diagnostic value. Submitting samples from multiple ewes AND placentas improves the diagnostic value significantly. Please remember we offer a competitive price for batches of up to four dams abortion samples, the batch price is less than 2 individual dam submissions.

This year courtesy of APHA we can offer SBV PCR free of charge if cases meet certain criteria:
APHA will continue to offer free-of-charge testing in 2024 on samples from lambs, kids, and calves born with arthrogryposis, or other musculoskeletal deformities. A fresh brain sample (brain stem is preferred) will be tested free of charge (FOC). If you have a foetus that fits these criteria, please submit all the standard samples including placenta as well as brain stem. Please note the detection of the virus in brain tissue is dependent on the stage of gestation that the foetus became infected, and therefore a PCR test may be negative despite SBV involvement. You may also wish to collect serum dam samples (up to six) from aborted animals and their cohort to be tested for antibodies to SBV.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss further

Posted by SRUC Veterinary Services on 12/04/2024

Tags: Reproductive Failure
Categories: Cattle | Sheep